David Graham Updegrove had a bass singing voice that was crooner smooth and comforting to hear.
In his “real life,” David mostly worked the numbers on spreadsheets in long columns, recognizing the significance that any history of numbers means for a going concern and to the many divisions of tax officials.
When not at his hot word processor, as a principal in a major accounting firm, David would roam with a singing barbershop quartet, joining and blending with Bob Rodriquez (tenor), Kevin Rudy (lead), and Ray Sitter (baritone), performing across Loudoun County, from Lovettsville, to Purcellville, down to Middleburg, and east to Leesburg and Sterling.
The foursome would harmonize, a welcome and enjoyable cure to life’s sometime disharmonies, striking up numbers from traditional barbershop to pop, gospel to Doo-Wop, and oldies to Broadway show tunes. After just one year together, in 2005, they were awarded the Barbershop Harmony Society’s, Mid-Atlantic District, Novice Quartet trophy. You can get a taste of the award winning foursome singing blue skies – on YouTube.
David’s life could be described, as Walt Whitman described his own life, as vital and enlivening, an act of “respiration and inspiration, the beating of [his] heart, the passing of blood and air through [his] lungs.”
David’s life covered a landscape of exploration and good acts, turning to study accounting after earning a degree in Chemistry from Randolph Macon College. And making a family with his wife, Lynne Prindle Updegrove, enjoying their daughters, Dana (Robbie) Reider, and Kindra (Mike) Keene, along with nine grandchildren.
David always had the time to share a thought or give another a helping hand when not working in his garden with his blooming perennials, or surf fishing, or taking 20 mile bike rides, or playing tennis.
No passion, however, was as great as his desire to live for Jesus and his love for his family; his day-to-day life was a lay ministry in motion.
The result was a life in harmony in song and every other way.
This correspondent last saw David at Ida Lee in Leesburg where he’d go to exercise and pass some time, in the locker room, talking about the news or some local business, with the guys all on their way to land or water exertions or finished, changed to street clothes, about to leave.
It came as a surprise, only days after being with David at the gym, to open a local weekly paper, to see a snapshot of David, to realize it accompanied his obit, to discover that, at 69, David had passed on, apparently quite suddenly, found in his final rest in a hallway of his home. Only this could still his song.
Whitman wrote of how “[t]he slapping eddies” finally, in death, carry us away in “the circling eddies” and how this may and does so often occur so “swiftly” taking us “out of sight” but not out of our fond memory of who he was.
The heightened regrets of loss reflect the measure of a man who was loved and kind and has already been missed so painfully by family and friends and the community more generally.
All are united and equal in their mortality, and take their place in this “procession” we call a life.
The question is how one spends the time each has and, by that standard, David wasted not a moment.