Ironically, a few days earlier with his short-term memory improving, Dave Dyer was quietly hoping to make a comeback. At age 74, and yes, covering local sports.

He was at the Northern Essex Community College menֱs basketball game over the weekend, of course, and took some notes.

We never got to see that finished product as his previous illness from two years earlier ֱ two brain tumors ֱ led to a rough few days and, sadly, his death on Monday.

Daveֱs career earned him enough awards to fill up a cruise ship, including USA Wrestling Magazineֱs ֱWriter of the Year,ֱ an award that started in 1971. He won it three times. No other writer won it twice. About 18 months ago, the Massachusetts Chapter of the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame inducted Dave three months after his brain surgery.

ֱWe appreciated the great work he did over the years, wrestling in our area,ֱ said former legendary Timberlane Regional coach Barry Chooljian. ֱHe was different in that he had a great interest in covering sports from different angles, not just results but great stories of kids that he could share with the community.

ֱI always got the sense he cared about sports. He wasnֱt just covering it, but with a deeper interest,ֱ said Chooljian. ֱSometimes he wanted too much. Heֱd call me at night sometimes with information few people knew and Iֱd say, ֱHow the heck did you know that?ֱ The sport has missed him since he left after the surgery.ֱ

While his work in wrestling put him on the map, the best of Dave Dyer was really the entire package.

Daveֱs other ֱspecialֱ sports that he always looked out for were cross country, softball and, get this, over-30 menֱs baseball. A lot of behind the scenes stars, he said, deserved their day as much as football, basketball and baseball.

Dave looked out for everybody, not just the easy-to-write-about superstars. As he once told me, the best and most interesting stories are usually the people behind the superstars.

But thatֱs not even close to Daveֱs personal story. A noted runner and avid hiker, he and his wife, Debbie, a recently retired non-profit lawyer, have been a host family for three decades to Haverhill High and Northern Essex Community College exchange students.

Dave also helped to feed the elderly with their Meals-on-Wheels program, driving four hours per week.

After their three eldest children ֱ Sarah (Dyer) Thayer, Seth Dyer and Nate Dyer ֱ entered their teenage years, the Dyers decided to adopt a child, going to Russia and adopting their son, Nico, from the Ukraine.

Do you see a trend here?

Over the last two years while trying to recover, it wasnֱt easy. As heֱd take one step forward and two steps back at times. But he welcomed all visitors with open arms.

ֱHe was an excellent mentor to me and just a stand-up, fun guy to be around,ֱ said Newburyport News sports editor Kyle Gaudette, who started his career covering local sports under Dave. ֱI always looked forward to our chess meetups.ֱ

I made the comment in a story I wrote about Dave when we named him our 2021 ֱ-Tribune Sportsman of the Year, that he was not an imposing figure if you ran into him at a local sporting event, at 5-foot-11 and 130 pounds. To the contrary, he looked like a regular, skinny guy.

But I compared him to another ֱskinnyֱ dude, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez. When Pedro set foot on the pitcherֱs mound, he was ferocious.

On the inside, Dave was ferocious, outworking the best of the best in our business.

One of the coolest things in my 40 years in this business was his family asked me to attend the Northern Essex C.C. Athletics Hall of Fame as his representative at the induction ceremony.

Sportswriters just donֱt get inducted into Halls of Fame, but Dave did. and it wasnֱt just the many stories he wrote, but that he cared about ֱus and that meant a lot,ֱ said menֱs basketball coach Darren Stratton.

Is anybody surprised about Daveֱs comeback attempt, when most people that age opt for the quiet life?

ֱHe was getting better, his short-term memory, and wanted to give it a shot,ֱ said his wife Debbie.

No surprise, a sportswriter until his last breath.

You can email Bill Burt at

Trending Video

Recommended for you