September 1, 2022

Minnesota Radio and Stage Veteran Discovers Meaningful Connections Over Lunch

For more than a decade, Friends & Co (F&C) member Dave would pass the former Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly offices on Lake Street in South Minneapolis. Confused by the name, he assumed it was a religious organization. While serving as president of Prime Timers MSP, a social organization focusing on the enrichment of gay and bisexual men at all life stages, he understood more about F&C’s mission and programs but was hesitant to get involved.

Dave took a chance and began attending F&C’s monthly Let’s Do Lunch Café gathering at the Danish
American Center for LGBTQ+ older adults, which combines a catered lunch with topical presentations and friendly conversation. Dave didn’t feel the need for any of the other F&C programs at this point in his life. “I was really just looking for companionship, conversation, and a place to share life experiences with other gay people.”

The Let’s Do Lunch gatherings proved to be the perfect balance for Dave and an ideal place to meet like-minded people and share life experiences. And what a life indeed: Dave was born and raised 50 miles south of Red Wing, MN, and developed a fascination with radio very early while listening to President Frankly D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats and children’s story time broadcasts by a local
radio station. “Those stories coming out of that big box that we could sit in front of and let our imaginations go was such a draw for me,” Dave said.

Dave, right, in "Devil's Disciple" at Theater in the Round, late 1990sDave got a taste of the inner working of radio early through classes taught at his grade school, which fueled his growing interest. His first job in radio was writing news at a well-known Red Wing radio station. Convinced it was the right career, he studied radio at the University of Minnesota and eventually got a job at Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). Dave jokes that his long career at MPR started as a 90-day trial that lasted 22 years.

Dave’s other great passion is live theater, working behind the scenes and as an actor. As a teenager, a high school theatre director witnessed Dave’s natural talent and pushed him to give live theater a try. He went on to do community theater and dabble in theater throughout his life.

In the late 1990s, Dave was cast in Theater in the Round’s production of “Devil’s Disciple.” He’s
most proud of his role as Charlie in a 2003 production of “Death of a Salesman” at Loading Dock Theater in St. Paul.

Dave brings this fascinating life story to his Let’s Do Lunch Café experiences every month. When asked what he would say to someone hesitant about joining him and other LGBTQ+ older adults for
lunch and conversation, Dave insists they should just give it a try.

“I’m an introvert, so I understand, but even if you are skeptical, take a chance and just go. You could be
surprised and make some new connections.”