David Wenning, a champion of the USPA Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) Program, passed away unexpectedly on November 23, 2019, at the age of 64 in Ithaca, New York, doing what he loved most – supporting polo’s youth. He sacrificed immensely and unselfishly for the good of the sport, the horses, and student athletes.
David was born August 10, 1955 in Springfield, Massachusetts, to William and Barbara Wenning. After his schooling at Longmeadow High in 1973, he graduated from Western New England University in 1977 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government before working for National Cash Register (NCR). Over the course of his career, primarily in Sales Management, he worked for a number of technology companies, most notably Apple, Palm Computing and TomTom. An enthusiastic storyteller, David enjoyed sailing with family and friends and spending time over the years on Cape Cod. A fondness for all creatures big and small, he would often take long walks with his rescue dogs.
Although he found enjoyment in his studies and work, he found love in Sue, his wife of 38 years, and together they had two wonderful children, Mike and Kristen. A devoted father, David had a deep passion for I/I polo that began when his children started in the sport. David truly understood the value of the I/I program because of his kids who competed at both the interscholastic level for Shallowbrook and the intercollegiate level; Mike at the University of Connecticut and Kristen at Colorado State University. David decided to share his children’s pursuit and began playing polo in 2001 at Shallowbrook Polo Club in Somers, Connecticut under Hal Vita. Quickly becoming a lifelong promoter for the sport, he was recruited to be a member of the Northeastern Regional Host Tournament Committee in 2010, and later in 2015 was appointed the distinguished position of I/I Chairman.
“The first word that comes to mind when remembering David is passion,” said Amy Fraser Director of Intercollegiate/Interscholastic Polo. “David spent countless hours devoting his time and volunteering his expertise to the I/I program. He traveled coast to coast, year-round, attending as many events, and meeting as many of the players and parents, that he could. For David it was all about the community, inclusion and working together to develop the student athlete. Everything he did, he did with the players and horses’ best interest in mind, while leading the program with integrity and fairness. He had an infectious joy that he brought with him to events, because it was equally important to him that everyone was doing this ‘because it is fun.’”
As a dedicated leader and supporter of I/I polo and the USPA as a whole, David elicited the respect of his staff and the USPA Board while advocating for programs close to his heart, such as equine welfare and polo’s youth. Exceedingly passionate, he will be remembered for his incredible strength of character and unquestioned sense of fairness for all matters in regards to student athletes. The Middle School League was especially important to David as he was a firm believer in starting players at a young age with structured and organized polo. A great sense of humor and a warm personality, his passion for people was tangible and he led by example with his total commitment to the program. However, his truest legacy is his impact to empower people to believe in themselves. His memory will live on in each and every one of the lives he touched.
It is said that a man’s measure lies not in his own height, but in how he lifts others, his worth lies not in his finances, but in how he enriches the lives of those around him, and his wisdom lies not in the degrees on the wall, but in how others could learn from his example. If this is so, to those who knew him and loved him, David is among the tallest, richest and wisest.
David is survived by his loving wife, Susan (Rougeau) Wenning, and two children; a son, Michael and his girlfriend, Brittany of Lebanon, Connecticut, and his daughter, Kristen; and his brother Billy and his wife, Marcy of Ashburnham, Massachusetts. Family and Friends are invited to gather Saturday, November 30, 2019, from 1:00-3:00pm ET in the Forastiere Smith Funeral Home, 220 North Main Street, East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. A memorial service will follow at 3:00pm. Friends and relatives are invited immediately following to Cedar Knob Golf Course (446 Billings Road, Somers, Connecticut 06071) for a time of fellowship and refreshments. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may donate in David’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverly Oaks Road, Waltham Massachusetts 02452, or to the Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM), 217 South Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02453. To leave a message of personal condolence or for more information, please visit www.forastiere.com.SHALLOWBROOK POLO CLUB