In reckoning with the death of longtime Tahoe resident David Mogilefsky, I contemplate the word aloha, which he enjoyed signing off with since moving in 1997 from the North Shore to Maui. In the native Hawai’ian culture, aloha isn’t uttered only when meeting and parting; it’s a peace-filled lifeblood. With David’s departure, I recalled when his Jewish and my American Indian cultures crossed paths for the first time.

Spring 1987: New to Reno/Tahoe and exploring Chimney Beach with my best friend, sister, and mother, a thief stole our purses. Two weeks later, they were found and we returned to retrieve them. In a North Shore shop, I grabbed the North Tahoe-Truckee Week paper, a benign moment that led to a serendipitous friendship. Within minutes, David walked in, saw the paper under my arm, and introduced himself as its publisher. I was a UNR journalism student. So began our affinity. No coincidence, then, that very close to David’s hour of passing I awoke, immediately wondering if I’d sent him birthday greetings in November. The next day, I learned that David walked on to the spirit world, but not before conveying his wishes — even selecting the inscription for his stone — to have his ashes interred at Trail’s End Cemetery in Tahoe City. A ceremony is slated for June.

David, with pen and paper forever within reach, had an intrepid joie de vivre and child-like sense of humor, and a Renaissance man curriculum vitae: Attorney. Journalist. Taxi driver. Clown. Actor. Storyteller.

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Moved to tears by this loss, I silently said David’s story is over, yet in the next instant I knew his story had only begun. On behalf of the many souls who love David, appreciate the impact he had on the Tahoe/Truckee community, and will forever miss him, we put a collective hand to heart and say, with tear-filled eyes and a bittersweet smile: Aloha, David.

~ Wishelle Banks is a frequent Moonshine Ink contributor and, at David’s request in the 1990s, wrote The Biggest Little Column in the World for his North Tahoe-Truckee Week paper.

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