My brother, David Reuben, passed away from a pulmonary
embolism in Augusta, Georgia, just two days after
September 11th. He is survived by myself, his
wife, Kathryn Ann, his daughter, Karen Elizabeth and
his two granddaughters, Megan Ashley & Kristen
Marie, and his grandson, Matthew David Dean Brown.
My brother did not lead a remarkable life, at least
by the artificial criteria by which society measures
success. He never achieved stature in any
particular field, working common jobs, as a driver
for Coca Cola, and in pest control.
But he enjoyed his work
with Coca Cola, particularly the camaraderie, and
took pride in what he did. And if the measure
of one’s life lies in the depth of love one
engenders, then his was remarkable, indeed, for his
family and friends love and miss him desperately.
He lived a troubled life, as bi-polar, suffering
from severe depression, compounded by growing up in
a pacifist, vegetarian family in a society
intolerant at best, even hostile toward both.
Seeking to ‘fit in’, he ate as he pleased (and as
pleased others) and ended up as a sailor on the USS
Forrestal during the Vietnam war, luckily surviving
the conflagration that nearly sank her.
Come to think of it, he did distinguish himself
there in at least a couple of ways. As a radio
host and DJ on the Forrestal, he developed a
distinctive and professional ‘radio voice’ which led
him to occasional gigs later, in Augusta.
dabbled in cartooning, creating a “Dr. Dave” persona
and alter-ego and, though unpublished, some
genuinely funny writing.
He loved music, played a little clarinet (actually,
it was a regular size clarinet – sorry, old musician
joke), was particularly fond of Sinatra (his brother
sharing a birth date with The King, he chose to
follow the Chairman of the Board.)
David was proud of our family’s historical
connection with the great Puerto Rican independence
leader, Don Pedro Albizu Campos, and of the fact
that Don Pedro, personally, blessed him. And
so David informally adopted Albizu as an ancillary
is a Hebrew name meaning ‘beloved’. The joke
goes that Davids spend their entire lives mocking
their appelation and trying those who try to love
them and, like all of us, David could make us work
at loving him. But he was David.
He created and nurtured a family and lives in
I do not know, though suspect, that David bore some
traumatic, personal tragedy from his
childhood. He seemed beset by more devils than
his bi-polarity might have accounted for. His
outward cheerfulness belied an inner sadness.
Without getting into the metaphysical, I cannot say,
though, again, I suspect, that my brother, in his
abiding compassion, was deeply wounded by the events
of September 11th. Perhaps life simply became
more than he could bear and if we do indeed choose
our own death, even through ‘natural causes’,
perhaps David’s inner self chose to leave this world
at that time.
He is beyond pain, beyond care but deeply, deeply
loved and sorely missed by we who survive him.
There is a strong Latin American political
connection in this social activist family and there
is a tradition among that culture of honoring those
not present by evoking their name, calling,
Reuben Albizu Zwickel, “ˇPresente!”
Zwickel ben Avram,
18 July, 2002