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I lost another friend last Friday. Dave Epley passed away Friday night after battling cancer. (You can read his obituary and find funeral arrangements here.) Dave was a carpenter with Easterday Construction Co., Inc. from November 1989 to December 2012. 23 years of service is special and something to be noted. We worked together to make a lot of projects come together. Dave could be a craftsman and took pride in the work he completed. The detail work he completed often pulled the project together.
Dave could be counted on to have a tool for anything and prided himself on the obscurity of some of the things he had. He was always up for a challenge. The area was always a mess where he was working, but the things he produced were often art. For most people, the picture to the right is uncharacteristic, because the other thing that Dave could be counted on for was a smile. Going through my collection of pictures proved that he was somewhat camera shy, because I couldn’t come up with a better one!
Many of the projects where his legacy will continue are in the Churches we’ve worked on. We were contracted by the Faith United Methodist Church in Wanatah to renovate their entrance and install a chair lift. During construction, we found a round stained glass window that had been salvaged and placed in the attic. Since it was a custom size, there was nothing off the shelf we could use as a frame. I asked Dave about it and he said, “Let me take it home and see what I can do.” He came back with the window framed in oak as you see to the left. (Click on that picture to enlarge it to see the detail. For a picture that shows the scale, click here.)
At the Grace Baptist Church in Plymouth I asked him to install new railings on the stairs in the Sanctuary. The railings were laminated oak with wood balusters and newel posts. They had to be anchored to the concrete floor at the base and attached to the carpeted stairs and wood daise at the top. The west railing had to follow the curve of the baby grand piano they were protecting and then the east railing had to mirror that curve. (The east railing is shown to the right.) I had no doubt Dave could handle this challenge due to his previous work on the long sweeping curved stair rail at the Logansport – Cass County Public Library. (Seen here) The Church was extremely pleased. Pastor Elliott said, “They look so nice people don’t even want to touch them! They look like they’ve always been there.”
We were asked to look at adding a chairlift at the First United Methodist Church in Winamac. During planning we discovered existing stained glass windows that had been buried during a previous Narthex addition. It was determined that we wanted to expose those windows as part of the renovation. Unfortunately we found that the stone sills had been removed from the smaller flanking windows. In order to retain the same mass as would have been there with the stone, Dave built heavy wood sills with base panes as shown at the left. (Click on that picture to enlarge it to see the detail.) Those windows sit above a catwalk we built across the face of the sanctuary. Dave also built concealed hinge doors to allow the area under the catwalk to be used as storage.
Dave will be missed by the Easterday Construction family and by many of our clients that knew and respected him.