via Jay Williston of Synthmuseum.com
"Dave Wilson, of the New England Synthesizer Museum has just passed away.
Dave was our inspiration for starting the Synthmuseum.com web site some 15 years ago.
So many of us in the electronic music field have made a trip up to see him in Nashua and his amazing collection. He is one of us and will be fondly remembered and missed.
-Jay (of Synthmuseum.com)"
He was only 49:
"David Hillel Wilson, 49, passed away Friday, August 27th, 2010, in his Nashua home. Dave was born in Bronx, NY, on December 12, 1960, and grew up in Fairfield, CT. He was curator and founder of the New England Synthesizer Museum in Nashua. Dave is survived by his parents, Jay & Vivian Wilson, and his 3 siblings, Rebecca, Ruth and Daniel. A graveside service is planned for August 30th at 1 p.m. at the Agudas Achim cemetery on Reid Street in Fairfield, CT."
I was fortunate enough to visit Dave at the museum and communicated with him off and on via email. You can see all posts featuring Dave and the museum here [update: Blogger search appears to be broken; use the Google search box on the right]. He was extremely kind and gracious. Some might consider him a bit eccentric, but how could he not be. He lived literally surrounded by synths. For what it's worth I consider myself a bit eccentric and most of the people I appreciate in life are as well. The one thing that stood out for me overall though, was that he was just plain nice. It's something I value more than anything else in people I meet. The ability to just be nice to others. He was just one of those guys you liked knowing was out there doing his thing.
He loved synths as much if not more than anyone I've met and he loved ALL synths, not just the rare and the analog. I'll never forget him wailing the Star Wars theme and Emmerson's Lucky Man for me on the Yamaha DX7 with the Rhodes Chroma Polaris by it's side. I remember wondering why he chose those two out of everything else he had in the museum to play for me. I knew many of the pieces needed work, but he genuinely appreciated the DX7 and the Polaris for what they were. He told me a little about the two and the significance of the DX7. Of course he showed me all of the other synths in the museum including the very first ARP 2500 featured here.
He'd often pop up on the AH list with interesting bits of info. He always promptly replied to my inquiries via email. He was just a very kind, giving, and gentle soul. I remember asking him if he ever worried about people stealing from the museum. He told me a story about some kid trying to walk out with an SEM under his jacket. Dave didn't seem angry in telling me the story. It was just something to be aware of. I remember leaving the museum, dropping somewhere for a quick bite to eat and then popping back on the freeway back to Connecticut with my wife. Right as I was heading off a ramp to another freeway, I see a purple PT Cruiser with a SYNTHE license plate driving by. It was Dave! I remember thinking how cool is that! He didn't see me and he continued on while I went on the other freeway. I was hoping to visit him again some day. That unfortunately will never happen. 49 is way too young. Although I did not know him well, I will miss him very, very much. Dave, wherever you are, may the synths be with you. Today's posts are for you.
video from October 2007
Note: This post went up at 10:50 AM. I post stamped it at 11:59 PM so it stays on top all day. As this literally was the first thing I woke to, I will put new posts up today below this one.
Update via BexElttil in the comments: "Hi, Dave's sister Beckie here..
I would like to shed some light on how Dave died. He was in and out of the hospital since May 20th, they finally diagnosed him with amyloid AL. Basically, and extra protein attaches and grows to internal organs, there was no cure. We, the family did think he was going to beat it with chemo, God had other plans. He ultimately died of a heart attack on Friday afternoon. I guess they needed a really good synth engineer in heaven, and called for the best.
If not for his friend checking on him daily and more than once a day, he might have been left there for days instead of hours.
The museum does have a board, and my other brother Dan will be contacting them regarding what to do with the machines.
Thank you, everyone for your kind words. I am awed by how many have known, loved, and respected Dave. I too, even as his sister, never had the chance to visit the museum.
Blessings to you all.
Beckie (Wilson) Basehore"
Update via RuthsHere in the comments: "Hi there, (the OTHER sister chimes in.)
I hope you are all well. David was a pack rat(a family trait). It was a bit "sanford and son" over there. He knew what was important to him. Lack of funding kept the place in a little bit of a shambles. It's just how it was. Things could have been different, but that's not important anymore.
I am assisting Dan with organizing his material possessions. I had been in the "trenches" before and cleaned there a few times. I had ideas for his museum, but he really just wanted to do it his way.
Nothing is new to me when it comes to David except how much of an impact he has made on the world. I doubt he can ever be replaced, but I hope someone is able to finish repairs he started on some of the machines.
Thanks for everyone for their support and admiration. It's been a very pleasant surprise for his family.