The town of Lake Lure lost a pillar of the community when David Leestma passed away on April 28. The Mountain Breeze in particular lost a true titan of the field because Dave – as he was known to friends and writers at this newspaper – was co-owner of the Breeze for 16 years with his wife Cathy.
He served as editor and she as business manager from 2006 to 2022 when my wife Meda and I purchased the Breeze from them. Dave’s death due to liver cancer at the age of 70 was quite a blow to us both, but especially to Meda as she had worked with Dave and Cathy producing the Breeze long before we became owners. In fact, Meda has worked on The Mountain Breeze longer than she has even known me. And during that time Dave was not only a boss for her but a mentor in the publishing industry and a good friend.
Many of you got to know Dave through The Breeze or interacting with him during various occasions at Rumbling Bald or in Lake Lure. If you didn’t know, he was the Reverend Dr. David B. Leestma, a Minister of Music of several churches in Texas, California, and North Carolina. He was an artist in every sense of the word and considered himself blessed to have all the opportunities he did to use his talents for God. He was a conductor, composer, leader, mentor, and editor. He was a very kind, generous, and fun friend. Rev. Everette Chapman wrote about Dave’s kindness in his “From the Pastor’s desk” column in the May/June 2022 edition of The Breeze, expressing just how much Dave meant to those who knew him. He was a loving husband to Cathy, father to Andrea and John, and grandfather to six grandchildren. The Mountain Breeze and the Lake Lure area were made all the better from his joyous life and contribution to our area.