Port Alberni-born George Cecil David was officially a grandfather to two children, but unofficially he was called “Grampa” by dozens, said niece Bonnie David in a eulogy at his memorial on Friday.
“Between all us nieces and nephews, he had more than 40 children that call him Grampa,” Bonnie David said. “That’s not counting all his extended family of the Tla-o-qui-aht, Ditidaht, Hupacasath, Tseshaht, Ahousaht, Kyoquot, Snuneymuxw, Ucluelet and Toquaht.”
George Cecil David, 65, was found dead about 12:45 p.m. March 28 inside an apartment in Port Angeles, Washington. His death is considered a homicide.
David was born in Port Alberni in August 1950, the youngest of 14 children. The family moved to Arizona when David was eight years old — “an entirely different world from the rainforests and beaches of Vancouver Island,” Bonnie David said in her eulogy.
The remainder of his upbringing was in the Seattle area and Blake Island in Puget Sound, after which he settled in Neah Bay, about 115 kilometres west of Port Angeles where his daughter Maria Elizabeth was raised.
His family was spread across the Nuu-chah-nulth and Makah First Nations. He spent time in Port Alberni but always returned to Neah Bay .
George Cecil David was an accomplished artist and master carver — masks, head-dresses, prints, fine jewelry, totem poles and puppets.
“These are in collections all over the world,” Bonnie David said. “His pieces can be found in the collections of King Olaf of Norway, and the city hall of Kobe, Japan.”
Only weeks ago, he was in Vancouver to sell his artwork, she said.
“He has completed numerous commissions, including two 36-foot canoes for Chief Seattle’s gravesite and many monumental totems.”
He also sang. And “when we heard you sing, we heard the voices raised on Tla-o-qui-aht sound centuries ago … we know your deep soul and generous heart came to you from distant people who loved life and family and art.”
Bonnie David shared stories of a humble, attentive, people person who loved children and had close relationships with friends, family and especially one nephew who accompanied him on several hunting trips.
One friend quoted in the eulogy said together the pair survived youth, matured into men, and had families, also shared a faith in Jesus Christ.
“That allows me to be certain that we will be united again some time in the future in a better place,” he told Bonnie David.
Interim Police Chief Brian Smith said Port Angeles detectives continue to search for clues to who killed David.
No further investigative details were were made public on Friday.
Four detectives have been assigned to the case. Security video has been gathered from various locations for examination.
Clallam County prosecutor Mark Nichols said he invoked jurisdiction in his capacity as coroner and an autopsy was performed.
“At this point in time, we believe the manner of death to be homicide; the cause to be blunt-force trauma to the head.”
The official signed death certificate listing the cause has not yet been completed.
“We’re really at a fairly preliminary stage; law enforcement is certainly working this case,” Nichols said.