David Herman

Obituary of David Louis Herman

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David Louis Herman, 94, of Los Angeles, California, passed away on December 27, 2023, in Culver City. A private service for the family will be held at Oakwood Memorial Park, in Santa Cruz, on Friday, Jan 12, 2024. David Herman was born in Dallas, Texas, to Aaron Joseph Herman and Freda Bernstein on Feb 22, 1929. He was the baby of the family’s six children (Sam, Ann, Saul, Ida Ray, Clara), 12 years younger than his next older sibling Clara. His mother’s father, Rabbi David L. Bernstein, was brought over from Krasnopol, Poland, in 1906 by the Orthodox congregation of Tiferet Israel to serve as one of the first rabbis in Dallas. David was brought up in the Orthodox tradition and also attended a Reform Sunday School and Conservative Hebrew School. During his childhood the Hermans were not well off but kept their small family bakery going during the Depression. They valued education, and David, with his keen intelligence, excelled in school. He also played clarinet and was drum major of his high school band. In 1950 he earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After two years of graduate coursework in applied math at the University of Texas, Austin, he served in the U.S. Air Force as a weather officer and meteorologist, advancing to the rank of 1st Lieutenant and earning a National Defense Service Medal. In the early 1950s the Air Force sent him to UCLA for meteorology coursework. David became enamored with the Los Angeles weather and lifestyle, settling there soon after. With his math and science background David was a natural fit for the budding southern California aerospace industry. In the late 1950s he was one of only a few hundred people who made up the first generation of computer programmers, becoming adept at FORTRAN and COBOL among other languages. He particularly enjoyed working at System Development Corporation in the 1960s and making a significant contribution to the navigation systems used on NASA moon flights. He continued working in aerospace up until retirement, picking up a Masters in Systems Analysis at West Coast University along the way. David met the love of his life, Betty Downin, in 1963 at an international folk dancing class. Betty spotted him across the room and asked him to dance during “ladies choice” and that was it. They married April 25, 1964 at Betty’s sister’s home, and then again the next year at a Jewish ceremony organized by Clara. Betty was not Jewish but when David finally told his mother about her, she said “Whatever you do, don’t let that girl go!”, advice he clearly took to heart. In 1965 the couple moved into their little yellow house on Marine St. in Mar Vista, where they lived very happily together for over 58 years. Their only child Janet, David’s pride and joy, was born in 1966. When we think about David we remember his kindness, gentleness, integrity, and intelligence. Even in his 90s he could recite Shakespeare, relay the history of Europe, solve abstract math problems in his head, and recall the plot lines of novels he had read years before. He was quiet but could often sum up a situation in a funny one-liner. An astute observer of human nature, David delighted in getting to know other people and sharing their stories. He and Betty loved the arts and were always going to concerts, plays, museum exhibits, and other cultural events. In fact he attended every concert Betty ever performed in (and there were many!) and everything he could that Janet did as well. For many years he and Betty also attended stimulating classes through the Santa Monica College Emeritus program. They enjoyed many trips together, as well, starting with Mexico, that included visits to Montreal, the East Coast, the West Coast, and so many places in between. Through life’s challenges David was resilient. Having grown up during the War years and having seen a lot in his long life, he was realistic about the world and human folly, but told himself and those he loved to stay positive. "Otherwise what are we doing here?” he would ask. Above all David was devoted to his family. He especially enjoyed visiting with Janet and son-in-law Galt Barber and his beloved grandkids Conall Barber and Tadhg Barber. We loved David so much and will miss him forever. Memorial donations may be made to Santa Monica College Emeritus Donate to Emeritus - Santa Monica College (smc.edu)
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David Herman

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David Herman

1929 - 2023

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