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David Feldman and his wife artist Janet Echelman
David Nathaniel Feldman
David Nathaniel Feldman, 57, died in Boston in October, 2023 after living with gusto for three years while undergoing treatment for glioblastoma. He enjoyed his final weeks at Dana Farber-Brigham surrounded by family and friends who came from across the country to reminisce, laugh, read and write poetry, paint, sing and celebrate his remarkable life.
David grew up in Belmont and graduated from Concord Academy. He earned a BS in Computer Science from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2023, he served as Distinguished Visiting Technologist at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, and received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Maine College of Art and Design for developing the technology for the monumental sculptures of Studio Janet Echelman.
At Apple Computer, David served as principal engineer on System 7 and invented the concept of an alias to a file or folder. He often laughed that perhaps his most well known computer science legacy would be his recording of the “quack” beep sound, the first human voice on all Macintosh computers. He co-founded several successful startups, and founded Feldman Advisors, a technology investment, strategy and development consulting firm.
David met artist Janet Echelman on a blind date in 1997. Their fourth date was in India. They married in Tampa, lived at Adams House at Harvard and then Manhattan before settling in Brookline to raise their children. He later achieved his retirement goal of becoming an “art husband,” leading the development of soft-body computer modeling for his wife’s engineering-intensive net sculptures. They traveled the world to install pieces in the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, San Francisco International Airport, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Arizona, Oregon, Texas, and across the globe in Portugal, Australia, India, Italy, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and China.
David was an unabashedly curious polymath whose counsel was valued. He enjoyed artisanal baking and installed a wood-fired brick oven at home and delighted in creating and serving pizzas for many joyous gatherings. In college, David performed the Strauss French Horn Concerti, and played in both the Dartmouth Brass Quintet and the Marching Band. A lifelong athlete, David was an avid and daring skier, tackling steep couloirs and backcountry runs; toured parts of Europe by bike and played tennis competitively. As a cancer patient, he played the National Father-Son tournament the night before surgery (Boston Globe), and last year received the #1 New England singles player medal for his level. David also distinguished himself as a tennis parent and entrepreneur. He helped purchase and transform a failing tennis club critical to junior tennis into the now thriving Longfellow New Hampshire Tennis Club. It recently won the best large facility in the nation from the USPTA and established the annual David Feldman Tennis Parent Award to recognize parents who exemplify unconditional acceptance, sportsmanship, joy of the sport, and community building.
His greatest love was spending time with Janet and their children, Sam, a junior at Brown University, and Lilly, a first-year student at the University of Chicago. David is also survived by his parents, Cecily (Sachs) and Wallace Feldman of FL, his sister Jennifer and brother-in-law Judge Daniel Klau of CT, brother-in-law Todd Echelman of FL, and a beloved uncle, cousins, nieces and nephews.
Poem for David
by Doctors Carolina Jaramillo and Daniel Echelman
I heard a question posed the other day
What would happen if light could travel faster than the speed of light?
I’m not sure exactly
Maybe it would be loud
Maybe it would be bright
Maybe both at the same time
Maybe everything would happen all at once
No “first, then”
All here, all now
One fewer dimension to travel across
The leaves would be green, yellow, orange and red
Every color at once
We’d get there at the same time we left
And be back on time to leave again
All of it, stacked
I have preferred living
With moments stringed
Each instant its own
The afternoon on the porch
Celebrating 4pm with brilliant, cold, green soup
zucchini, cucumber, dill, lemon juice
Then evening in the neighborhood
Six of us strolling
single file down narrow sidewalks
Rising and falling over roots of sage maples
A peek into the bakery
To uncover the magic of
Magic that fit under one arm and later glistened at the kitchen table
The air warm with our chatter
How lucky for us that light is only as fast as the speed of light
So each moment can have full stage
Each one its own delight
In lieu of flowers, please support the David Feldman Memorial Fund- Asian University for Women,
an institution he loved and aided, https://asian-university.org/donate/