1 min

David Blair Linton

Teacher, cyclist, leader and great friend

David Linton, co-founder of the Friends for Life Bike Rally and former co-chair of the popular charity ride, died on Sept 27.

David Linton had a profound impact on the people around him. From small things, like carefully explaining how to properly play a bridge hand, to house sitting for friends, taking neighbours’ pets for walks, sharing a beer, being a caring uncle or teaching kids. Then there was his incredible achievement in co-founding the Friends for Life Bike Rally.

David started out as a treasurer on Toronto People with AIDS Foundation’s (PWA) board of directors, but when the agency was faced with a financial crisis, his response was to co-create an event that could sustain it. After 14 years, the bike rally has done much more than that. Today it is the second-largest HIV/AIDS fundraising event in Canada. It has brought in more than $7.8 million and changed the lives of thousands of participants and recipients of the critical services offered by PWA.

For three years, David shone as co-founder and co-chair of the ride. He was an avid participant for many more. He brought a remarkable talent for planning, logistics and problem solving that made the complex event possible. He was passionate about the bike rally and often mused in the early years about growing and expanding it. His passion, commitment and leadership enabled the bike rally to grow and flourish over the past 13 years.

David was always a student and a teacher at heart. He was eager to learn and was open to new ideas, but it was his desire to bring people together for a common good that made him so special.

David had always loved the idea of teaching kids, and it was inspiring to watch him bring his new dream to life. His peers nominated him for several honours, including Toronto’s Inspire Award earlier this year. In 2000, David was given PWA’s Friends of the Foundation Award for Outstanding Volunteer Support; in 2003 he was an inductee to the Ontario AIDS Network Honour Roll.

David was classy and fun loving and did it all with humility. He was an extraordinary leader, without really knowing it.  

David’s big smile, warm heart and dedication to our community will be missed by his family, his long-time partner, Andy, and more people than he may have ever imagined. We are all better people simply for having known David.