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.

     He 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 Dave” persona and alter-ego and, though unpublished, some genuinely funny writing.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 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, “ˇPresente!”

     David Reuben Albizu Zwickel,  “ˇPresente!” 

Brother, Daniel Zwickel ben Avram
Pittsburg-On-the-Delta, California 
18 July, 2002