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February 14, 1992 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-02-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

who could overcome
anything. This can happen
to other children if parents
here aren't aware that in
Europe, the rules for skiing
are different. Here, if there
is a dangerous cliff near a
ski area, everyone knows
it. The ski patrol here
would never allow you to
ski off the course. There,
the rules seem to be diff-
erent."
In Europe, skiing out of
bounds is almost an ac-,
cepted practice. Warnings
are less severe than at
American resorts. Euro-
pean skiers are often an-
noyed if they are approach-
ed by ski patrol, so the
patrols are more inclined to
leave them alone. Also,
death in the European
mountains is perhaps more
common than in the United
States. Bodies of hikers
and skiers are sometimes
found in the mountains
days or weeks after death.
Recently, when the ice-
preserved body of a
4,000-year-old man was
uncovered, authorities did
not respond to the find in-
stantly, thinking that it
was a hiking or skiing in-
cident. The body was even
toyed with by hikers before
it was reported to au-
thorities.
The question now seems
to be, what is there left for
the Stillmans to do? They
still haven't been able to
unpack their son's
backpack. It sits in his
room. The canteen he wore
came back with his per-
sonal effects, dented and
misshapen from the fall.
From David's death, his
father has found new
meaning in life. .A soft-
spoken but strong man, Dr.
Stillman said he'll never
take things for granted
anymore. Life, he said, is
precious.

with your life that makes a
difference."
Dr. Stillman's quiet,
measured way helped him
talk about his son. He said
there are times when he
feels his son's closeness, his
love. At those moments,
he'll back off from
whatever it is he is doing,
and knows that David is
all right.
"I guess I feel that if he
had to die, then he died
very happy," Dr. Stillman
said. "He was doing some-
thing he loved to do, he was
skiing. David, in his young
life, - achieved something
that many never achieve.
He lived his life to the
fullest. There was almost
nothing he didn't try that
he couldn't do. But more

importantly, he had
friends. And at his funeral,
his friends came here to
Michigan from all over the
country. He loved them,
they loved him.
"My sadness comes in
spurts," Dr. Stillman add-
ed. "I'm sad that he wasn't
given the chance to have a
future. That's the sad part
of it all. But the happy part
is here is a young man who
actually did what he set
out to do in life."
Lauren Stillman still
calls her brother's phone
number sometimes in Ann
Arbor. It's as if she wants
to talk to him one more
time and find out what ac-
tually happened on that
slope.
"I want to ask him what
happened," she said. "Was

he scared? Did he know
that he was going to die? I
watch all of this stuff on
television about the Olym-
pics or I see ads promoting
skiing in Europe. But peo-
ple don't know how
dangerous it all is."
The Stillmans recently
received the results of
David's California bar
exam. He passed on the
first try.
His parents are now con-
sulting attorneys. It's not
that money could bring
their son back. But they
want others to think twice
before they ski outside the
United States.
"If God had to take
David," Judy Stillman
said, "I hope there was a
purpose that will help
others. That's what helps

us keep going. Through the
years it was often David
that helped us keep going
when there were rough
times. Now, it's his
memory."0

Dr. Burton and Judy
Stillman hope to learn
in greater detail just
why and how their son
died last August in
Zermatt.

"I'm more in tune to
valuing my friendships, my
family," he said. "I learned
that it's not how much
money you have that is im-
portant, but what you do

Photo by Glenn Triest

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

25

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