David Gold

Date of Birth

June 2, 1924

Date of Death

January 23, 2017

David Gold (no middle name) was born in Centerville, Iowa, a small, mid-western, coal town with a surprisingly vibrant little Jewish community. He was raised in a kosher household by two Russian/Polish Jewish immigrants fleeing the pogroms sweeping Eastern Europe. His father ran a general store and his mother ran the house.

David was a bit of a child prodigy with his mother convincing the 1st grade teacher that although he was only four years old he could read fluently and was ready for school. He entered school early and proceeded to skip two grades becoming the first person in his high school to receive a scholarship to Harvard. He didn’t go as his father thought it was too expensive and too far away but that is another story. A Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Iowa had to suffice.

David enlisted during WWII as a first lieutenant in the newly formed US Air Corps where he commanded a small communications base in what was then known as Burma and flew 53 missions over “the hump” (the Himalayas) into China supporting Chiang Kai-Shek. At one point with his base surrounded by Japanese soldiers and fearing death he decided if he made it home alive he would “try to change this crazy world” and what else does someone do when they want to change the world but become a Sociology professor. Students at the University of Iowa, the University of California Berkeley and finally the University of California Santa Barbara all were subjected to what his three surviving sons fondly called the kitchen table lectures for almost 30 years. Statistics, Public Opinion, and the Media were his subjects of choice.

David is survived by his three sons; Jeremy, James and Jeth; their wife’s Calla, Robin, and Susan; and three grandsons; Daniel, Alex, and Brennan. He lost his first wife (Judith) to an accident and is survived by his second wife JanClaire Elliott and her three sons; Ron, Markus and Gregory Hamm.

David Gold died at the age of 92 living in his house, sitting in his chair, doing the cross words, yelling at Trump as Rachel Maddow unraveled his newest executive orders. No pain, no hospital, not a lot of regrets, doing what he wanted. We celebrate our father for teaching us about community and how to “try to save this crazy world”.


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