CLINTON — He has a passion for fishing, and he knows the Mississippi like the back of his hand.

He’s a siding expert, and knows more about siding a house than most folks can fathom.

He’s got a nickname we can’t print in the paper.

Most importantly, he’s got family, friends and doctors willing to do whatever it takes to help him get to Christmas.

That’s because Dave Schultz, 53, has cancer of the brain, the lungs and the colon.

Schultz, a Clinton High grad, has worked for 30 years for Darryl Blinkinsop, siding homes throughout Clinton.

“Nobody’s as good as Uncle Dave,” boasts his proud niece, Dawn Luett, of Goose Lake.

Schultz’s sister, Mary Grinnall, of Clinton, says her brother first noticed he was having some congestion problems last fall. At first he thought it was simply due to working outside all day — tradesmen always have their share of aches and pains, and Dave is no different.

He went to the doctor, and they diagnosed him with bronchitis. That was last November. By this spring, though, Schultz wasn’t feeling any better, so he took a trip out to Iowa City to see the doctors out there.

After one blood test, the staff knew something was definitely wrong, so they started a series of tests on Schultz. The first day, they diagnosed he had lung cancer. The second day, colon cancer. And the third day, brain cancer.

Incredibly, Schultz came home to Clinton and didn’t share a word of his plight with anyone for days, says Mary. “He didn’t say anything to us until he’d had time to process the whole thing himself.”

“The kids are taking it hard,” continues Mary, “Jessica and Clint are grown, but Amber’s only 13.”

And Dave appears to be giving it his all for his kids. He’s undergone radiation for his brain cancer. He’s home now, recuperating from colon surgery a week ago in Iowa City. And when he’s ready, he’ll start chemotherapy.

“One more Christmas,” Schultz recently said to his sister. That’s what he wants most.

“It’s hard to help him,” says Mary. “He’s ornery and stubborn (hence his unprintable nickname), and he likes to be self-sufficient.”

“And he’s definitely not one to complain,” says Dawn, both women adding Schultz is quite the outdoorsman, and likes to put on a feisty front.

“When he was being wheeled into surgery last week, he turned to his surgeon, who he knew was scheduled to have some type of operation himself, and cracked, ”I sure ... hope you’re not scheduled to have surgery on your eyes, doc.”

All the kidding and false bravado aside, Schultz obviously cares a great deal about his family.

His finances are tight, but he doesn’t want his family left with any financial burden — a difficult situation for a guy who refuses to ask for help.

When asked if he was aware his siblings were holding a benefit for him, Mary said, “All Dave said was ’I’ve seen those flyers all over town.’” And he did quietly voice his appreciation to his sister.

So there’s a benefit coming up for Schultz. And it’s a pretty sure bet to be filled with people who’ve grown fond of the guy with the ornery nature and the unmentionable nickname who lives for fishing.

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