Remembering David Lifton

PDX Jazz volunteer David Lifton at a "Jazz in the Schools" presentation.

It is with a very heavy heart that I write of the sudden passing of one of our most cherished volunteers, David Lifton.

I didn’t know David nearly well enough, and only long enough to know he was enjoying his new-found retirement after a long career as a teacher in Portland Public Schools, and that for 30 years he hosted “Jazz in the Afternoon” on alternate Wednesdays on KBOO and also serving for a time as program director.


David came to us recently when he heard about our “Jazz in the Schools” program, volunteering to help me teach children our jazz history program.  He eagerly participated in the classrooms of Astor Middle School and Rosa Parks Elementary, demonstrating great intelligence about the subject matter and kindness with the children. Just two weeks ago we visited Astor and talked with the students about their work, and looked forward to teaching together at Lincoln High School in early January.

I had really hoped to work with David for many years in the future, not only on “Jazz in the Schools,” but, selfishly, because I felt we had great potential to be friends in retirement together.


KBOO will be honoring David on Wednesday, December 30, from noon to 4pm, with a musical memorial tribute. They are inviting anyone who knew David to stop by and talk about him and bring a tune that David would have liked, or that reminds that person of him.

Portland lost a wonderful soul.

The photos above are of David during our recent Jazz in the Schools presentation to students at Rosa Parks Elementary.