Dave Hall Is Gone

On October 12th of 2020, our good friend and co-founder of Paleo Treats Dave Hall took his own life. 

I'm still processing it, and probably will for years to come. Dave was an intense dude, a cool headed warrior, the kind of guy you wanted around when things got seriously sideways. 

Dave moved in with Lee and I back in '09 when he came out here from the East Coast. He brought with him his Dutch Shephard named Draco who many of us joked was the canine version of Dave: Intense, athletic, and without remorse for weakness.

With our two dogs Birdie & Norton, Lee, Dave, Draco, and I lived together as our own little wolf pack in our tiny San Diego home for 6 or 7 months while he was house hunting.  

During that time we started Paleo Treats, Dave and I walked our dogs daily in the canyons around our house, worked together at a "real job", and discussed life, the Universe, his post-Navy career (he got out in '11), what he wanted to do, and what he'd done already.

Dave was a Navy SEAL who'd served in both peacetime and war, joining in 1991 and retiring in 2011. In '03 he underwent an rigorous assessment and selection program, culminating in being accepted into a Special Operations unit that gave him the opportunity and experience to do everything he'd dreamed about as a young man wanting to be an elite warrior.

There is no such thing as Jason Bourne, but Dave was about as close as you'll come.

Dave introduced us to Paleo; he was the reason we started the company. He was so insufferable about pointing out every aspect of our non-Paleo diet that we finally just said, "Fuck it, Dave. We'll eat what you want to eat."  

We did, it worked amazingly well for us, and filling the vacuum of dessert has given us joy and challenge and fulfillment in equal measure. It is a gift both Lee & I will treasure for the rest of our lives.

Dave left Paleo Treats after 2 years; selling cookies on the internet couldn't hold a candle to security contracting overseas for pay or excitement.

Still, we stayed in touch. I saw him almost every time he came back from his contracts. We went dirt biking, shooting, lobster hunting, and running up mountains carrying boulders together.

We explored abandoned mines, took his stepson on overnight camping trips, shared meals (mostly sushi), bought Bitcoin, and caught up on the radically different worlds of selling cookies and contracting overseas.

He was working on re-igniting his inner artist and had plans to collaborate on a piece with Lee & Carla (the artist duo "Manrabbit.)  

He was well loved but also deeply tormented. He'd experienced tragedy and trauma on the level of one of his favorite author's tales (Cormac McCarthy), and while he managed it well, it was too much for him to bear.

I don't know what you say to all that.  

While I've got my hypotheses, I don't know why he decided to kill himself. He left behind more friends than he realized.

So, what can you do?  Nothing brings Dave back, so we can only look forward.

Stay well connected to your tribe. Call 'em, text 'em, tell 'em you love them at every opportunity. Family, friends, acquaintances, business partners; whatever.  

 Keep in touch, make sure they know how important and awesome they are, and relish every moment you have with 'em.

Live this life to the fullest. Squeeze out every opportunity, scrape out the marrow, let the juices of life run down your chin, don't worry about staining your shirt, and enjoy every last experience. 

The time we have is precious in ways too few of us seem to appreciate.

Remember to appreciate every experience you have among the living; the warmth of a morning coffee, the chill of an ocean dip, the feel of a good friend's hug, even the anger or sadness that come with a well lived life.

I'll leave you with a very old blog post, from way back in '09 when we were still introducing ourselves to the world. Yep, that's Dave starting the PCT with Draco.

Nik Hawks


Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!

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