For Dave Humphreys, ‘retirement’ is more a figure of speech than a reality.
The resident of Oak Trace senior living community in Downers Grove continues to work in areas for which he has a passion. A native of Downers Grove, Humphreys is a hometown legend, known and recognized for his volunteerism, leadership and musical endeavors, which he has pursued throughout his life.
Humphreys’ contributions to his community have included, but are not limited to, service in humanitarian and social justice issues. He is a long-time member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Downers Grove and, in fact, has the official title of community liaison. “I keep communications open with other groups in town, and I listen,” he said. “We are not a strong proselytizing church. We’re a 156-year-old service organization.” The philanthropic component is the part in which he has been most involved. In 1970, he launched Two Way Street Coffee House at the church. The much-beloved venue started as a way to meld music with helping young people access financial, medical and legal support. “Music was the hook,” he said, explaining that Two Way Street hosts live folk music entertainment. Through the decades, Humphreys has also been integral to supporting the church’s initiatives assisting the homeless.
Humphreys has been, and remains, very active in the greater Downers Grove community. He was a trustee of the Downers Grove Public Library for more than 20 years. He has served as the president of the Mental Health Advisory Committee of DuPage Country and president of the DuPage County Board of Health.
He is also involved with the Downers Grove Rotary Club and was responsible for helping to lead one of the service organization’s most vital and popular programs, Rotary GroveFest. In 2009, he said, the Village of Downers Grove canceled its annual summer Heritage Fest which had featured live entertainment, food and beverages. The Rotary, Humphreys recalled, had historically hosted a beer garden at the Fest, the proceeds from which were used to support their work, scholarships, and area not-for-profits. “The Rotary stepped up and took over running the Festival, making a profit the very first year,” he said. “During the next 12 years, we’ve given away almost $600,000, supporting our community and worldwide projects.” Humphreys is responsible for the popular entertainment stage at RotaryFest, booking talent and managing stage sounds and lights.
Humphreys has been involved with music since the age of five when he first learned piano, followed over the years by cello, bass, and percussion. He attended Oberlin College and said he was able to eliminate any student debt because of his ability to book musical gigs and earn money while going to school.
While he continued to perform, primarily on bass, with various ensembles and in many locations, for 27 years he earned his primary income working as a marketing executive for IBM.
More recently, Humphreys said, he is a “music enabler. I don’t perform music as much as I did, but I help make it available.” He runs his own music production business, booking gigs, lining up bands, and managing festivals. Much of what he does results from the vast network of admirers he has amassed.
When Humphreys moved to Oak Trace in 2017, he was already familiar and favorably impressed with the community. His mother had been the first resident to move to what was then known as Fairview Village when it was built in 1994, and she in fact appears in a photo of the groundbreaking.
Initially, Dave said, Oak Trace was just a place for him to live in between traveling for his music business. “I met many wonderful people, but I am still very busy elsewhere.” He said he has gradually become more involved within the retirement community. “Unofficially, I did some things here, and people started to get to know me.”
Oak Trace is a non-profit organization. One of Humphrey’s endeavors is to energize their Foundation, which provides benevolent care, team member emergency funds, scholarships, and more. He is the chairperson of a committee focused on this program.
He is also a marketing ambassador, meeting prospective residents and testifying to the “care-free lifestyle at Oak Trace. I love this place and can help people make the great decision to move here.”
Recently, he traveled to Dallas to represent his fellow residents at a board of directors meeting for Lifespace Communities, which owns and operates Oak Trace. “It was so evident that the leadership really cares about their residents. The people I met were not exceptions. I remember thinking, ‘Boy, am I in the right place living at Oak Trace!’” He added, “This is an amazing organization. I feel very comfortable spending the rest of my life here.”