David Lee Plummer, was born on July 10, 1957 at the Dow Hospital in Freeport, TX, the fifth child of William and Frances Plummer. He joined his siblings, Bill, Barbara, Beverly, and Margaret. David was baptized at the Gulf Prairie Presbyterian Church in whose graveyard Stephen Austin, the Father of Texas, was originally buried. Though DC was home, he never cut his Texas roots which went back to the first Plummers came from England to a port named Galveston. He was a proud Son of the South.
David seems to have developed an early eye for anticipating the needs of others. Barbara tells of him as a three-year old, running on the curled-back knuckles of his toes from his room to the living room whenever he heard the TV go to static. While the others watched in wonder, he would run up and give it a bang till the picture returned then head straight back to whatever he was doing.
Maybe it was his sister Margaret’s congenital heart condition that made him so sensitive to the needs of others, or his beloved mother, Frances, whose stress-induced diabetes insipidus added the burden of heavy weight to bear. Thirteen year old Margaret died when David was 11, his precious mother died two years later—the mother his father nicknamed Hot Lips and later Sunshine: the mother who taught him to read by age 4; who showed him how to set a beautiful table; who ensured the family made visits to Houston for the annual Azalea Walk and to the Hill Country to revel in the Texas bluebonnets. She must have delighted in his shared passion for all things bright and beautiful.
David was always a perceptive, bright and curious boy. His fourth grade teacher suggested he could have been better organized with his papers but that he showed a competitive and curious spirit. In his first of many political campaigns, he was elected President of his 6th grade class and the love of politics never left him. He prepared himself for public service, --government of the people, by the people, for the people, whatever form it would take, and he set his sights on Washington DC arriving in the mid-80s and making it his permanent home.
Here in DC he was able to openly live his life as a proud gay man. He was a quiet activist, persistent, like water on stone. Here he found ways to serve—near the highest office of the land as in the humblest of settings. He did not fulfill every aspiration, but he never gave up being engaged in political life. His public service was not for personal gain but for the common good.
There were heartaches along the way. His longing for a life-partner never came to be. He learned his HIV+ status decades ago and began a life marked by medicine and doctor appointments, by trials and healthcare frustrations, by funerals of beloved friends; by dialysis three times a week in these later years; and finally by a too early death of causes yet to be fully known. If he suffered depression or despair, it would have been hard to see.
Every day he closed the door behind him and went out, as his father would say, to start the world. Every day was devoted to the nurture of some unique friendship. Every day there was something new in town to see, some new joy to share—a garden, a film, a restaurant. Every day there was a good gossipy conversation to be had, a new creative project to consider, news to absorb, someone to help. The burdens of his health never stopped him and barely slowed him down. If anything his own vulnerabilities simply deepened his love of others, his appreciation of beauty and his capacity for service.
For many of you here, David was a man of the world. For many of us here, David was the heart of this church. As another member said, he lived his faith in an exemplary way, which means in a Christ-like way. The verses from Paul’s letter to Philippi are thought to be one of the earliest hymns about the exemplary life of Christ…Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…And when we think now and through years to come of David’s life, we too will sing his praises. For he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death. David we praise you.
David, we thank you. Most of all David, we love you.
Eulogy by Rev. Ruth Hamilton at Funeral ServiceType your paragraph here.