David Chantler, Seattle native and resident of the Methow Valley, died Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, in Winthrop at age 84.
Dave was born Oct. 12, 1938, in Seattle to Cord and Martha Chantler. He was raised in West Seattle along with his younger brother, Wayne. At age 9 Dave began piano lessons, beginning his life-long love of music. As a middle-schooler, he was one of 10 boys who established a new Scout Troop focused on ski tours, hiking and backpacking trips and basic rock climbing, setting the foundation for his life of adventure.
After graduating from West Seattle High School in 1956, Dave attended Seattle Pacific College (now University), then began his career at REI Co-op in 1962 where he worked alongside founders Lloyd and Mary Anderson and then-President Jim Whittaker. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and contributed two years of service, primarily as company clerk of a band at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Off-base he played piano live for Texas Public Radio and co-produced opera with local talent.
Dave played a significant role establishing cross country skiing in the U.S. through his work at REI to import gear from Europe, creating skiing events on the west and east sides of the Cascades to grow participation, and through his influence of state government to create Nordic skiing venues through the Sno-Park system. This led Dave to the Methow Valley and its special community, where he found home. He was deeply involved in the early development of the trail system. In 1979 he built a cabin in Pine Forest that became an iconic place for gatherings, dinners and group weekends to share his love of the valley with others. Dave moved there full-time after retiring from REI in 2000.
Birding and photography were passions for Dave. In his travels he visited 60 countries, every continent except Antarctica, and saw 6,764 unique species of birds. At home in the Methow his musical passion led him to serve on the board of the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival for several years. Dave will be missed but the legacy of his extraordinary contributions will endure. No service is planned. Memorial donations can be made to Jamie’s Place: http://jamiesplace.org.