People often ask how my original instructor Dave Montoya is, and sometimes even ask for a referral. Unfortunately, David died suddenly and very unexpectedly a couple of years ago, leaving a wife and small child -- and a lot of mourners -- behind. I didn't believe the news when I first heard it and it took a few weeks to confirm that it had actually happened. I make no mention of his death on my original flying site because I don't want to spoil the effect there.
Dave was an excellent instructor, very good at judging the often very different needs of each student, and varying his teaching methods accordingly. He suited my own way of learning very well indeed and I enjoyed the time I spent flying with him or having coffee at Javarama, etc. I think I most miss his sense of humour and optimism about his students, and the way he absolutely enjoyed teaching. He held an ATP and had flown in the regionals, but returned to teaching because it suited his lifestyle and temperament better. He was teaching at Palo Alto at the time of his death; he'd just returned from a stint in Vermont, where he'd quickly got sick of shovelling snow and flying with taciturn Northeasterners.
Amongst those who knew him well, he's still missed a lot.