David Andrew Vallette of North Adams, Massachusetts, formerly of Cranford and Winfield Park, New Jersey, joined his family in heaven on Friday, June 21, 2019. Known to all as Big D, Biggie, and even Biggie Smalls, he was born second and last child to Raymond and Mildred Attlesey Vallette in Elizabeth, NJ. He attended Winfield Park public school before joining his sister at Bob Jones Academy in Greenville, South Carolina for middle and high school and then attended Shelton college in Ringwood, New Jersey. Ultimately graduating from the King‘s College in Briarcliff Manor, NY. His entire life was full of dry humor, incredibly quick wit, puns upon puns and for being a practical joker. Besides ther fun he was extremely academically gifted, and possessed incredible sports abilities, as well, particularly in soccer. After college, David began teaching drivers’ education. he ultimately, however, found his life‘s work and passion: journalism and photography. He became a newspaper reporter in Paramus, NJ, and a short time later married and moved to Hackensack, NJ. Before long, he and his then wife, Alice, decided to move closer to the mountains where they could ski and camp as both were avid outdoor enthusiasts. David worked for several newspapers while in North Adams, making his start at The Transcript, then The Republican and retired from journalism and photography from the Union News in Pittsfield, Mass. In his spare time, David enjoyed the finer things in life, and when David loved something, he loved it with full intensity: he studied it, he explored it, and he enjoyed it—a good cigar, a good cup of coffee, a good shot of whiskey—it didn’t matter the venue. Having no children of his own, David took his sister’s children under his wing. Family was everything to him and he enjoyed his nieces and nephews more and more as they became adults. He took his passions and pastimes and preferred to enjoy them with his family and close friends who were grafted into our family. He became a surrogate father to us all, but particularly to his sister’s son, Mark, whose two middle names were his Uncle Dave’s name inverted—Andrew David. Biggie and Mark shared many common passions and similarities, perhaps none greater than their unwavering love of the New York Mets. Mark and David began a family tradition of visiting as many stadiums as they could across America each Father’s Day. They soon corralled as many of Big D’s nephews and great nephews that could make it each year. Another of David’s passions was his love and skill for fishing—a pastime he learned as a young boy when deep sea fishing with his father and Uncle Jack aboard the “MoJack” on the Atlantic Ocean, or while on any quest for trout, or his own uncle’s favorite, fluke. He was described in newspapers in his older years as an “angler of well renown, “ and had won contests and awards for his prowess in The Berkshires. David enjoyed not only camping and fishing, but was also a “back road kind of driver”. He saw life as a journey, not just a destination. He particularly enjoyed the last decade of his life where he, along with his nieces, nephews and their families, made an annual trek to the Northern Kingdom in Vermont to spend a week together on Lake Salem. Whether sitting around the campfire smoking a cigar or pipe, sharing life stories, telling tales out of school about his younger years, or grilling us about trivial facts that very few people could even fathom knowing, he was content to just be there in the moment. He left you definitely a better person after a good debate with him, whether it be about politics, religion, or society in general. He always enjoyed traveling, even to Europe where he took his oldest nephew, David, to Switzerland when he was a young boy. In later years, visiting his nieces, nephews and friends, both in Canada and the United States, became an adventure for him in his retirement years. He welcomed his sister’s rowdy bunch of children anywhere he was. He enjoyed seeing his parents, aunts and uncles in the eyes and in the lives of the next generation. He was a truly engaging storyteller; there was never a dull moment. He knew how to set the scene for any conversation or any tale that he told. He was a seeker and custodian of a myriad of information that would be nearly impossible to surpass. He was an amazing friend, and not just with humans. David was an avid pet lover and owner throughout his entire life. Although he was an engaging storyteller, he was, in fact, an even better listener. He was by far the least judgmental, most laid-back, most even-keeled, generous person you could have ever known. He was the last of his own nuclear family. His father had pre-deceased him in the 1995 and his mother in 1997 and his sister by barely three months. Their last conversation before her death was one where they assured each other of their salvation and the knowledge that they would see one another again soon. He is survived by his nephews and nieces and their spouses David, Pam, Valerie, Debbie, Ray, Mark, Jay, Ryan, Matt and Brenda and by friends of his who became his family and through him became ours, Rob & Lil Revere of Ramsey, New Jersey and several Attlesey, Perry, and Vallette cousins. He will be dearly missed this August on the family trip to Vermont; it will never be the same. He was the last anchor that held our ship, and the last of our paternal line in America. We will be lost without him. Family will hold a small memorial service in North Adams, Massachusetts where David lived and worked. Family will hold private memorial gatherings in Vermont and his home state of New Jersey throughout the summer.
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Calling hours for David A.Vallette will take place on Thursday June 27, 2019 from 6-8 PM at the Flynn & Dagnoli Funeral Home, West Chapels, 521 West Main St. North Adams, MA. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit www.flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.