Passages: David Czamanske, Longtime Environmental and Political Activist

  • Posted on 17 December 2018
  • By Elizabeth Pomeroy
Read a remembrance by Steve Scauzillo
in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The Pasadena Group and all Sierrans must bid farewell to our comrade David Czamanske, who died peacefully in his sleep during the night of December 12, 2018.  He was 80 years old.

The memorial for David Czamanske will be
from 2 pm to 4 pm on Sunday, February 3
in the auditorium at Eaton Canyon Nature
Center, 1750 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena.

Read the Pasadena Star-News Obituary published on 1/27/2019.

David grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana, where his father was a college professor.  He graduated from the University of Chicago and also studied at the University of Michigan.  Later he taught for several years at a boys’ school in Uganda, East Africa. He developed his environmental interests in Wild and Scenic River campaigns in the Midwest, and summer work on Sierra Nevada trails.

David was a lawyer, a graduate of UCLA Law School, and he put these skills to work on many Sierra Club campaigns.  His special interest was water issues; also he was most recently a consultant to the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) assisting board member Michael Cacciotti.   Other campaigns that drew his energy were opposition to the 710 freeway extension, preservation of Hahamongna resources, foothill land use concerns in Monrovia and Azusa, initiatives to get Pasadena and other cities off coal dependency, and many more.  He was an avid recycler and counseled others to get aboard also. When he retired, he had been head of the contracts division for the Los Angeles Community College District.

In 1989 the Pasadena Group of the Sierra Club was revived after several years of no meetings.  David was there at those early planning meetings (I was too), as the Group started up its own conservation committee, an outings program, and newsletter Arroyo View.  He served the reborn Pasadena Group for years as chair, vice chair, program chair and political chair, as well as hike leader.  He started several signature activities of the Group: Evenings in the Arroyo (spring twilight walks in the Arroyo Seco), South Pasadena history walks, and Green and Green architecture urban walks.  He led many hikes in our San Gabriel range, favoring those along streams. His most inspired outing was an Angeles Chapter trip to study “three sons of Wisconsin:” John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Frank Lloyd Wright.  He led us to the homes of those three and also to nature preserves around the state of Wisconsin. At the Chapter level, he was on the Awards Nominating Committee, the Political Committee, and the Conservation Committee.

Clearly these are big shoes, and boots, to fill.  We will honor his work by carrying on these Sierra Club themes he served so faithfully.  A gathering to share memories of David will be held later, and we will let everyone know.

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