David Raphael, 72, from Panton
PANTON – David Raphael aka Dave Ravely aka Daveski aka Papa Doodle aka P-Doodle aka Doodle Pop aka Doodle.
You probably talked to him because he talked to everyone. Maybe he told you a joke. Maybe it was funny. He probably dropped the H-bomb (Harvard) or the slightly lesser T-bomb (Tufts). You probably knew him because he knew everyone.
He grew up in Providence, RI, where he dated Moses Brown. As a young boy, he once unleashed a plague of fruit flies in his neighborhood and threw a tantrum at a French restaurant when he discovered they weren’t serving burgers. Even in his youth, David always left an impression.
In 1979, he landed with his wife and young daughter on 10 acres in Panton, Vermont, and since then he’s been cutting cross-country ski trails, building benches in the woods, and pushing wheelbarrows around “Ravely Acres”. From pioneering beginnings in a camping tent, they first built a cabin, then built a house. As the complex grew, the family expanded to include two sons, followed by a few more cabins, two additions and a ‘Garage-Mahal’. David loved Panton and served the city tirelessly, donating countless hours of his time and expertise as chairman of the planning commission.
David was a landscape architect, planner and graphic designer. Namely, he was definitely not a landscaper, although it’s a little confusing because he did quite a bit of landscaping. He designed signs and parks, some of which you’ve probably seen – from the Olympics in Park City, Utah, to Overlook Park in South Burlington, Vt.; from iconic signage in Burlington, Vermont, to the wayfinding system in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; from Alburgh Dunes State Park to Middlebury College Football Stadium – the scope of his professional accomplishments is too vast to list.
He has worked on site plans for ski areas and municipalities and renewable energy projects. He founded LandWorks in 1986 and did not retire in 2018, although that was history at the time. As a professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, he instilled his love for the environment into the hearts and minds of countless young scholars.
You may not know anyone with a more robust vocabulary than this man. He loved to read and write and had an impressive library of books, many of which were not about planning and design. He had so many books. Please come get some. He also had an impressive collection of tchotchkes. Please come get some.
You could see (and hear) David playing the harmonica on the top chair of the Sugarbush Resort. He could be seen (and heard) screaming as he skied down. He could be seen (and heard) eating a “hammy and swiss” roll-up at the kitchen table while sipping ginger ale. Sluuuuuuuurp…ahhhhhhhhh!
He was a connoisseur of whipped cream, bacon and sour candy. He relished a ferocious game of foosball though he could never beat either of his obscenely handsome and talented sons. He liked to laugh, even—and above all—at himself. They used to call him a stupid old man, which was exactly right.
His religion was the outdoors and the night sky. David was simply devout in his worship: skiing, hiking, camping, kayaking, biking. He loved football and the Boston Red Sox. He was pretty good at the butterfly (and reportedly held a youth record in Rhode Island) and enjoyed performing a few strokes every time he dove in his beloved Lake Champlain. Speaking of the lake, he once capsized his kayak between Barn Rock and Basin Harbor – late October. He may have told you the story.
Full of energy and life to the absolute end, David was an eternal optimist. He loved every day he was in the great outdoors and would tell you the clouds were about to burn, even though they definitely weren’t. Although he died too soon, David died doing what he loved, a hike in the woods with a dear friend – of whom he had many – on January 12, 2022. It was a cold, gray and windy day. , but he thought it was good enough.
David is survived by his wife of 50 years, Diana Morris Raphael, to whom he was devoted and loved dearly. Although they sometimes acted as the “Bickermans”, their bond ran deep. He will be deeply missed by his three children, Mara, Jory and Ben Raphael, who all inherited his immense talent for design, writing and humour. He gifted his gray hair prematurely to his two sons, and most likely his daughter, although we can’t prove it, and she never will. They love being around him, even posthumously, and believe that’s how he would want it. He also leaves behind fellow “outlaws” John Mendell, Stacy Raphael and Adrienne Raphael; and his six grandchildren: Jack and Whitney Wilcox; Phoebe and Tatum Raphael; and Wesley and Fiona Raphael. He is survived by his huge dog, Tessa. He may have told you about the time she had to be rescued from the top of a mountain. He liked dogs, maybe more than people. And he loved people very much.
He was predeceased by his parents, Dr. Sumner and Barbara Raphael, and his sister, Joanie Raphael. And his dogs, Stickeen, Shasta, Leeska, Cooper, Crystal, Lily, Nimbus and Saska.
It enjoyed a 100% approval rating, was loved by many, and loved by all, and that cannot be overstated.
A virtual memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 22, 2022 at 1 p.m. A link will be displayed to landworksvt.com before the event.◊
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