Remembering Dave Graser (1965-2020)

By Kathryn Kozak (CCC, AMATYC President)

It is with sadness that I write today about the passing of David Graser. Dave, as most of us called him, was very involved in AMATYC. Dave was the digital products coordinator for Beyond Crossroads. He was also the chair of the Technology in Mathematics Education (TiME) committee and so he worked on the “Proctored Testing For Courses Taught At a Distance” position statement. He is the reason for this phrase “When tests are used as an assessment of student learning for classes taught at a distance” since his assessments in his classes were not tests and he wanted to make sure that faculty weren’t forced to use tests. Dave was always pushing the envelope in his teaching of students. Recently, he was involved in writing IMPACT and in the development of IMPACT Live! now part of myAMATYC (my.AMATYC.org). AMATYC has lost an incredible volunteer and leader. 

Dave has been my friend for many years. I first met Dave at an ArizMATYC conference. ArizMATYC meets in conjunction with the statewide math articulation task force. Dave and I served on this task force for many years. We worked together integrating many of the ideas that we learned at AMATYC conferences into our state-wide mathematics curriculum. Dave was also the webmaster for ArizMATYC, creating and maintaining www.arizmatyc.org. He was also part of the LEC for the upcoming AMATYC Annual Conference in Phoenix in 2021. On the lighter side, it is because of Dave and his love of beer that ArizMATYC bi-annual affiliate meetings start with a pre-registration happy hour at a local brewery. 

Dave taught at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, since 1998. In the words of the president of Yavapai College, Lisa B. Rhine, “{Dave}was tireless in his pursuit of improving how math was taught. Dave had a passion for teaching and mentoring and would go above and beyond for his students.” He used mostly project based assessment and had published a project based math textbook. The mathematics department at Yavapai College is grieving as much as members of ArizMATYC and AMATYC. Dave’s love of mathematics and teaching was second only to that for his family, whom he always spoke of with affection and humor. Dave is survived by his wife, Leslie and their 10 year old son, Bowen. Dave will be missed by many and certainly AMATYC and ArizMATYC have lost a gem of a person, and I have lost a dear friend.

 

Dave’s obituary and tribute wall can be viewed at https://www.ruffnerwakelin.com/obituaries/David-Jay-Graser?obId=15091146#/celebrationWall

 

Comments from around the state:

I’m so very sad to hear this. He was a great man. I will miss his gentle teasing about not accepting Yavapai College’s job offer.  To honor him a group of ArizMATYC people were working to nominate him for AMATYC’s Teaching Excellence award.  He will be greatly missed. ~Laura

That is so very sad. I will miss his playful teasing, sarcastic wit, and outrageously funny stories. Math in Arizona lost a true advocate for mathematics and students. Please pass on Kristina and I’s condolences to his family and let us know if there is anything we can do to help his family financially.  ~Andy

He was so young too!  :(.  ~Matt

He was a great voice of reason in our meetings and an advocate for students.  I remember him talking recently of how valuable time was to him as a cancer survivor.  It is heart wrenching to know his time has come to an end, and a great loss to our ArizMATYC and Arizona community.  Will keep his family in my thoughts and prayers.  ~Laurel

Dave will most certainly be missed! He was funny, witty, talented, and a friend to all. While I had many opportunities to hang around Dave at ArizMATYC and AMATYC meetings, none were more eventful and fun than the time we spent together in the Jacksonville airport following the AMATYC conference. Our flight home to AZ was canceled after extreme delays and the journey to find alternate flights left us stranded together for hours. I will cherish the delirious laughter and airport shenanigans we shared on that trip. My thoughts and prayers are with Leslie and Bowen, his friends and family, and his colleagues near and far.   ~April

Extremely sad to hear of Dave’s passing. His last trip down to Tucson for the MAT142 conversation a year ago gave me hope he was doing well in the fight. My condolences to his wife and son. I always appreciated his viewpoint on statewide math and community college challenges. He will be missed. ~Jeff

This is devastating news…I also have appreciated David’s work to improve mathematics education. He will be missed indeed…  ~Scott

Dave will be missed. His joy in trying new technology was contagious. He always was advocating for students and never lost his desire to learn new things. His gift for sharing his ideas, his mathematical gifts, and his love of beer will be missed. Thanks, Dave, for all you taught me! ~ArizMATYC WebPadawan