, Salem, MA

Local News

December 5, 2012

Beverly native lived life to the fullest

Everyone’s life has a story. In “Lives,” we tell some of those stories about North Shore people who have died recently.

BEVERLY — David Cheney had a knack for making other people smile.

It was his outlook on life, his family said, as well as his good-natured teasing and penchant for breaking into dance, if only to get a laugh out of someone or pull them onto the dance floor at a party.

His sister, Erin, keeps a video of David and their mother, Janice, dancing in the kitchen of their Ryal Side home on her cellphone.

Cheney, 22, was killed in a plane crash with two of his University of Maine fraternity brothers on Nov. 16. He was the son of Michael and Janice Cheney and baby brother to sisters Erin and Cassie.

Through their heartbreak, the Cheney family remembers moments like Erin’s cellphone video of David breaking into dance while doing the dishes with his mother.

“I was honored to spend 22 years with him,” Janice said. “It was a blessing to have him. He taught us a lot.”

He was the type of person who lived every moment to its fullest, they said.

At his 21st birthday party, a large get-together of friends and family in the Cheney’s backyard, David insisted the band learn his parent’s wedding song. David had the party pause so Michael and Janice could dance to “their” song.

His Lambda Chi Alpha brothers remember David waking the entire fraternity house up at 2:30 a.m. so they wouldn’t miss a snowfall. He led the entire fraternity in a bike ride through the snow, simply to savor the moment, his family said.

“He was always happy, and wanted to share the stuff he loved with everyone else,” Erin said.

“He was very thoughtful, very fearless,” Cassie said. “... He would not want us to have any regrets.”

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