David Roth
1953 - 2019
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David Louis Roth

September 12, 1953 - March 26, 2019

David passed away unexpectedly on March 26, 2019 in his home in Oakland. The sudden passing of this lively and engaged man is a great shock to all who knew and loved him especially his wife Mary, his family, and many friends. A lifelong Bay Area resident, David was in born in Redwood City on September 12, 1953, the eldest son of Irvin and Maureen Roth. He grew up in Sunnyvale and attended Homestead High School in Cupertino, before journeying south to Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he received a B.A. in Soviet Studies in 1975. He returned to the Bay Area and graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
After earning his law degree in 1978, he established a practice in Oakland with his friend Ron Ishida, the beginning of a long and successful legal career, which included serving on the Board of Governors of the State Bar Association. Over the past 40 years, he continued to work in various partnerships or solo, eventually specializing in real estate law. He was a recognized expert in boundaries and easements law, speaking and writing frequently on the subject and contributing a chapter to the legal text California Easements and Boundaries: Law and Litigation. He was an extremely hard-working and conscientious attorney who worked zealously for his clients.
David was a man of great principal. He was a proud Liberal, a committed and engaged progressive, cutting his teeth on anti-Vietnam War marches and canvassing for George McGovern. He was a lifelong Democrat and a longtime member of Democratic Socialists of America, and worked with and contributed to organizations for racial justice, economic equality, and immigrant and refugee rights, as well as local electoral campaigns. David did a great deal of pro bono legal work and was a fixture at Lawyers in the Library, providing free legal advice to patrons. While not affiliated with a Jewish congregation, he was very engaged culturally with egalitarian Judaism, and held a deep commitment to Tzedakah (Justice) and Tikkun Olam (Healing the World).
He and Mary traveled the world. He was a fan of both the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants, of Al Green and the Grateful Dead. A line from the song Cassidy was especially meaningful to him: "let the words be yours, I'm done with mine." He was a voracious and eclectic reader and especially enjoyed reading about the history of California, of Judaism and of the law. He loved his large extended family and many close friends. He will be greatly missed by all of them.
David is survived by his wife Mary Roth, his stepson Chris Craighead and wife Tasha and their children Phineas, Phoebe, and Theo; his mother Maureen, his brothers Jonathan and Andrew and their wives Susan Heidenreich and Anni Klose, nieces Ella Roth and Tessa Roth; and members of the Rosenthal and Abrams families.
A memorial service will be held 11:00 am, April 5, 2019, at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park in Colma.

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Mar. 31 to Apr. 3, 2019.
Memorial service
11:00 AM
Hills of Eternity Memorial Park
Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
April 19, 2019
I'm so saddened to hear that David has passed away. As a litigator, I knew David for easily twenty-five years. In more recent years, I had the honor and pleasure of mediating cases for him. I also attended a presentation he recently gave to the Contra Costa Bar Association Real Estate Section. I considered David as a friend and mentor.
David was the thoroughly likable chap, learned and skilled in the law and willing to share his knowledge. He was a true "mensch" and I will miss seeing him and speaking with him on the phone. May his memory be for a blessing.

Malcolm Sher
Mlcolm Sher
April 15, 2019
I am heartbroken. David was a strong supporter of the State Bar of California Real Property Law Section and he will be sorely missed by those of us honored to get to know him. My condolences to Mary and the family.
Gillian van Muyden
April 9, 2019
My heart breaks to hear of David's passing. He was a Gentleman and a Scholar. We crossed paths many times in the building where we both worked. He had a warm smile and a calm energy. He looked dapper in his hat. I could always feel when David was in the building. I thought of him as the Silent Watcher, always there to help, giving me a key if I locked myself out of my office, or seeing his car parked in the lot. I felt happy knowing he was there.

I will forever celebrate David's memory. He was loved by so many - a true tribute to a well lived life. May his memory be a blessing!
Deborah Blackburn
April 3, 2019
We've lost one of the finest gentlemen one can ever meet.
Jaime Arbona
April 2, 2019
I just learned of David's passing and am so saddened and surprised. David and I were adversaries and tried a lawsuit against one another years ago and developed great mutual respect. We worked together on a few cases and called on one another for advice and occasionally had dinner or drinks. I always enjoyed the thought that we would have future comversations. He was such a smart, kind and decent fellow, I will miss him greatly. My deep condolences to his family.
Richard Reynolds
April 2, 2019
We lost a truly decent person with all the right intentions. If David had made a commitment that suddenly became challenging, he would ask himself, "What's the right thing to do" instead of "How can I get out of this"?

I had referred people to David because I felt that he was as good as he appeared to be, righteous as well as competent. Thank you for all the good you left in your wake. A life well-lived!
Appreciative Colleague
April 2, 2019
I am so sorry to hear of David's passing. It speaks to what an exceptional person he was that, in our little, friendly exchanges in the building where we both worked, I came to know and like him a great deal. Always ready with a grin and happy to play a bit with my little dog and shoot the breeze. I will miss him, and can only imagine the magnitude of the loss this must be for his loved ones. You will be in my thoughts.
Dan Quinn
April 2, 2019
I'm a therapist who works in the same building as David and am saddened to learn of his sudden passing. Always warm, friendly and quick with a smile. In our lobby, hallway and elevator conversations, he always carried an air of Tikkun Olam, as this beautiful tribute also shares. May his memory bless all who love him most.
Elisa Dumesnil
April 2, 2019
Joan & I were saddened to learn of David's passing this past week. It was a pleasure working with David as co-counsel on some real estate litigation several years ago, and to see him only this past February 15th when he spoke to out Contra Costa County Bar Association Real Estate Section in Walnut Creek.

David was not just a fine lawyer but a lovely person as well. May our memory of him continue as a blessing.

Joel Zebrack
April 1, 2019
My heart goes out to the family and friends of David Roth. He was an inspiring man with a passion for justice. May he rest in power. Thomas Brown
Thomas Brown
March 31, 2019
With deepest sympathy on loss of your love one May it bring comfort you to know that he will return to the days of his youthful vigor as promised at Job 24:10.
Melissa Pioneer
March 31, 2019
My deepest sympathy to the family. May the God of comfort grant you strength during this difficult time.
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