David F. Ilten

Laura Sprague ’88 penned a remembrance:

David IltenIt is with great sadness that I write to share that David Ilten passed away on Easter Saturday after a brief illness. For decades and until his death, he was the president of the Yale Club of Germany, so when I first arrived in Frankfurt in 1992, he was the one who sent the postcard inviting me to my first “Stammtisch.” At the gathering, David mentioned that he was Class of 60, same as my dad (Stuart Seely Sprague, SM ’60), so our connection was immediate. When David found out I had a brother (later Yale ’97) the same age as his middle son, he suggested setting up a family exchange. That’s how he was — immediately open, curious about the other person’s life, and with the ability to see connections and possibilities everywhere! David was not only the face of the Yale Club of Germany for almost 40 years, he was a member of the AYA Board of Governors and our delegate at many AYA meetings in New Haven. He organized concerts for singing groups on tour and would return from New Haven with heavy volumes of the Yale Shakespeare to award to deserving high school students and libraries in Germany. When I met him, he was a chemist at DECHEMA (before that he worked for IBM and Control Data), but even after retirement, he taught at Frankfurt University, and of course he always made time to see his sons living in Jena (Paul), Hamburg (Stephan), and Bad Vilbel (Eric); relatives in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa; and far-flung friends everywhere. His wonderful bass voice and laugh will be sorely missed, not just at the Yale Club but at Trinity Lutheran Church, where he sang in both the concert and church choirs and was a reader until just a few weeks before his death.