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Home Obituaries In Memory: David Francis Pugh, Age 74

In Memory: David Francis Pugh, Age 74

Obituary - David Francis PughDavid Pugh, 74, died peacefully in his sleep on January 26, 2023, in Austin, Texas.

David was an educator, political activist, lawyer, and historian.

He taught at Rikers Island, and in Harlem, Oakland, and the Bronx. At the NYC Commission on Human Rights, he worked as a civil rights attorney.

He was also a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Stanford University, and a writer and organizer for the Revolutionary Communist Party in the Bay Area and Chicago.

For several years he was an Urban Park Ranger in NYC. Central Park was his favorite venue and he came to know and appreciate its wildlife. He advocated for the bike lanes we still see in the park in the interest of pedestrian safety.

In recent years he taught ESOL to immigrants and prepared adults for the high school equivalency exam.

Throughout his life, he acted upon the conviction that real change comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up.

David was born on April 30, 1948, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was the second oldest of the four children of Edmund W. Pugh, Jr. and Patricia Padgett Pugh.

Two highlights of his youth were having his 5th grade class with teacher Albert Cullum at Midland Elementary School in Rye, New York, and a family trip around the country in a station wagon in the summer of 1960.

David married Judith M. Esberg in San Francisco in 1975, and had two daughters, Jacqueline and Dina. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1989.

He was pre-deceased by his brother Edmund W. Pugh III. In addition to his brother James R. Pugh and sister Elizabeth L. Pugh, he is survived by daughters Jacqueline Sackler and Dina Pugh, four grandchildren, a niece, and two nephews.

David’s family, especially his daughters and grandchildren, gave his life purpose and comfort. Until his final days, he continued to work towards helping the oppressed and marginalized with his skills as an educator, organizer, and historian. Recently, he completed a 500-page manuscript on the streams of opposition to the Vietnam War.

David was always looking to the horizon, a better world in his sights.

Donations in David’s memory may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.


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