David P. Woodmansee of Old Saybrook passed away on September 12, 2019, after a courageous battle against cancer. He was 58. Dave died surrounded by family. He spent the final weeks of his life enjoying the company of his family and visits from dozens of friends from his youth, his work and his community.
Although Dave’s personal battle with his own cancer lasted nearly two years, Dave fought cancer for more than 30 years in various positions for the American Cancer Society and the Cancer Action Network, the advocacy affiliate of the ACS. Most recently, Dave served as the director of state and local campaigns, advocating for the adoption of laws across the United States aimed at reducing cancer, helping patients get access to better care, requiring insurers to cover more treatment options and educating the public, health care professionals and legislators on the importance of palliative care. As Dave summed it up. “We’re just trying to get to the point where the doctors and the patients can make the best medical decisions.”
Dave was active in his community, including volunteering as a Little League baseball coach and umpire in Montville and Old Saybrook for many years. He was a communicant of St. John’s Catholic Church in Old Saybrook. An avid golfer, Dave was a longtime member of the men’s golf league of the Fenwick Golf Course in Old Saybrook. He also was a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Bernard High School, from which he graduated in 1978. Dave was a member of the 1977 team which won the state championship in baseball. Dave went on to graduate with a B.A. in Communications and an MBA in Management/Marketing from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, New York, where he met his wife Kristen (Gerthoffer) Woodmansee. Dave and Kristen married in Syracuse in 1990. They moved to Old Saybrook in 1994.
He joined the ACS in 1989 as Executive Director of the Eastern Connecticut Regional office and was instrumental in changing the lives of countless thousands of cancer patients, their families and their medical teams. In 1991, he was named Vice-President of Communications and Public Issues for the Connecticut Division. In that role, he led efforts to pass the first law in the country to ban the insurance practice of “drive- thru mastectomies” where a women entered the hospital in the morning, underwent a mastectomy, and was discharged later the same day. Dave also worked tirelessly to ban smoking in restaurants and public places and to reduce the access youths have to cigarettes.
In 2000, he joined the National Government Relations Office in Washington, DC (now ACS CAN), as Regional Advocacy Manager assisting the six New England states, New York and New Jersey with their state advocacy agendas. In 2004, he began working with all 50 states, providing technical expertise regarding a variety of access issues including pain/opioids, palliative care, drug affordability along with insurance coverage for cancer screenings and treatments. In 2010, he was tasked with leading ACS CAN efforts in the states regarding all facets of implementation of the Affordable Care Act including Medicaid expansion. In his final role as Director of State and Local Campaigns, he provided supervision, direction and guidance to all members of the ACS CAN Access to Care team and personally focused on Quality of Life issues such as Palliative Care and opioid availability for the management of pain in cancer patients and cancer survivors. In 2015, the ACS recognized Dave with its Alan Mills Award, the organization’s highest honor for a member of its CAN advocacy staff.
Dave was born November 23, 1960 in Norwich. He was preceded in death by his mother, Annette Woodmansee. In addition to his wife Kristen, Dave is survived by his father, Donald, Sr., his six younger brothers (Peter of Stuttgart, Germany, Paul of Bedford, NH, Bart of Storrs-Mansfield, CT, John of Lebanon, CT, Donald, Jr. of Del Mar, CA and Mark of San Diego, CA), as well as 20 nieces and nephews, in-laws, cousins, uncles, aunts and far too many close friends to count.
Visiting hours will be held on September 18, 2019 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Swan Funeral Home on 1224 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John’s Catholic Church, 161 Main Street, Old Saybrook on September 19, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dave’s name to the American Cancer Society.