In Memoriam: David Rocovits

David Rocovits, a long-time board member of VFVP-USA, a.k.a. the U.S. Committee, passed away suddenly on January 5, 2013, of difficulties related to a blood clot. He was a good friend to the Viet Nam Friendship Village—a frequent visitor and one of its most dedicated supporters. He will be greatly missed.

David’s brother Dan has resided in Hanoi for many years, and after being introduced to the VFV on a visit to the city in the early 2000s, David made a point of visiting every time he came to Viet Nam, usually every year or two. He was invited to join VFVP-USA’s Board of Directors in 2007, and in 2010 he attended the biennial international meeting at the Friendship Village as the U.S. Committee’s official representative. Over the years, David documented life at the village with his photographs, many of which have been published in our newsletters and on our website. He was a creative fundraiser and brought in a large share of the contributions raised in the USA. Here is the bio Dave submitted several years ago for our Board of Directors web page:

David Rocovits received a BS in Civil Engineering in 1963 from Case Institute of Technology and has been a practicing engineer in Nevada since 1973. He was drafted into the army and served from 1964 to 1966 as a research engineer in nuclear weapons effects. Between 1968 and 1972 he backpacked throughout much of the remote region of Asia from Turkey to Taiwan, and developed a love and respect for the Asian people and their culture. He worked for the California Division of Highways and several consulting firms before going into business for himself, acquiring and restoring residential buildings and managing them as rental properties. Dave and his wife Amy, a native of Taiwan, have a daughter who is an attorney in Reno and a son who is a college student. Dave’s hobbies include photography, pistol shooting, and restoration of Borgward automobiles. Dave has visited the Friendship Village multiple times and enlisted many of his friends, family members and associates in his efforts to raise financial support for the project.

The Rocovits family asks that memorial donations be made to the Viet Nam Friendship Village. Checks should be made to “Vietnam Friendship Village Project USA” and mailed to P.O. Box 599, Arcata, CA 95518-0599.

NOTE: Below is a small gallery of photographs of David Rocovits, taken (with his camera) at the Friendship Village in 2008, 2010, and 2011. The solo pic is from 2010 when he represented our committee at the international meeting, as is the photo of him and Paul Wicker sitting on the bench that was arranged by Dave to memorialize Don Flaxman, a VFVP-USA board member who passed away earlier that year. Dave preferred eating alongside the children in their dining hall rather than in the guesthouse dining room. Of all our board members, Dave was the least “political” in terms of identifying as a “peace activist” or working for peace or against war in any organized way, but he really understood the importance of reconciliation. He always made a point of visiting with groups of veterans who happened to be at the village during the times he was there (with the help of an interpreter). I think part of his motivation was simply cultural exchange. He probably brought along the small photo album of his travels—the same one he shared with me when we were getting to know each other. But he undoubtedly also meant to create more positive perceptions of Americans in the minds of a number of these Vietnamese veterans, and in that I have no doubt he succeeded.

4 thoughts on “In Memoriam: David Rocovits

  1. Judy Moss

    RIP Dave and thank you for all that you have done to help the children and veterans of Vietnam. My heart goes out to the Rocovits family, so sorry for your loss, a loss for us all!

  2. George Ormsby

    Dave hustled me around in his numerous Borgwards in California and Nevada on my visits from Toronto, and I had him talking about the Village and what it should mean for all of us as a reconciliation.One of his early attendances on the director’s meetings was from our house when he and Amy visited here.
    We should think of the example he set for us all to follow as we interact with all those around us. It is unfortunate he left us so soon, but the memories will not leave soon. George Ormsby.

  3. Long

    I read an article about sharing with the world.”I know there are more great things in this world.”
    He can come to us and we made ​​him change (the children in village friendship Vietnam).
    He welcomed the children of this world. The children whom he loved to hear his death, we will lose the smile and his warm embrace.
    I am very sad to share with his family, his wife and son and daughter.
    He completed his work.

  4. Jerry Hattrick

    I too had a fortunate experience with David and his Borgwards (I actually got to drive one). He was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met.But, moreover, he set an example for me, and I can only hope I can be a portion of the man that he was. Thank you for the kindness, the hospitality, and the wisdom that you gave to me in such a short time. It has always been hard for me to develop bonds with people, but the news of your passing does bring me sadness, but I still remain grateful for the hospitality that your family offered. Again, thank you for the kindness, the hospitality, and the wisdom that you gave to me. I pray that your family is doing well, and will continue to do so. RIP. You did great work, even with people you didn’t know so well.


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