David Oliver Relin
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Relin, David Oliver

Portland, OR: Born December 12, 1962, died November 15, 2012, in Portland, Oregon. He is survived by his beloved wife Dawn, mother Marjorie Relin (Cary Ratcliff), sisters Rachel Relin and Jennifer Cherelin (David), aunts Ruth Ellen Cohen, and Renee and Jane Relin, father-in-law Warren (Barbara) Hawes, sisters-in-law Sheryl (Mark) Phillips and Cathy DiBella, brother-in-law Chris (Betsy) Hawes, and 12 nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his father Lloyd H. Relin.

A graduate of Vassar College and Iowa Writers' Workshop, David was an investigative journalist and editor for Parade and Scholastic's React and Update magazines. His articles on social issues and their effect on children, both in the U.S. and around the world received dozens of journalism awards. His book "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time" was on the NY Times non-fiction bestseller list for four years. It received the 2007 Kiriyama Literary Prize and Time Magazine's 'Asia Book of The Year', and has been published in over 40 countries.

David's next book, "Second Suns, Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives" is slated to be published by Random House in June, 2013.

David had many passions in addition to writing: travel, skiing, wines, motorcycles, his dog Rueben, orange socks...

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to David's favorite charities, Mercy Corps and Habitat For Humanity.


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle from Nov. 22 to Nov. 24, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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106 entries
July 6, 2020
Oh my God! I have just re-read Second Suns for a second time, and wanted to know why David died before this magnificient book came out. To learn that he committed suicide was devistating for me. Why?? I love what this man has given us in his books. Please give my condolences to his family. He was a hero in our modern age along with Ruit and Taben.
Brenda Schlegel
October 21, 2016
I recently read Second Suns and loved every minute of it, I was really touched by this book and it rarely failed to bring tears to my eyes, usually happy tears. (I had read Three Cups of Tea and loved that book too.)

When I read at the end that the author had died I was very surprised but when I read the circumstances I was really shocked and saddened.

The world lost a lovely man and a great author, so sorry for your loss to all his family and anyone who knew him personally including the wonderful doctors and all in Second Suns.
Wendy Christian
September 21, 2016
Valenda Newell
March 14, 2015
I was very moved when I read Three Cups of Tea, but the degree of my enjoyment was infinitely greater when I saw that the author was my once-upon-a-time classmate at the Harley School, David Relin. We have been out of touch since junior high school, but the memories of those days are brilliant; tinged with sadness now that I have learned of his untimely death. If we had been able to meet again, we'd have had so much to share as our lives have run along. My deepest condolences to your family, David. Namaste!
Bryan Bramlet
March 12, 2014
As I finish 'Second Suns', I am touched, awestruck and saddened at the same time. Now I am even more saddened since I discovered the fate of its author. So sorry for your loss and ours too.
Adriana Albanese
February 27, 2014
I read Second Suns with such ongoing gratitude and conversational prayer to David for his great gifts and contribution to uplifting the hope of humanity through his engaging story telling about the parts of humanity we need to know. I presented David as an example of a person who saw truth clearly and was a trustworthy teacher of that truth. I played Daniel Lanois' Shine as capturing for me the beauty of David's grasp of humanity at its best. I too thank you his family for the posthumous publication. I continue to hold you and David in my grateful prayer. Patricia Shreenan, SSA
Patricia Shreenan
February 26, 2014
The light of David can continue to shine because of his incredible gift of writing. Thank you for letting his Second Sons book be published posthumously. It conveys him and the people he wrote about as genuinely sincere in their efforts to help others.
E Gibby
January 11, 2014
I am finishing David's book Second Suns and I am so moved by his mastery of language and eloquent ability to weave such an inspiring story that I felt compelled to learn more about the man writing this book. I was shocked and saddened to learn of his untimely death. I want to express to him and his family how appreciative I am that he shared his amazing talents with the rest of us. What an impact for good he has had on the world. Heartfelt condolences.
L Pexton
January 10, 2014
Saddened to read about David's passing. Just finished reading "Second Suns". Like "Three Cups of Tea" it opened my eyes to needs in the world that I knew little about.
johanna
December 22, 2013
It saddens me to think of whose stories will be left untold. David had so much more in him to share. He lived more than most people would in 10 lifetimes. He is greatly missed by his family and many dear friends. He has touched millions with his work.
David Cherelin
October 14, 2013
My prayers are united with the family on this 1st anniversary of Greg's passing from the limitations of his suffering body to the fullness of life that enables him to be present to all of you in love. Know of my gratitude to you for upholding him in his gift of writing and will be remembering you on the occasion of his 50th birthday. Sister Patricia Shreenan, SSA
Patricia Shreenan
October 13, 2013
To David's dear family, my very sincere condolences. I have just finished reading Second Suns which I thought was absolutely brilliant! What an incredible lingustic gift David had, I was captivated from page one, as I had been with Three Cups of Tea. I hope for David's sake that he has found peace in his stillness. Best wishes Melissa.
July 6, 2013
I am almost finished with David's last work, and it is brilliant. As much as I am enjoying it, I am deeply saddened to think that this gifted voice is no longer. Deepest condolences.
Kathy Young
December 19, 2012
Dawn - I sat next to David on a flight from Dallas to Portland in Feb 2010. It was 4 of the most fascinating and interesting hours I've ever spent with anyone. He was quite a person. I'm saddened to hear about his untimely death. He had so much more to offer the
world. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Kevin Higgins
December 19, 2012
Dawn, I was stunned to learn about your husband's loss. I remember you adored each other, that David was your soulmate. Thinking of you and sending you love and strength from the Bay Area.
Irene Chu
December 12, 2012
Our prayers are with the Relin family during this difficult time. David's book, Three Cups of Tea" had a big influence on my life, and opened my eyes and heart to a part of the world I misunderstood after 9/11. Thank you and may your spirit rest in peace.
Allison Johnson
December 9, 2012
Reading about the nature of David Relin's death struck me. Shortly after I was born, 47 years ago, my mother stepped in front of a train while suffering from post-partum depression. My sympathies to David Relin's family and friends.
Guy Montag
December 8, 2012
Paula Jill Krasny
December 8, 2012
Dearest Dawn,

Our thoughts are with you at this sad time. We treasure our time spent with you in NYC and offer our sincere condolences and love.
Your Friends at PS 183, NYC
December 8, 2012
On the wings of a dove, your spirit with fly
May your soul rest in peace David Oliver Relin.

1 Corinthians 13:13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love
Cheryl Thompson
December 8, 2012
I just finished reading the story of how Relin passed and all i could say was 'O My Goodness'... I cant believe this i was totally caught off guard. Remember watching the documentary(it was basically telling you what the book was about and how Relin wrote the book) they had about his book 'Three Cup Tea' I had watched it in Junior High but it felt like just yesterday. I am so so so sorry about your loss.
December 7, 2012
Dear Relin Family,
I am so deeply sorry for your loss. My memories from our high school days always include an adorable smile, a bright and creative mind, floppy black hair, lots of laughing at our house in Pittsford and a warm friendship. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

Peggy Rubens-Duhl
Nw Haven, CT
Peggy Rubens-Duhl
December 7, 2012
In the path of righteousness there is life,and the journey in it's pathway means no death.(Proverbs12:28)
S Harris
December 7, 2012
Our sincere condolences go out to you Dawn, and to David's family. Our thoughts are with you all.
Dave and Beverly (Next door neighbor from Kelly Street)
December 7, 2012
Lama Karma Namgyel offers prayers
On Saturday, Dec 1 2013, Buddhist teacher, Lama Karma Namgyel of Bhutan, completed his 58th Riwo Sangchö Fire Ceremony at our home in Oregon.

We honored the passing the death of our friend and great supporter, David Oliver Relin, author of Three Cups of Tea, and of his new book on two doctors' affordable cure for cataract blindness which Random House will publish in June.

The smoke from the fire and incense burned during this ceremony was transformed into vast offerings blessed through the power of meditation, and offered to enlightened beings as signs of refuge and to all sentient beings as an act of compassion
Lama Karma Namgyel
December 7, 2012
I am very sorry for your loss. I hope that people will be able to cope with the loss.
Tre Padron
December 6, 2012
David was a brilliant writer whose compassionate being touched my heart. May those closest to David be comforted in knowing the thousands of us who are better human beings because of his raising our awareness about what matters to humanity. I grieve with you.
Sister Patricia Shreenan
December 6, 2012
David was a lovely, gentle man; so funny, a great and generous host and dining companion, a very decent guitar player, and a wonderful writer to boot. I am so, so sad.
Kate Sokoloff
December 6, 2012
The world lost a great writer.My family had a chance to host David Relin and Greg Mortenson, for a special dinner at Lake Oswego High School back in 2008.Great human being. We are so sorry to hear this news.
MOHAMMAD RAHMAN
December 5, 2012
May your soul rest in peace, and may God comfort your wife and family. Through your stories and words you have alleviated the suffering of so many children around the world affected by hunger, poverty and illiteracy. Their candle of hope burns brightly for you to guide your way to heaven.
God Bless You - David Oliver Relin
Dave McGinnis
December 5, 2012
So sorry for your loss.
December 5, 2012
May God Bless your family during this difficult time
Cheryl Sanders
December 5, 2012
My sincere condolences to the Relin family. Words cannot express the heartfelt pain and sympathy that I feel for you. May you cherish th
Lynn
December 5, 2012
May these words be of comfort to you."Like a man whom his own mother keeps comforting,so I myself keep comforting you people."(isaiah 66:13) I extend my sincere condolence to you Relin family....ms.mebane
December 5, 2012
You have my deepest sympathy. May good memories provide solace
for your family during this challenging time; and may God provide
you with the assurance that you will see your loved one again in
Paradise. John 17:3
Linda
December 5, 2012
May you find comfort in the Hearer of prayer at this time. Psalm 65:2
December 5, 2012
May the GOD who comforts all comfort you in your time of pain and grief. (2corinth. 1:3) May your fond memories of him bring you comfort and peace.
LP
December 4, 2012
So sad such a tragic loss, God Bless.
Mary Davitt-Bocchino
December 4, 2012
Another guest steps upon
a Spiritual calm journey@
Written words are for the reader
GodBless you David Oliver Relin
Victoria&Andrew VZJ
December 4, 2012
Offering my deepest condolences during this difficult time, I'm so very sorry for your loss, death is something we are never prepared for, but please find comfort in knowing God has promised He will do away with sickness, pain and death for His word is truth. in every good deed and word.
December 4, 2012
God bless and missing u ,dearly.
Michelle
December 4, 2012
Sorry for your Great loss and may god keep the family whole.
Michelle Pretlow
December 4, 2012
David Oliver Relin wrote a wonderful book about hope, faith, and integrity that has served as an inspiration to me and my children. I have no doubt about his own personal integrity and am deeply saddened by his loss. My children and I send our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones at this time of great loss.
Monika, Grant, and Liam (BC, Canada)
Monika Smith
December 4, 2012
I met David a few years ago and sold him a book case from my antique shop for his office. We got to talking and he explained he was going to Willamette University to give a talk that day. I was so impressed and never believed anything bad about him. That evening when I came home, I told my husband all about meeting him, and how inspiring it was to me to see someone doing something really amazing. I am so very sorry for your loss.
Mary Kopp
December 4, 2012
Marjorie, Ruth, Rachal and Jenny
I am deeply saddened to hear the news of David's passing. May the love of your family and friends carry you through this difficult time. Love Julie
Julie Relin
December 4, 2012
It's very sad to lose a loved one. The stress & anxiety he's been under sound terrible. His writing has made a very positive impact where few others have dared to go. I will forever cherish my copy of "Three Cups of Tea" & eagerly share it. May his family find comfort & strength for this most difficult time.
TS Baker
December 4, 2012
TJ
December 4, 2012
My Condolences to the Relin Family. May the God of all comfort and loving-kindness Comfort your family in this time of loss. Psalm 119:50,76
DJ
December 4, 2012
Marjorie, Cary, and Family,
I am so sorry for your loss. While I did not know David personally, I know his writing was phenomenal. He was so talented. May you be comforted during this time, and always.
Amy Gilbert
December 4, 2012
It always saddens me to know that traveling in this world becomes so difficult that one
interrupts their precious life by any means. That being said, . I am sorry for your loss. Be assured of God's love and comfort.1 John 3:20- "God is greater than our hearts and knows all things."
FF
December 4, 2012
So sorry. Be comforted knowing that David made a change for people around the world.
Malinda Irvin
December 4, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with The Relin Family. We are so sorry for your loss. Know that we are appreciative for the many lives that were touched by David's renown book; and because of the integrity he showed, we plan to read it. Jesus must have had David in mind when he made the promise at Luke 23:43. In loving memory of David Oliver Relin, one who stood by his principles!
The Carter Family
December 4, 2012
How very sad. Condolences.
Barbara Miller
December 4, 2012
syteele
December 4, 2012
May it comfort you to know that God, as well as others, care about your feelings at this time of your loss.

Sincerely,
December 4, 2012
Wonderful book, sad ending. RIP, you touched a lot of lives.
K Noonan
December 4, 2012
My deepest sympathy to the family, gods speed with you.

Read your book!
Neel Mohabeer
December 4, 2012
Hi Dawn,
It's been many years since we've spoke. We worked together at PS 183 years ago. I just learned of your husband's passing. I am so sorry for your loss. I have a happy memory of him dressing up for the kids in our class and bringing you a flower. It was so sweet!
You're in my thoughts,
Jennifer Vatalaro
December 4, 2012
Our condolences and heartfelt prayers go out to the entire family. May the God who gives peace be with all of you.-Ro.15:33
December 4, 2012
My deespest sympathy to the family of David Relin. I know this is a distressing time for you but remember that God is a refuge for us durin times of distress. Ps. 46:1
Patricia
December 3, 2012
Dawn - I have been thinking of you lots and praying for you. I just can't imagine what you're going through. I'm so sorry about David, and hope you're finding some comfort in all of his accomplishments and your time together. Thinking of you.
Jill Gilbertson
Sunnyside
Jill Gilbertson
December 3, 2012
So sorry for your loss of your beloved David...My heart goes out to his family & friends...may God bless you all!
December 3, 2012
David, I believed in you..It is so true
that the good die young.... Bill Tow
December 3, 2012
"no time on Earth is long enough to share with those we love, or to prepare our hearts for goodbye."
~ anonymous
Martha
December 3, 2012
The world is mourning an author who was known for selling books. Now his name will be recorded in the "Book of life" and God will wake him up in Paradise. Phillipians 4:3
Raquel
December 3, 2012
I cant believe this. I pray that God, comforts the family in this time of sorrow
December 3, 2012
I am truly saddened by David Relin's passing. I love his book about Greg Mortenson's story and believe it to be true. I met both men at a book signing and lecture in Frederick. I have been awaiting the publication of David's next book "Second Suns," and hope it can still be published. Rest in Peace David!!
Barbara Dunbar
December 3, 2012
I'm so sorry for your loss. Not all of my memories from Camp Seneca Lake and Camp Eagle Cove are uniformly happy ones.

David and I shared a cabin at each camp over the years.

ALL of my memories of David are happy ones. Even as a kid, he was a class act.

May his memory be for a blessing.
December 3, 2012
I am deeply saddened to hear of David's passing. We were colleagues at Scholastic Update magazine in the 1990s. David was a great journalist and one of the most talented writers I've ever worked with or read. I will remember him for his passion and dedication to improving the lives of young people and for his curiosity, compassion and caring about the people and places he wrote about. David truly made a difference.

My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.
Steven Manning
December 3, 2012
shocking
Kristina FRIMAN
November 30, 2012
To My Dear Friends Marjorie and Cary,

I am so very sorry for your loss but oh what beautiful memories you can share. David will never be forgotten. You will find peace within your family and all these wonderful friends who've loved David so well.

Jackie Castiglia, Victor NY
November 29, 2012
So sad to hear about David. Sending you love Dawn.

Lynn, Darren, the girls and Ben
Lynn Wyville
November 28, 2012
I just heard the news. I am shocked and very sad. I am remembering his great smile, and his gentle way, and the pleasure of getting together with him in Portland two years. I offer my condolences and my prayers.
Abraham Verghese
Stanford University
November 28, 2012
This is a tough one. All deaths bring sadness to our lives, it is never easy to let go of the ones we love. David touched so many people and was loved so deerly, it is hard to imagine a world without his physical being.
I will always hear him saying "Oh you have to try this wonderful little wine I found" and once that was tasted there would be another "wonderful little wine". Through these memories David will forever dwell in my heart as I know he will in all of yours.
Marliese Schnepf
November 28, 2012
Iowa just learned the sad news about David. We are heartbroken at the Writers' Workshop. He was loved and admired by his colleagues and those that had the pleasure of knowing him. He was a wonderful man and writer and will be sorely missed. May God be with his family during this difficult time.
Deb West
November 28, 2012
To David's family:

I am saddened beyond words to hear of David's passing. He was the heart of every magazine I edited -- Update, React, Parade -- and a cherished friend. I assigned David the stories that mattered most -- the ones that summoned readers to reach out and take action, that elicited 'the better angels of our nature,'  as Lincoln wrote. Because he cared so deeply about human rights and improving the lives of children, because he loved words and images so much, because he took so much pride in his work and made every quote, comma and anecdote count, because (I am moved to repeat) he cared so much and so deeply, David captured and stirred the best in us. I will remember him for his compassion and integrity, his curiosity and spirit of adventure and for the difference he made in so many lives, including my own.

Please know that my thoughts are with you, his loved ones.
Lee Kravitz
November 27, 2012
Dear members of David's family,
I just heard today about David's passing. I am shocked and deeply saddened by this news. He came to UMBC in 2009 as our New Student Book Experience speaker. He talked with our returning Peace Corps volunteers, had lunch with students, dinner with faculty and staff, and provided us with an educational experience we will never forget. What we will remember most was his passion for life and his gracious spirit.

I am so very sorry for your loss.
Jill Randles
November 26, 2012
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln

And what wonderful life in David's years!
Michael Crowley
November 26, 2012
I just wish I got to have more conversations with him. He was more than a writer to his family. He was a good, good guy. He loved my Aunt Dawn the way she deserved to be loved and he was so humble in spite of his accomplishments. The reality of it all is losing him is not unique. We will lose everyone close to us or they will lose us on this side of heaven. All we can do is believe and trust In Jesus, in heaven, and know for a fact that the hope God has put in our hearts will lead us all to the same place one day- A place where we find all those whom we have lost. Ill miss my Uncle David. I Thank him for who he was to Dawn..... Life on this earth is merely a blink of an eye- Im glad David was in my 'blinks' eye view..
Joe DiBella
November 26, 2012
David is a friend from high school, and I was very sorry to read of his death. We exchanged an email
in 2008, and I was glad to have caught up with him then.

My thoughts are with you all. Our world is a lesser place without him. My best, Megan Giles Cooney
November 26, 2012
To David's family,
Those I met and those I didn't,
I met David when he was honored by the Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle. We loved his writing, his presentation, and his warmth. Our world is diminished by his death.

Sherra Babcock
Chautauqua, NY
Sherra Babcock
November 26, 2012
David's enthusiasm in both his work and in helping those less fortunate will always be remembered. He is a role model for all who look to help people in third world countries. Many talk about solutions. David acted out these solutions. Many lives will be affected by his constructive work! David,You are a guiding light for us all.We will miss your sense of justice, as well as your sense of humor!
Judy Blaustein
November 25, 2012
Dear Marjorie and family,
We just heard about your loss and we are so very sorry. There are no words to express it. You are in our hearts tonight.
-Laura Yavitz and Darin Dockstader
November 25, 2012

Born of accomplished parents.
Born with gifts.
A meshing of intellect and skill.
The head and the heart
to bring elegance to the ordinary;
to translate the incomprehensible;
to give words the weight of photographs;
to bring observers close.
David had more stories to tell.
His loss belongs to us all.

Richard and Judy Columbus,
Loving friends of David's parents
November 25, 2012
Dear Mrs. Relin, Rachel and Jenny,
My thoughts and prayers are with you all as well David's wife. My heart aches when I think about this tragic loss. David was such a great soul who's wit and wisdom I have counted on for the past 35 years we had some great experiences over the years. The laughs and smiles will help us all to deal with such a tragic loss. What a great person that was taken from us way to early.
Thank you for everything David and a warmest Good Bye,
Scott Blair
November 25, 2012
I have been traveling with David to remote Nepal on a exhausting journey in 2010 and share his point of view and passion about helping unprivileged people and trying to make a difference. My film team and myself would like to express our deepest condolences to all the family for the terrible loss.
Our hearts are close to all his loved ones, wishing them all strength they need to overcome this difficult moment.
Stefano Levi
November 25, 2012
David and I shared many classes in high school. He was always great fun to be with and I am truly sorry that we have all lost such a luminary figure. My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of loss.
James Booden
November 24, 2012
Remembering David has sparked fond memories of his wit, wisdom and friendship. Deepest condolences.
Rebecca Moeller (Hale)
November 24, 2012
I am so sorry for your loss. His accomplishmments were amazing.
christina grey
November 24, 2012
I'm so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you all in during this awful time.
Lisa "Fuller" Sykes
November 24, 2012
David and I shared ideals, goals, and pleasures. I haven't seen him since shortly after high school, but felt that we would meet again. It is a profound loss that it cannot happen now, My condolences go out to all that loved him.
Jeff Michel
November 24, 2012
Dear Marjorie and the Relin family,
Remembering David, whose resemblance to dear Lloyd has always been so resonant, and who was so important to our family during the Vassar years and after, I join millions of David's friends and readers, most of whom I'll never meet, in sending you compassion and healing wishes. With love, Virginia
Virginia
November 23, 2012
Dear Marjorie,

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this time of sorrow. I grieve at the news of David's passing and my heart breaks for you. David made all of us better for having known him. May God bless and keep you.
Jason Alexander
November 23, 2012
To Our Neighbor, David

What if the quiet young man down the street
finds a place to stand?
What if he notices that now he can move the whole world,
toward Peace?
What if he leans his shoulder to the world with all his might,
What if his efforts inspire millions,
And raise big waves?
What if the waves wash him away?

Dear David, Thank you, with all my heart, and Good Bye
Peter Reagan
November 23, 2012
What if the quiet young man down the street
finds a place to stand?
What if he discovers that now he can move the whole world
toward Peace
What if he leans his shoulder to the world with all his might?
What if his efforts inspire millions?
And engender huge waves?
What if the waves wash him away?

Dear David, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And good bye.
Peter Reagan
November 23, 2012
Dawn - our family enjoyed Three Cups of Tea and the Scholastic stories. I knew from Chris that David was your husband and I imagine you were also close to who and what he advocated so passionately for. So sorry for your loss.
Jane Laskey Flood
Jane Laskey
November 23, 2012
Dear Marjorie, Rachel, and Jennifer,
My children and I loved and admired David very much. He was a wonderful husband to my sister, Dawn. I pray for you and offer my heartfelt sympathy.
Cathy DiBella
November 22, 2012
I am so very sad to learn of the loss of such an intelligent, caring,good man. My thoughts are with you.
Heather Adams
November 22, 2012
Dearr Marjoriie

Just needed to share our great feeling of sadness.
. We. Love you

Maggie and Marty
November 22, 2012
So sad. I hope good memories give you comfort. Love, Liz
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