David Landon Schaible, youngest of five children, was born to Walter and Helen Schaible on March 1, 1948 in Hyde Park on Chicago’s south side. Born on a leap year, he narrowly missed the infamy and infrequent birthdays associated with being born on February 29. When he was 14, he traveled with his family from Chicago to Seattle for the 1962 World’s Fair, and was favorably impressed.
In 1967 as a rebellious youth, David was arrested for possession of LSD and marijuana and spent a year incarcerated in Cooke County jail. David was the first person in the state of Illinois to ever serve time for LSD possession and his time in prison helped shape his political and anti-authoritarian views. As a young adult, David was drawn back to Seattle and the counter-culture zeitgeist coming from the west coast and in 1970 David relocated from Chicago to Seattle. Seattle would become his home city for the remainder of his life.
In Seattle, David became active with the anti-war movement. He also began working as a Union scaler at the former Lockheed Martin Shipyards in Elliott Bay. When he could, David enjoyed driving his van south and embarking on road trips through Mexico and Central America. His love for Mexican culture became the inspiration for a business venture; David decided he would take his shipyard savings and purchase crafts and clothing in Mexico for resale in the U.S. This simple idea gave rise to El Gringo Imports, a business that David began at the Pike Place Market in 1973. As a non-craftsperson or farmer, David became one of only a few “grand-fathered”vendors with permission to sell at the Pike Place Market. David was an active member of market politics and a constituent on the market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) council for many years. In 2010 Dave transitioned into partial retirement and allowed his children to begin day-to-day management of El Gringo Imports. At this time, El Gringo Imports was #4 out of over 200 businesses on the seniority list for all vendors at the Market.
In his free time, David enjoyed traveling. Favorite destinations included Ecuador, Hawaii, and road trips through the western National Parks. He was a voracious reader with encyclopedic knowledge of cinema history and he recorded and watched thousands of films, while creating a vast library of movies in his home. Additional hobbies include following Seattle’s professional sports franchises, playing poker, bridge, hearts, backgammon, and daily crossword and Sudoku puzzles, as well as engaging in animated political debate with visitors to his house.
On August 29, David passed away peacefully from complications related to COPD and diabetes. David is survived by his four boys and two grandchildren; Jody Schaible, 39; Danny Schaible, 37; and twins, Peter and Michael Schaible, 33; Lucinda Schaible, 5; and Lazaro Schaible, 1.