David Templer was one of the original homeowners in the Northgate subdivision when it was built in Arlington Heights more than 40 years ago. For decades he worked to make his neighborhood and his village a better, more environmentally friendly place.
Friends are remembering Templer, who died Saturday at age 73, as a thoughtful and dedicated community member.
Templer spent more than 15 years on the Arlington Heights Environmental Commission, including a few years as its chairman, and was an active member of the Northgate Civic Association.
"He was the real deal in terms of being an engaged member of the community," said Seth Eisner, a member of the Northgate Civic Association Board. "He was a real active citizen who took local things very seriously and made it an important part of his life."
Eisner said Templer was the first one to "raise the red flag" about emerald ash borer and get his neighbors involved in trying to raise awareness about this issue.
Professionally trained as a chemist, Templer got more involved in recent years as the village debated how to deal with the infestation that threatened to kill thousands of trees.
He was instrumental in putting together the Save Our Ash Coalition, a group of Arlington Heights neighborhoods that are treating, rather than removing their ash trees, said Laurie Taylor, president of the Northgate Civic Association. His research on the topic and work with the village helped persuade officials to support a 50/50 funding program for residents interested in treatment.
"If I asked him a question, he would give all sides of the issue," Taylor said. "He was like a translator, helping us understand everything about EAB. He was so patient with people."
Templer was a frequent visitor at village and commission meetings. Village Forester Dru Sabatello said he would often learn new things from Templer at those meetings.
"He was a very intelligent man and a great teacher to me," Sabatello said. "He also had this surprisingly dry sense of humor. He was just a great person."
During his years on the environmental commission, Templer pushed the "Idle-free Arlington" initiative that encourages residents to clean up the air by not leaving their cars idling in parking lots and at train crossings.
"I know the other commissioners really enjoyed working with him," said Jeff Bohner, staff liaison to the environmental commission. "We will miss his honestly and his laugh."
Templer was remembered with a memorial service at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife Ilene of 49 years and their children.
"He had a great dedication to his village and his neighborhood," said Bert Rosenberg, village trustee and former member of the environmental commission. "He is a typical example of the kind of people we have on our boards and commissions in the village."