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, Miatthew 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 soccasional gigs later, in Augusta.
He dabbled in cartooning, creating a “Dr. Dave” personna and alter-ego and, though unpublished, some genuinely
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
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 middle name.
David 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 them, beloved.
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,
David Reuben Albizu Zwickel, “ˇPresente!”
Brother, Daniel Zwickel ben Avram,
18 July, 2002