Davidson Ream


Died May 2, 1937 – August 21, 2017,Evanston, IL

College: Berkeley
Major: American Studies
Graduate School: University of Virginia, J.D., Law, 1964; University of California, LL.M., Law, 1971

Children: Michael Eberhardt, 1971; Caitlin Delia, 1975
Grandchildren: Tabitha Cowan, 2004; Sofia Ream, 2004; Susanna Cowan, 2008

Davidson “Dave” Ream, 80, a longtime resident of Evanston, died August 21, 2017 at Westminster Place, where he had been in hospice care. He will be remembered as someone who loved his family, his work and his community, and who lived his life with enthusiasm and joy. Dave was born May 2, 1937 to Joseph Ream and Anita Ream (Biggs) in Ossining, New York, and raised in Millstone, New Jersey, Princeton, New Jersey, and Tallahassee, Florida. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he was a graduate of Phillips Academy, Yale University, University of Virginia School of Law and Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley. He was employed as a legal writer and editor at firms in San Francisco and Chicago. Dave is survived by his children Michael Ream (Judy Walden) of Des Moines, Iowa and Caitlin Cowan (Michael) of Minneapolis, Minnesota; his partner, Jane Baker and her children John Negronida and Beth Negronida (Charles Saxe); grandchildren Sofia Ream, Tabitha Cowan, Susanna Cowan, Lindsey Saxe and Eric Saxe; his former wife and the mother of his children, Judith Ream (Krampitz); siblings Jackson Ream, Nancy Rose and Christopher Ream; and numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends all over the world. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Stephen Ream. A memorial service will be held September 23 at 2 p.m. in Elliott Chapel at Westminster Place. Burial will be at Oakland Cemetery in Tallahassee, Florida. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Aug. 31, 2017

I prepped at Andover for two years before Yale. I was so restless at Yale that I took a leave of absence in sophomore year. Two years in the Army was the medicine I needed. When I returned to Yale, I was a serious student who stayed on the Dean’s List.

In my last year at Yale, I had to make a tough career choice between my true passion – American History – and going to law school. I chose the latter, primarily for the practical reality of three years in school versus six or seven in a Ph.D. program. I have never regretted the choice.

I earned a law degree at the University of Virginia in 1964. Even though I am a member of the bar, I do not practice law. I decided early on that my temperament was more suited to research and writing about the law than dealing with clients’ problems or arguing cases in court. Thus, my professional career has been in legal publications—developing law book projects, and writing and editing materials aimed at practicing lawyers.

I enjoy U.S. and foreign travel. Right after law school, I spent three years working on law development programs in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Truly an exotic experience.

I moved from Berkeley to Evanston in 1975, and have lived in the same house for 35+ years. I have been heavily involved in community and political affairs, including a term on the Evanston City Council. I believe that every American who has personally benefitted in some way from the greatness of our nation has an obligation to “give back”—contribute time, talent, and energy to the general good.

An even more important obligation, for all of us who have been blessed with children, is to love, nurture, and prepare those children for responsible adulthood. We owe this to society as well as to our kids.

I was married for 19 years, before my wife decided that she wanted to do something else with her life that simply could not involve me. I eventually recovered, and have enjoyed the companionship and love of one special lady for 26 years.

I have two children: Michael, a writer, is 40 years old; Caitlin, 35, is a librarian. Three grandchildren.

Thoughts of world peace? The terrorist threats that seem to plague the U.S. and other countries frankly have had no effect on my own sense of security or my overall positive attitude; perhaps this reflects some naivete, but I am confident that, for at least a few more decades, the efforts of national leaders will ensure that the United States remains at peace.

I have had a wonderful, full life—and I still have a bit of gas left in the tank. My general health is excellent. My children are now beginning to present me with grandchildren. I’m still active in legal writing, community organizations, and family history. And I have just enough material wherewithal to allow me to travel and otherwise do whatever I please. I am a privileged and damned lucky guy!