Obituaries: David Rowinski

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday May 10, 2023
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David Rowinski. Photo: Courtesy Sarah Klise
David Rowinski. Photo: Courtesy Sarah Klise

April 28, 1936 — February 5, 2023

Berkeley resident David Rowinski died in his home on February 5, 2023. Cause of death was "an expired lifetime warranty." Surrounded by friends and neighbors, David remained jovial, snarky, and predictably indecent until the very end. Per his wishes, his body will be composted and returned to Berkeley to nourish flowers and gardens.

David was born in Connecticut on April 28, 1936. Of hearty Polish stock, he grew up on a dairy farm and graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology. Upon arriving in San Francisco, he worked as an artists' model by day and reveled in the freedom of the Castro by night.

David moved to Berkeley in the 1980s and met the love of his life, William Blackburn. The 1907 pink cottage where they settled in West Berkeley was a major reclamation project. David's urban garden was his pride and joy; filled with flowering plants of all kinds, it bursts with color and scents.

While he earned his living in a variety of ways, including as a photographer, river guide, gardener, and plantsman, his real calling was as the "yenta" of his neighborhood.

A celebration of life garden party is scheduled for Saturday, May 20. For information, email [email protected]

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