The KAEF Advisory Committee and American Councils for International Education are deeply saddened by the death of David J. Gotaas on May 23, 2015. A tireless advocate on behalf of Kosovo and its people, David was instrumental in the creation and ongoing operation of the KAEF Scholarship fund. Davidâ€™s commitment to Kosovo, his personal interest in the lives and successes of KAEF fellows, and his ability to engage others in the cause of Kosovoâ€™s development with energy, intelligence, insight, and great personal drive made him an inspiration for many of his fellow KAEF-committee members and colleagues. He will be deeply missed and always remembered.
Read the full obituary below:
"David John Gotaas, 64, passed away May 23, 2015. Born in Chicago to Lois and David S. Gotaas on March 2, 1951, David was raised a missionary child in Venezuela until his family returned to the Chicago area where David attended New Trier High School (1968), Wheaton College (BA, Economics, 1972) and Northwestern University (MBA, 1974).
Although he began his career as a Certified Public Accountant, David was an entrepreneur at heart, and gladly traded corporate pursuits for self-made ventures in real estate, which he viewed as both business and ministry.
In 1978, David married the love of his life and best friend, Sally Slingerland, who attended Winnetka Bible Church where his father pastored. David and Sally settled in Northbrook where they raised four daughters. David's childhood on the mission field marked him with a passion to serve others around the world. An active member of the Winnetka Rotary Club, David helped initiate the first Rotary Club in the country of Kosovo in 2005. David's involvement in Kosovo also included service on the Advisory Board for the Kosovo American Education Fund and the Board of Trustees for the American Councils for International Education.
David's travels brought him not only to Kosovo, but to over 80 countries around the world. A member of the Circumnavigators Club of Chicago, David's favorite travel destinations were far from the typical tourist trail (including recent trips to Myanmar and Bangladesh), where he purposefully sought out the humblest accommodations to connect with locals and practice simplicity. Despite the breadth of his adventures, perhaps his favorite destination was Yosemite National Park, where he enjoyed bringing anyone willing to keep up with him.
Wherever he traveled, David was known to share his adventures via postcards to family, friends and acquaintances. David will be remembered for his passionate love for Jesus Christ, love for family, integrity, thoughtfulness and generosity.
He is survived by his wife, Sally, and his four daughters: Anne (Ryan) Cudney, Kathryn (Blake) Hanson, Mary (Justin) Nanfelt and Laura (David) Sneddon. In his final years, perhaps David's greatest joy was his grandchildren: Nathan, Nora, Kate, Silas and a fifth due in September.
A memorial service is planned for 10:00 AM on Saturday, May 30, at Winnetka Bible Church, 555 Birch St, Winnetka, IL. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests funding for David's most recent philanthropic project: the printing of 25,000 Bibles in the Hakha Chin dialect for the people of the Chin State of Myanmar. If interested, please send donations to the Christian Far East Ministry, P.O. Box 1411, Glendora, CA 91740 or visit the website http://cfeasia.webs.com/donate."