Dave Altman

Nominated for Male Singer/Songwriter of the Year – 13th Annual LA Music Awards

I’m sorry but the link in the previous posting was updated and I was unaware it changed. Here’s the correct link to Dave’s Memorial Video:


It may be necessary to download Apple’s free QuickTime player if you don’t already have it. Many websites require it so chances are it’s on your computer already BUT if it isn’t click on this link first.


I’m very sorry for all this confusion. I just checked it and it’s working fine with Quick Time 7.4 .
Posted by Joe Altman at 10:55 AM 6 comments:
Monday, January 21, 2008

Farewell to Dave

The Rosary
On Thursday evening, at Dave’s home parish in Covina, St. Louise de Marillac, the viewing and memorial rosary was held. Pastor Larry Dowdel gave a moving homily and the evening ended with a reception hosted by the parish that included refreshments and a showing of the Memorial Video remembering Dave’s life.

The Funeral
On a beautiful, sunny day in Los Angeles, we said farewell to Dave. His funeral service, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles, was an inspiring event. The mass was celebrated by His Eminence, Cardinal Roger Mahony, and concelebrated by the Most Reverend Gabino Zavala, Auxiliary Bishop of the San Gabriel Valley Region and Fr. Larry Dowdel, with Deacon Gus Sebenius and Deacon Al Valles Assisting.

Joanne Cauley (Dave’s niece who flew in from Furman University in Greenville, SC) and Cathedral Canter, Charles Lane provided music during the mass and Dave’s neighbors, Dominique, Angelique, & Emma Calvillo, provided music before the celebration.

The mass was served by Dave’s grandson Brian Conley, nephew Brandon Amaro, great-nephew Alex Tobin, and family friend, Charlie Ridder. Children aren’t my favorite things on this earth but I would be remiss if I did not comment on Brandon.

Brandon is the youngest son of my sister Peggy, and was around so faithfully during Dave’s illness. He is truly one of the most courageous, insightful, giving, and kind people I have ever known, and my eyes welled with tears of pride as he held the books of prayer for the Cardinal. We all experienced a sense of helplessness as there was so little any of us could do for Dave, but Brandon never stopped trying.

Since the 1980’s, Dave attended daily Mass at 6:20 am. He acquired a close group of friends that also celebrated mass each day; we called them the “Six-Twenties”. The Six-Twenties were Eucharistic Ministers for the Mass.

Eulogies were given by John Conley, Dave’s son-in-law, and me.

After the mass, a reception was held in the Cathedral Conference Center with another showing of the Video Memorial courtesy of family friend, Jones Gaillard.

As this will probably be my final blog entry, I’m able to take some liberties probably not appropriate until now.

Thank You!
The last 58 days were a difficult time for those of us close to Dave. We watched as a vibrant, healthy husband, father, brother, leader, and friend slipped from our worlds. It was a time of hope, laughter, tears, and prayers. I stand in awe over the number of people who visited Dave at this bedside, wrote emails or cards, made comments on this blog, or attended his final services.

I got to know many of Dave’s friends through his illness, and I now realize why Dave treasured them so much. I am still awed how many truly kind and wonderful people Dave knew.

My circle of friends supported me continuously, sometimes with only a nod or smile, that let me know it would all be ok.

The ALTMANS WINNEBAGO family of employees was also extremely supportive during the challenging times of Dave’s illness and passing and their immense efforts kept the company operating while my attentions were often focused on Dave.

It is difficult to express the courage shown by my six sisters and their families. The eight weeks of Dave’s illness affected each of us differently and there was never a time when any of us, including Dave, felt alone.

Dave’s children were beacons of light and were always there for me to lean on. Their encouragement was unending, even though there were times it would have been easy for any of them to withdraw.

Dave’s wife Marla deserves credit beyond words. She handled this trying time with so much poise and grace, and her resolve gave many of us the strength to persevere.
My Final Words
On Thursday night, I was extremely nervous, asking myself why I had offered to give a eulogy. There was so much I wanted to tell the world about Dave, yet I was equally anxious about not being able to speak in front of such an audience at such a sacred and hallowed venue.

When it was over, the comments of those to whom I spoke were so thoughtful that I am forever grateful.

Technology can be a wonderful part of our lives. This Weblog (blog) has allowed me to share my journey during Dave’s final steps on this planet. It as also given me a window through which to view the impression Dave made on those he touched.

For those of you who attended the Rosary or Funeral Reception, the Video Memorial was shown. If you would like to view it, or see it again, enter http://web.mac.com/jonezin/iWeb/Site/Dave%20Altman.html into your web browser. It is a 17 minute movie and takes about 6 minutes to download at DSL speeds. Make sure your speakers are on.

–Joe Altman

The Eulogies
Eulogy by John Conley
John Conley gave an insightful viewing of Dave’s role as a father and grandfather. The text of that eulogy will be posted here when I receive it.

My Eulogy
Good Morning. Cardinal Mahony, thank you for being here today. You’ve shown extraordinary kindness and compassion to our family through the course of Dave’s illness.

I humbly stand before a gathering of what my brother Dave would consider the “crowned kings and queens of his life”. On behalf of Mrs. Altman, her children, and the sisters and family of Dave, it is my honor to share with you my feelings regarding the loss of a husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend.

It goes without saying that Dave was a fierce patriot, a devout Catholic, a devoted husband, a loving father and grandfather, a loyal brother and son, a successful entrepreneur, and to all who knew him, a great friend.

David was born the first son of Gary and Lillian Altmanshofer in small town of Columbus, Nebraska. He attended a Catholic school and enjoyed the things many American young men enjoyed at that time – Boy Scouts, model airplanes, junior high band, high school football, the early days of rock and roll music, annoying his younger sisters and brother, and meeting the love of his life, Marla.

After attending colleges in Kansas City and Omaha, Dave married Marla and moved to Lincoln, Nebraska where he operated a toy and hobby store before moving to Southern California in 1966.

He was introduced to the world of RV’s in 1968, and decided that fulfilling people’s dreams was his life’s calling. In 1971, he opened Dave Altmans RV Center in Baldwin Park, now known as Altmans Winnebago.

If Dave’s feet were planted in his business, his heart and soul were rooted in his family. Being the oldest of eight, Dave experienced first-hand, and continuously, the joys of family. In nearly every conversation I recall, his family was always a consideration.

Dave’s enthusiasm for life and the wonders of this earth is well known. His affection for food, wine, travel, and magic pervades our memories of Dave. But these things were merely an excuse for Dave to be with people about whom he cared.

Dave traversed his 66 years like a Pied Piper, leading those who knew him on a journey of great new experiences. It always seemed like Dave was in his greatest glory when being the guide on an adventure, and not a merely a participant.

While, as his younger brother, I may have perfected the art of being annoying, that science was taught well to me by Dave.

My memories stretch back to being only 4, and sharing a bedroom with Dave. I remember him getting home late at night after a ball game or date, turning on the lights to get ready for bed, then hopping into his bed, and saying to me “Joe, wake up! It’s your turn to switch off the lights.” And time after time after time I complied.

Dave had a great sense of humor as well as a snoring issue for which he used some weird machine with a mask to help his night-time breathing. It helped a lot, I assume, as he would bring it along with him when we traveled.

One night last year, we shared a hotel room in Dallas, and I went to bed shortly before he did. I remember him taking an unusually long time to get ready for sleep, calling Marla (which was excusable), gargling, and making other old-people noises. Trying to sleep, I said, in my brotherly way, “Dave, GO TO BED or I’ll unplug your machine in the middle of the night!”. All of the sudden he leaned over me, cupping his hands to his mouth and said, in a Darth-Vader-like voice “Joe – this is your future!” I laughed so hard, I don’t think I ever fell asleep.

Being the younger brother of Dave wasn’t always easy. To Dave, I was his brother, but never “just Dave Altman’s” brother. Let me explain. A few years ago, at an RV Show, someone innocently asked me if it was difficult always being in the shadow of Dave.

Dave, overhearing this question, interjected and stated that I was never in his shadow – occasionally, he merely provided protection from the sun for my bald little head. I think there was never a day on which I stood taller.

Dave enjoyed the admiration of his peers and excelled in his chosen career. His service to the RV industry and the awards he won is well documented and I need not repeat them here.

To Dave, the value of these awards was not in the recognition he received, but in the acknowledgment by others of his struggle to make the business he loved more professional and better for its customers.

While Dave’s success brought him many opportunities to savor the finer things of life, Dave was particularly aware that after survival, you reach for success. And success has no meaning unless you strive for significance.

Dave’s lifelong goal was to make the world a better place for him having walked upon it. His family granted him the groundwork, and his business the means, but it was his spirit that proved one man, no matter how simple, can make a difference.

During his illness, and after his death, there have been countless conversations amongst the family about Dave. We are painfully aware that Dave left a mighty impression on the world he touched. And we recognize, that while our footprint may not be as wide or deep, Dave has given us the inspiration to make our own mark.

Thirty years ago, a young catholic man, Robert Kennedy, was shot down not far from here. At his funeral, his brother made a comment that mirrors my thoughts today, “My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, [but should] be remembered simply as a good and decent man.”

This afternoon we will leave this Cathedral and return to living out the plan God has for each of us. When we next look up to the evening sky, consider, as was once said, “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in Heaven, where the love of our lost ones pours through, and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”

Farewell my brother, my mentor, and my friend. Thank you for touching and brightening our lives. May your efforts, goals, and dreams be inherited by me, your family, and the countless lives you have touched.
Posted by Joe Altman at 12:20 PM 7 comments:
Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Morning, January 14, 2008

Thankfully, my career as a writer is quickly coming to an end. I have actually found comfort in this web log, both in disclosing my feelings, and in illuminating some aspects of Dave and our family to the world.

A gracious question of many is “How are YOU doing?” For the record, I am doing quite well. While the passing of Dave is not an easy pill to swallow, I’ve had the distinct honor of watching a brother enter immortality in peace, and meeting so many wonderful people who knew Dave. What else could anyone ask for?

Marla, Dave’s wife, is a true inspiration to all of us. She has set an example on how one allows a loved one to pass into the arms of the Angels

And, given the circumstances, the family is doing well also. When our mother passed away about 11 months ago, we found strength many of us never knew we had. That strength found its way back to our spirits and is helping us all right now.

This morning, I accompanied Marla and some family members to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to confirm some final arrangements. The staff is so accommodating and supportive that the process is very smooth.

As our meeting ended shortly after noon, and the daily 12:10 pm mass at the Cathedral was about to begin, we decided to join. It gave us a chance to collect our thoughts.

The priest, ( a young man who attended the same high school, Bishop Amat, as did Dave’s daughters and grandson), gave a great homily on what God has in store for us. He noted that “In the end, everything will be ok. And if everything isn’t ok, it isn’t the end.”

I think I now have additional words of wisdom by which to live.

Details of the Funeral Services

On Thursday Evening, there will be a Rosary for Dave at his home parish of
St Louise de Marillac Catholic Church
1720 E Covina Bl
Covina, CA 91724

Viewing: 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Rosary: 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Funeral services will be held Friday morning, January 18, at the
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
[213] 680-5200
Service 10:00 am
Reception to follow at the Cathedral Conference Center
Parking will be available at the Cathedral for $5.

Altmans Winnebago, in memory of Dave, will be closed on this Friday to allow our employees the opportunity to pay respects and mourn in whatever way they feel is appropriate.

It was Dave’s thoughts that there are so many people out there who need help more than he needs flowers. A gift to charity would be appreciated instead of flowers. The care that Dave received during his illness incurred a debt of gratitude that we will never be able to repay (though the health-care bills will be paid, of course).

City of Hope Foundation
1500 E Duarte Rd
Duarte, CA 91010

Casa Colina Foundation
255 E. Bonita Av
Pomona, CA 91769

Altman Family Foundation (Various humanitarian charities)
c/o California Community Foundation
445 S Figueroa St, Suite 3400
Los Angeles, CA 90071

The closest hotels to the Cathedral :

Los Angeles Omni Hotel
251 S Olive St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-3300

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites
404 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 624-1000

If you would prefer to stay in the Covina area,

Radisson Suites Hotel Covina
1211 East Garvey St
Covina CA 91724
(888) 201-1718 US Toll Free
(626) 915-3441
Posted by Joe Altman at 2:28 PM 14 comments:
Saturday, January 12, 2008

Funeral Arrangements

On Thursday Evening, there will tentatively be a Rosary for Dave at his home parish of
St Louise de Marillac Catholic Church
1720 E Covina Bl
Covina, CA 91724

Viewing: 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Rosary: 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Funeral services will be held Friday morning, January 18, at the
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
[213] 680-5200

Service 10:00 am
Reception to follow at the Cathedral Conference Center

This site will be updated periodically throughout the week.
Posted by Joe Altman at 4:46 AM 8 comments:
Saturday Morning, January 12, 2008.

At shortly before 4:00 am, Saturday morning, January 12, the Good Lord gently welcomed Dave Altman into his arms.

Dave passed peacefully with his wife Marla, his children Tina, Debbie, and Steven, and several other family members at his side.

David J Altmanshofer was born November 16, 1941 in Columbus Nebraska. There he attended St. Bonaventure Catholic School. In June, 1961, he married his high-school sweetheart Marla and after a short time in Lincoln, Nebraska moved to Southern California in 1966.

Dave was preceded in death by his daughter Cheryl, his father Gary, and his mother Lillian.

Dave is survived by his wife Marla, his daughters Tina and Debbie, his son Steven, nine grandchildren, one great-grandchild, six sisters, and a brother.

For his family, the lights on earth became a bit dimmer, but the stars in the sky have never shined brighter. The prayers and kind wishes of everyone made Dave’s final days with us filled with great peace. Those prayers are also giving those of us who survived Dave the strength, courage, and tranquility to continue.

Details on final arrangements will be posted here in the next few days.

There are no words to express the sorrow or gratitude I feel. Thank you.
Posted by Joe Altman at 4:46 AM 36 comments:
Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Morning, January 11, 2008

Due to a fairly extreme level of discomfort, Dave’s healthcare providers have placed him on higher doses of pain medication.

Through Wednesday, Dave has been pretty conversational with the visitors that have joined him. His eyesight and hearing allowed him to carry on normal, though sometimes short, conversations.

He has been surrounded by family members and a wealth of friends and business associates in the last few days. For the limited time that Dave was awake, he acknowledged his guests with smiles, quick comments, and handshakes.

I had the good fortune to spend the entire day on Thursday at the hospice with him and he is aware of the advancement the cancer has made in his body. He resisted the drugs that would ease his discomfort because they also made him drowsy and less able to interact with those around him.

As the day progressed, his option to decline the treatment went away and Thursday pain rendered him sleeping most of the day; Dave’s condition is deteriorating with time.

He still has had all of the comment, cards, and thoughts read to him and his facial expressions indicate his acknowledgement.

This has been a very difficult time for Dave as well as for a great number of family members and acquaintances. The prayers have helped Dave deal with a terrible situation and, without question, have made a lot of things much easier on the rest of us.

To all who follow Dave’s condition, thank you.
Posted by Joe Altman at 6:38 AM 12 comments:
Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday Evening, January 6, 2008

Today was not a usual day here in Southern California. It was raining most of the day and it was actually my birthday. I am lucky to be born on the same day as when we celebrate the arrival of the Three Maji to the side of Jesus in Bethlehem. For years it was called the Epiphany and many cultures celebrate it as Little Christmas.

Since rain happens seldom here, as we live in a literal desert, and my birthday actually happens only once every six or seven years nowadays, it was an unusual day. It was also the first full day my brother Dave spent in hospice.

At 9:30 this morning, Fr. Eugene, a close friend of Dave and the family, celebrated mass for us in the hospice chapel. Nearly every member of my extended family was there and, most important, Dave was also there. The mass and the attendance of so many people was a celebration of Dave, having nothing to do with my birthday.

And, oddly enough, I looked around and saw Dave joining in the prayers and said to myself, there could be no better birthday celebration – surrounded by people who cared about me and about whom I cared. And my birthday didn’t matter.

Because I refuse to get older, maybe I AM becoming more mature. My maternal grandmother used to give us, as a birthday gift, a dollar and a piece of gum. Thankfully, two of my sisters enhanced my birthday with that gift this year also. Most importantly, in the past few days, I’ve been touched by nearly everyone who is special to me.

The other highlight of the last few days was all of the visitors Dave had. Knowing our family, it’s no surprise we were all there. But the parade of friends, friends of friends, extended family, employees, customers, and business associates was very touching.

A close friend of my sister Peggy provided a huge lasagna dinner for all of us and while we were sitting around eating, we all made the comment that everyone who visited, caused a HUGE smile to come across Dave’s face when they came into the room.

For example, Mike Schneider, a friend in the RV business that Dave and I have known for years, came in when I had stepped out. He walked into the building and my sisters Mary and Sue noticed his shirt had the Go RVing logo on it. They figured, from his lost look, that he might need help.

He said he was looking for Dave, and Dave’s face beamed when he walked in and said hello. Someone asked where he was from, and he replied he was from Ventura. They asked if he had a dealership out there and Mike just answered that he was in advertising.

I’m not one to blow anyone’s cover but Mike Schneider is President of the Affinity Group. The Affinity Group publishes huge RV Magazines such as Trailer Life and Motorhome along with about 41 other titles, owns the Good Sam Club, a nationwide organization of over 1 million RVers, and many more ventures.

Mike’s humility and character are beyond words and Dave made a special point to make sure I knew that. I did know that.

For years Dave has seen himself as somewhat of a wine connoisseur. He actually knows a lot – even more than my knowledge that if you order a red wine, they always forget somehow to make sure it’s cold.

Back to the subject, someone had the bright idea to give him a bit of wine with his dinner. We now know how to make him happy again at meal time. I think I read somewhere, in a movie magazine or something, that a little booze with pain killers will put a smile on anyone’s face.

When I left tonight, Dave wished me Happy Birthday. I told him that the longer he hung around, me being the “cross he has to bear” and all, that I think he got about 35 years credit in purgatory for every hour spent with me. Those of you with long-standing Catholic teaching know of what I’m speaking. He laughed, I held his hand, and I said good night.

Yes, I think this is the best birthday I’ve ever had. Thank you Dave!
p.s. Good Lord this posting is long. I’m sorry.