August 9, 1966 - January 18, 2022
David Andrew Vieten’s way of seeing the world impacted many - through the art he created, the relationships he cultivated, and the passions he shared. David was born on August 9, 1966 in Redlands, California to his Mom, Jean Winifred Vieten and his Dad, Donald "Pat" Vieten. David grew up in Redlands with his sister Carol and brother Richard, where he loved to explore the local canyons and orange groves. He collected wild creatures in his backyard, traversed many mountain paths with his family, and at the age of nine began spending summers in the red earth of New Mexico at Ghost Ranch, all of which cultivated his deep connection to the natural world. David’s life was full - with work and school, with family and friends, with artistic endeavors and spiritual explorations. Through David’s life he learned how to navigate the dark. He was comfortable and found deep beauty there which only grew his capacity to savor life’s gifts. This orientation to the world, in combination with how deeply he sensed things - from taste, to joy, to pain - allowed him to be a compassionate and trustworthy friend, father, partner, teacher and guide. Wherever David went he shared his gifts of creativity, non-judgmental listening and gentle strength - always pursuing his passions for deep relationship, film, music, horizon, good steak and coffee. After graduating from Redlands High School David began pursuing his passion for film as the manager of a theater in Hollywood where he hosted the premiers for many movies, including Pretty Woman, Arachnophobia and Dark Man. He loved the vibrant film centered life of Hollywood, but left after a few years feeling drawn to forming a tighter knit community. He soon married Cassandra Luben, and they moved to the San Francisco Bay area to pursue their dreams and start a family. In this time David finished a bachelor of arts degree at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University and built his first home - a two story floating home that sits at the end of the pier in Sausalito, California. Through this time David realized his ability to express his artistic vision through building and opened his company, “Form and Rhythm Construction and Design” which he ran for twenty plus years, focusing largely on building, restoring and renovating floating homes in Sausalito. David and Cassi had their daughter, Indigo Loraine Vieten, in 2001, bringing light, inspiration and very blue eyes into the world! Growing the seeds planted in Redlands' back canyons, David began to explore wilderness rites of passage work in the early 2000’s as he lived into his own journey and relationship to the world. He was supported by wisdom and structure passed down through the School of Lost Borders, and rooted in the experience of authentic connection to the natural world. David found nourishment, healing and inspiration in the time he spent participating in and eventually guiding rites of passage experiences. He guided sacred quests for people of all ages in the Ventana Wilderness, the Eastern Sierra, The Piedra Lumbre valley in New Mexico, and eventually on the coast of Maine. The same capacity to see and feel deeply that David brought to his creative endeavors manifested in his life as a quest guide as he created and held space for many to explore and live more fully into themselves and who they hoped to be in the world. Soon after David and Cassi decided to go their separate ways to support their individual and continued growth, David met Julie Barnes while they were both participants in a Sacred Quest guiding apprenticeship. Over time, and with the support of many long walks and listening sessions (to music, the silence and each other), David and Julie’s friendship evolved into a life partnership, grounded in their connection to the natural world and their commitment to supporting themselves and others in opening to the healing and transformation that encounter with the natural world and our most elemental selves can hold. They were married at Casa Del Sol, Ghost Ranch’s contemplative retreat center, on June 14th, 2015. In the coming years David, Julie and Indigo welcomed two new daughters to their family, Finley Jean and Ruah James Barnes-Vieten. Finley was born in 2016, and Ruah in 2019. David was a consistent and loving father to each of his daughters and was filled with intention and silliness in his role as Dad. He passed on his passion for film and music to each of his three daughters, and shared experiences in the natural world with them that will bond them together in their bodies’ memories for the rest of their lives. In 2019 David and Julie decided to start a new life for themselves in Maine so that David could continue to pursue his passion for film, and they could raise their family living close to the land and in the context of an intentional community. David matriculated to Hollins University’s MFA program in film analysis and screenwriting, and the Barnes-Vieten family moved to Wiscasset, Maine where they live on Chewonki Neck, are an integrated part of the Chewonki Foundation’s community, and Julie serves as Dean of Students. David was diagnosed with stage four renal cancer in the Spring of 2020, and lived with vengeance from that time forward. He would not hear the “terminal” part of all of the oncologists’ diagnoses, and for two years worked with every doctor, naturopath and healer he could find to live a full and healthy life for as long as he could. David’s body died on January 18, 2022 at Androscoggin Hospice House with Indigo and Julie by his side, reminding him of how loved he is. In these last three years David embraced Maine, and its winters. He learned to fat tire bike when there was snow, and he explored the rocks and roots that abound here when there wasn’t. He built a hugelkultur garden and learned to grow hops, he continued to love and support his three daughters and Julie, and he excelled in his MFA program. He taught classes on his favorite filmmakers, engaged in meaningful community with his fellow students, and completed a feature length screenplay - a horror film about a young man’s walk with cancer. He created a remarkable last living chapter for himself – and while it ended far too soon, we are in awe of all the gifts he poured out in that time, and the rest of his life. David was a profoundly caring, passionate and loving human. He lived and loved in his body and enjoyed every ounce of life it had to offer him. And now we believe he is well freed from it – we imagine his spirit soaring from coast to coast, visiting the landscapes and communities he loves, through the rainbow cliffs of New Mexico, across the Sierra to Mt. Tam, around the coast of Maine, up to Denali, over to the baths in Japan and up up up to explore the moon, stars and that galaxy far far away. We miss his body immensely, and are grateful for the deep and unending connection we have to his spirit, today and every day. If you would like to honor David’s life there are many ways to do so. We will hold a service for him at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico this summer. Contact Julie Barnes at [email protected] for further information. If you would like to remember David with story or image please share those stories and images with Julie at [email protected] so that she can collect remembrances in books she will create for David’s daughters to know him more fully. If you would like to honor David with a monetary donation please consider contributing to: A College Savings 529 account at Vanguard for Finley and Ruah. To contribute here go to Ugift529.com and enter the girls’ U-Gift Code: T1A-F8N. The account is currently in Finley’s name and will support both Finn and Ru’s future education, dividing them into two accounts in the future if need be. And/Or “The David Vieten Memorial Fund” — A donor advised fund we will use to support film-centered programming at Ghost Ranch and Hollins University. To make a tax deductible donation to this fund use the contribution form found here , and follow the mail-in instructions on the form. Reach out to Julie or Fidelity Charitable if you have any questions or would like to learn more.
David Andrew Vieten’s way of seeing the world impacted many - through the art he created, the relationships he cultivated, and the passions he shared. David was born on August 9, 1966 in Redlands, California to his Mom, Jean Winifred... View Obituary & Service Information
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