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David Mars Ph.D.


1927 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
David Mars Ph.D. Obituary
David Mars, PhD

David Mars of Redondo Beach died August 12, 2015 peacefully in the presence of his family. He was a Professor Emeritus of the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy.
David was born on February 21, 1927 in Philadelphia to Joseph and Sarah Mars. David was raised in Trenton, New Jersey where his parents owned and operated a bakery. His scholarly nature was recognized when young and he was sent to study at a Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated at 16 from Trenton High School and enrolled at Rutgers University. In 1945 he enlisted in the US Navy, returning to Rutgers in 1946. He earned a BA, an MA, and, in 1952, a PhD in Political Science. His first position upon graduation was at the University of Connecticut at Storrs.
At Rutgers, David met Marien Weisser. They married in 1954. Their son Robert was born while in Connecticut, followed by their daughter, Betsy. In 1960 David became the Research Director for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Commission in Madison, Wisconsin.
In Monterey while in the Navy, David decided he must eventually relocate to California, and in 1962 he joined the School of Public Administration at the University of Southern California. He and his family then moved to Rio de Janeiro to work with faculty there. In 1965, they returned to Los Angeles where he remained until retirement.
David was a memorable teacher, a passionate scholar, and a creative leader. As its Director in 1969-1971, he led the School safely through a particularly difficult time, when there was great student unrest through opposition to the war in Vietnam.
He served on the Torrance Human Resources Commission from 1977-1981, followed by the Torrance Planning Commission from 1981-1987.
In 1991, he retired to care for his ailing wife but remained active in the USC Emeriti College. He was an involved parent and grandparent, providing a role model for everyone by remaining physically and mentally active. He played tennis six times a week until the age of 84, and completed the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in ink every week. He loved opera and classical music, and read avidly and widely.
David was also a charismatic storyteller with a vast repertoire of jokes, and he loved amusing his grandchildren.
After Marien's death in 2000, David found new happiness with Joan Neild Banes. They married on his 80th birthday in 2007. He is survived by her and his two children, their spouses Melanie Mars and Jim Naphas, and three grandchildren, Daniel and Katie Naphas, and Montana Mars.
David was respected and loved by all who knew him, and will be deeply missed. His remains were cremated following his wishes, and a later memorial will celebrate his life. Please sign the guestbook at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on Sept. 6, 2015
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