September 26th, 1940 - May 28th, 2020
Huckleberry Rorick of Pinole, California, died on May 28th, 2020, at the age of 79. A native of Los Angeles, he arrived in Berkeley in the 1960s where he attended U.C. Berkeley, and the Bay Area became his life-long hub; he also traveled widely and contributed significant work internationally. Huck was that rarest breed of dreamers, a pragmatist who realized many of his ideals in solid and beautiful form. Over the years, a journeyman carpenter, general contractor, architect, professor and real estate developer, and the director of the non-profit Groundwork Institute, he pioneered creating and designing healthy, sustainable living environments that are available to all people. A devoted father, brother, husband, friend, adventurer, gardener, builder, musician, Huck was understated and low-key about his considerable accomplishments.
Huck was born in Venice, California, the first of two red diaper babies to Harry, a builder, and Eleanor, a horticulturist. He and his younger sister Heidi were raised in Echo Park, Los Angeles where his father made a Frank Lloyd Wright-style project of breaking open their 1930s cottage-style home.
A gifted child, he had the kind of quiet charisma - the opposite of a show-off - that attracted others. Growing up in a close, idealistic family, Huck went on to realize many of the values and visions they cherished; he was a person who deeply valued relationships and yearned for abiding communion.
He earned a BA at U.C. Berkeley and went on to earn two professional degrees in architecture. He conducted early research in computer science as a Fulbright scholar at MIT.
Starting in 1967, he developed, owned and operated property and devoted much of his life to generating socially transformative development. He taught at major universities and was a consultant to the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, China, Liberia and Cameroon, as well as working in Nepal. His wide range of works include: the complete urban infrastructure of Las Arboledas new town, Cuba, and a prize-winning adaptive re-use of the historic Cooper Woodworking in the Bay Area.
He is survived by his daughters Eurydice Rorick-Maxwell, Roxanne Clement-Rorick, his wife Salinporn and her children Pete and Mimi, his sister Heidi Rorick-Evans, on-going friend and mother of Roxanne, Sandra Clement, nephew Justin Schaffer and niece Kate Schaffer, and grandchildren Fiona and Kael.
A memorial service in his honor will be held on December 6th on Zoom. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Groundwork Institute.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2020.