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November 26, 1930 – November 1, 2012
Beloved father and grandfather, brother-in-law and uncle, passed away three weeks prior to his 82nd birthday at his home, surrounded by his devoted family.
David was born in New York City, the only child of Faye and Samuel Roberts. When he was 15 he hitchhiked to California, soon influencing his parents' move to Los Angeles. David graduated from Fairfax High School, and subsequently attended Southwestern School of Law. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the military during the Korean War, serving two years in the United States Navy in its naval intelligence unit in Japan.
Upon discharge from the Navy, David began his lifelong career in real estate development, first recognizing that single people had unmet housing needs. With a partner, they filled this void by pioneering a new apartment living concept called Shangri-Lodges – with two innovative features: Small single living units plus large common areas for tenants to socialize; and the convenience to pay rent weekly or bi-monthly coordinating with tenants' pay schedules.
He embarked upon many other projects, always with creativity and vision to fill unmet community needs. These included retirement living for active seniors (Westwood Horizons Retirement Hotel), and facilities focused on health-enhancement (Pritikin Longevity Center, The Oaks at Ojai and The Palms at Palm Springs).
David had many personal interests, including a love of classical music, grand opera, theater, reading and maintaining good physical health. He loved to travel, always more fascinated by learning how other people lived than by the usual tourist attractions.
He considered carrying the torch in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and conducting the Star Spangled Banner at the Hollywood Bowl as two highlights in his life.
David is survived by his loving wife, Natalie, of 60 years, whom he met on a blind date, and his five children, Barrie Jean, Kenneth (Laura), Michele (Deb), Suzie (Richard) and Matthew (Lisa), four granddaughters – Chiantel, Rachel, Anna and Kira, and just recently a grandson, Benjamin.
Active in many different philanthropies, David would be grateful for donations in his memory to Temple Beth Am, Chiam Sheba Medical Center, Technion (Israel), Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Israel Philharmonic, American Liver Foundation, or any other organization of your choice.
Services will be held on Monday, November 5th, at 10:00 a.m. at Mt. Sinai Memorial Parks in the Hollywood Hills.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 4, 2012