David Reene: An Inspiration Story about Living Life to the Fullest



                     “My feeling is tomorrow is now; Don’t wait for tomorrow to follow your dreams. The other part is, don’t only listen to your head but listen to your heart.”

                     David Reene was a bright, family oriented, lovable person. On August 15th, 2013, David physically left this earth but his memory and presence is as strong as ever. His family and employer have kept his memory alive by sharing his story to help encourage people to love life and live every day as much as David did. He was taken at the young age of 53 by brain cancer.

                     David, the son of Frances and Charles, grew up in Virginia. He earned a BA in business and BS in finance from the University of Indiana and an MBA from the University of Chicago. David was married to his loving wife Inga, and had two daughters, Franciszka and Antonia. He also has two brothers, Michael and Jeffrey. His brother Michael says of David “He came, he saw, he laughed. He made us laugh.”

                     David lived a creative life filled with exploration, discovery and invention. As he was quoted saying in the Chicago Sun-Times, he truly lived in the present. David joined the Peace Corps in Poland in late 1991. He loved his job as a brand manager at Quaker Oats in Chicago, but felt he must follow his heart and join the Peace Corps. His family remembers, “His ready and off-beat sense of humor helped the group through the long, dark, unfamiliar Polish winters that awaited them.” It was in Poland, a place where he followed his heart against reason, that he met the love of his life and wife-to-be, Inga. While living in Poland, David held marketing positions at various companies and in 1998, his first daughter Franciszka was born. In 2001, David left Poland and joined PSI. He became PSI’s first Chief Marketing Officer and the former Vice President. In his free time, David would continue short-story writing and fly-fishing, two things he loved immensely.

                     The following is an excerpt from David’s short story, “The Other Side.”

                     “And nothing was the same. Or maybe, he thought, it was that everything was now exactly the same. Before, everything was the opposite of what it originally had been: the world had been a dream reflected in his eyes and each individual melting snowflake: everything bouncing off everything, forever: successful fusion sustaining a world of opposites that had always been there but he didn’t know it since he was part of it, depending on it. Now he knew it. In one innocent glance at the lake, he had broken the process: he had passed through his reflection to the other side.”

                      In July of 2012, when David and his family had just moved back to the United States, David collapsed in a parking garage. As written in his obituary “though David lost a piece of his brain to surgery, he never lost his sense of humor, enjoyment of a good cigar or deep love for family and friends.” In the Spring of 2013, as his condition was deteriorating, David and his family returned back to Poland to visit Krakow and the southern Polish mountains. On August 15th, 2013, David Reene passed away.

                      The President and CEO of PSI remembered David after his death. “The man was a gifted mentor and knew how to make all of us laugh, including at the most critical moments, when laughter may be needed most.” In his memory, they established the David Reene Excellence in Communication Awards to recognize the best work of the teams in PSI.

                      Daivd’s outlook on life remains remarkable and inspirational. As told by his brother in the eulogy, David saw the best in everyone and appreciated all that he was able to do in his life. Within their last conversation, David spoke about how fortunate he feels and asked his family to remember the good things. For his wife Inga, he chanted one of his famous says “FOR HER, FOR HER!” and wished that Inga would have a full life that is not full of grief. For his daughters, he spoke about his wish for them to pursue their dreams, big or small and how proud he was of the both of them. David was a selfless man, and as his brother noted “he saw the best in everyone and appreciated all he was able to do in his life.” His legacy lives on.

                      Writen by Alexandra Larsen