Dear fellow paddlers,

It is with heavy heart that I share with you that we have lost our beloved volunteer, David Joseph Bernstein.

On May 1st, 2020 he passed from COVID-19 after being hospitalized for weeks. He is survived by his wife, Paula, also a dedicated volunteer, and their two sons, Jacob and Raphael. He enjoyed fishing, biking and kayaking, and liked crossword puzzles and math problems. He was devoted to the arts and activism. David was a teacher, actor, director, producer, activist, he founded and built a number of theaters in Michigan—the Attic Theater in Detroit and The Performance Network of Ann Arbor. He was an early member of Students for a Democratic Society and was arrested and jailed for participating in the first draft board sit-in in 1965 in protest of the Vietnam War. His activism continued supporting workers, especially at the University of Minnesota. And his most recent years were spent with our boathouse, both on the water and behind the scenes.

We had the pleasure of meeting and knowing his gentle and strong soul. His dedication to helping for a greater cause was a force to be reckoned with. I ask you to join me in holding your memories of David close to your heart. He was often the greeting face at our sign-in table, explaining our program to the hundreds of new and revisiting paddlers. He was deeply compassionate and thoughtful of others, pointing out what the public needs and what extra efforts could be made for their engagement. He dedicated countless hours and stresses to secure our grant funding and tracking of donation funds. And he loved to be out on the water with his dear wife, Paula. They paddled together, on the water with us and through so many years of their marriage. He is and will continue to be deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers his family requests a donation be made in his honor to The Rosenberg Fund for Children and/or our boathouse.


Agnes Michalek