Long-time political strategist passed away on July 3, 2021
(A remembrance prepared by David's longtime friend, John Hoffman, with David's assistance)
“Oh yeah, Dave pulled me into that. Turned out really great.”
It’s an expression – along with many similar variations – that’s been heard throughout the circles of Illinois public service for more than four decades.
“Real and honest and fearless,” said Appellate Court Justice Joe Birkett. “He was a great friend, with one of the most talented minds and generous spirits of anyone I’ve had the honor to know. And there’s no question countless people in his life say the same. He never stopped fostering and bringing people together.”
David Loveday, age 65, of Villa Park, Ill., passed away on July 3, 2021. He was a long-time strategist for a range of public officials and organizations in Illinois and nationally.
Through the years, Loveday applied his talents as an aide in the Reagan White House, a U.S. point-man in Africa helping save lives during the famines of the 1980s and a widely respected advisor to agencies and campaigns empowering and uplifting people here and throughout the world.
A giving husband, father of three and brand-new grandfather, Loveday served his local communities as a volunteer fireman and president of the local hockey league, which he played avidly for years.
“Dave was a mentor and advisor over the years to so many of us without reservation or hesitation," said long-time friend Chris Hage. "With his high level of expertise and the quality of his level-headed advice, he could have commanded high-priced consulting fees whenever he spoke, but he clearly just enjoyed supporting the endeavors of his friends and helping us succeed.”
Loveday’s wide-ranging career in public service began when he was brought in as one of the earliest members of the Reagan Transition team in 1980. He later administered all U.S. federal disaster aid in Ethiopia and Sudan, traveling extensively in Africa. Loveday was also called on to work closely with senior officials in Mongolia and Iraq, advancing human rights and fair elections.
The Federal Home Loan Bank Board hired Loveday to play a central public role in resolving the Savings and Loan crisis in the 1980s. Handling one of the most high-profile news stories of the decade, he oversaw all media relations to help assure Americans of the stability of the nation’s financial system.
“He had the most priceless and special brand of optimism around,” said John Hoffman, a close friend and colleague of almost 30 years. “Dave immediately recognized the challenges and obstacles, then with his unflagging cheer motivated those around him into working together to move ahead and build for the greater good. He taught me life-long lessons about how to think imaginatively and act with decency more than any school could ever offer.”
Another former colleague who had just entered the political world at the time recalled his warmth and kindness.
“Dave was the first one to greet me at every event, and never let me stand alone,” said Jaime Elich. “Politics felt like high school all over again, and he was that awesome guy who was never going to let you eat at the lunch table alone. His smile was infectious and he had so much passion.”
Loveday held senior staff positions on more than 10 statewide and national campaigns, oversaw public relations and media for the second largest US transit system, and served as External Affairs Director for the second largest American tollway system.
“I just always think of his boyish grin and his eternal good humor,” said Scott McPherson, another friend and colleague. “He was a great tactician and strategist and always had a remarkably perceptive approach on communications.”
Friends and co-workers speak of Loveday’s unfailing sense of humor, remarkable skills and bottomless cheer.
“Long ago, we shared an office smaller than a New York City efficiency apartment, and Dave never once expressed a negative sentiment or harsh word,” said former co-worker Bryan Schneider. “That’s always stuck with me.”
Another friend recalled Loveday’s reassuring presence as a fellow native New Yorker.
“Early in my career, I moved to Illinois from Buffalo and felt a bit homesick,” said Paul Scheeler. “Dave picked up on this since he was a lifelong Giants and NHL fan and I was of course a Bills and Sabres fan – we spent the next few decades watching football and hockey games together.”
Those who knew Loveday praise him for upholding his deeply held principles. Though he found himself pulled close to political controversies churning in Illinois, he maintained his integrity with no hint of personal accusations.
“Almost anyone at the time when Dave was working in Illinois politics came against temptations,” said Hoffman. “He not only didn’t succumb, but he always did the right thing. Dave was a model of honesty and honor.”
For the past 15 years, Loveday managed public affairs for the global Water Quality Association. In that position, he developed innovative approaches to help ensure safe and clean water for local communities nationwide facing crises.
“Dave was an especially gifted person who used his gifts so well, transforming an extraordinary stream of positive ideas into real world projects,” said a local entrepreneur who collaborated with Loveday. “Even more importantly, he generously brought people together to make these plans successful.”
Other remembrances from those who knew him best: Funny. Intuitive. Smart. Well-liked and respected by everyone. Infectious smile. Inclusive. Welcoming.
Loveday met his future wife Natalie while they both worked at the White House. One of the many thank you letters the family has framed is one from President Reagan saying: “On a happy note, they say you get out of an undertaking what you put into it. Well, Dave, you gave us your dedication and service and we, in turn, gave you Natalie. I would say that definitely is a fair trade!”
Dave and Natalie were married for more than 35 years. They raised three children. Drew is a former Marine and Cate is a librarian. Emily, an events planner, recently became engaged to a Chicago policeman, Kyle Gruba.
Confronting his greatest challenge, Loveday was given an advanced cancer diagnosis within days of his first grandson Lincoln being born to Cate and her husband Patrick. Yet he kept up his positive mindset throughout, spending time with “Link” and his family and friends as much as possible and working even up to a week before he passed on.
When the time came to accept hospice, Loveday demonstrated the depth of his courage and character. He reached out to a friend to draft this notice. Though he had lost his speech, he then wrote simply: “I am ready.”
“He is my idol,” said Mary Jo Mikottis, a nurse practitioner who has known Loveday for many years and cared for him in the past weeks. “Throughout my career, I’ve hardly ever experienced such strength and spirit in one person.”
A native of New York, Loveday graduated from the New York Institute of Technology with a B.A. in Communications in 1979. He will be forever remembered with love by his wife Natalie, children Cate (Patrick), Drew, and Emily (fiancé Kyle), grandson Lincoln, brother Jeff (Terri), nephew Jamison (Sarah), niece Kelsey and grand-niece Millie. He was predeceased by his parents Ray and Jeanne and sister Laura.
A memorial Visitation will be held at Humes Funeral Home, 320 West Lake St., Addison, Illinois, on Saturday August 28, 2021 from 1-4 p.m. with a memorial service at 3 p.m.