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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Dr. Stahl was a builder of his community

Community was mentioned more than once in the funeral service for Dr. David Stahl in Manchester last week.

You are bound to touch a few community points in 87 years but David didn't just touch them; he embraced them, inhaled them.

He was a dentist, at one time in practice with his dad, Sam. (I must be getting a bit long in the tooth myself, because Sam was my first dentist. I still smile when thinking of the elder Dr. Stahl.)

David's obituary didn't mention it, but I'm pretty sure that he was once an office boy at the Union Leader. David was very liberal in his politics and he spent considerable time, when my mouth was full of cotton and his fingers, telling me where the newspaper was wrong. It was tough to argue with him, but only because I couldn't talk back at the time.

It was tough, too, or perhaps impossible to say no to David. Even last year, he was proudly bringing international Harvard fellows up to learn about New Hampshire and our Presidential politics and he always had them stop by his local newspaper.

He was a proud Jew, involved in both Temple Adath Yeshurun, serving on its board more than once, and also on the statewide Jewish Federation and he had an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Jews in Manchester.

He was a huge fan of and donor to the Currier Museum of Art and a supporter of individual artists.

He was among those who rallied to save and restore the Palace Theatre. His obit said he was "instrumental'' in the effort.

He might have appreciated the pun as he was also an accomplished pianist, starting as a little boy and playing ever since. His daughter remembers him playing at night, after coming home from work, as his children fell asleep to the sound of his one-man concerts.

His love for music led him to the Boston Symphony as patron and regular attendee. He supported the New Hampshire Symphony, the Manchester and state historical associations, and he was a founder of The Derryfield School in Manchester.
Every group seemed to be represented at his services.

David Stahl could be a difficult man. Those he considered fools, he didn't suffer gladly. He was a man who spent much of his life playing a vital part in some of the many pieces that, together, make a community and make it better. Manchester and New Hampshire were fortunate to have him.


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