David Talevi was the kind of person who liked to try a lot of new things.

But unlike most people with that trait, he’d master a new skill or interest before moving on.

Mr. Talevi, who died at his home Friday, was an engineer, a campground owner, a pizza-maker, a builder, an Eagle Scout and a black belt in karate during his 67 years.

Just a few weeks ago, he decided to take up long-distance bike riding and finished in the top 10 in his first road race, a 100-kilometer trek around Kennebunk.

“He was like a Renaissance man,” said his son, Jason Talevi. “He liked to learn something new and never stopped learning.”

Mr. Talevi learned early how to overcome adversity, his son said, contracting Guillain-Barre syndrome at age 15 that paralyzed him for a year. He recovered and went on to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.

After going to college for engineering, Mr. Talevi went to work for Pratt & Whitney. But he also liked the idea of owning a campground so he could spend more time with his family. He eventually opened Sea-Vu campground in Wells and the family would add two more campgrounds.

Mr. Talevi used the campgrounds to raise money for charities — first the Muscular Dystrophy Association and more recently, the American Cancer Society. Jason Talevi said the campgrounds raised more than $20,000 for cancer research last year alone, with games, auctions and barbecues.

Mr. Talevi took a trip to Italy a few years ago and became intrigued with the pizzas he found in Tuscany. So he built a pizzeria at the campground and a wood-fired pizza oven and started cooking himself. He constructed the building himself, using Italian techniques for the stucco and tile roof.

He was going to build a new house next to the pizzeria, his son said — an Italian villa. He had just finished learning some green building techniques to make the house eco-friendly.

“Basically, he was educating the architects,” Jason Talevi said.

The bike riding was inspired by Mr. Talevi’s interest in the Tour de France. He decided to enter the Kennebunk race to prepare himself for a trip to Italy next year in which he planned to spend three weeks biking around the country.

Mr. Talevi’s sister Lori Ferreira said a story from about 30 years ago seemed to capture the way her brother could accomplish something important, even without setting out to do so.

He was driving from Maine to Connecticut and, unbeknownst to him, his other sister was also traveling, from New Hampshire to Connecticut. It was in the middle of a snowstorm and the sister, with her three children, a goldfish and a cat, had slid off the road. With no cell phone, she was unable to call for help.

By the time that Mr. Talevi went by, the car was almost covered with snow, but he happened to glance over and catch sight of his sister and was able to save the family from a long, cold wait for help in the dark.

“He stopped, and he even got the cat and the goldfish,” Ferreira said.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]