A life dedicated to humanitarian causes ended peacefully on September 28, 2022. Availing himself of New Jersey’s Medical Aid in Dying law (2019), Dr. David Frost died at home, in the presence of his two children and a compassionate physician.
David was born on December 19, 1925, to Charles and Rivkah Feivlowitz, in Brooklyn, NY. A gifted student, David displayed an early thirst for education and knowledge, taking accelerated classes and ultimately attending Townsend Harris High School in NYC, where he became president of the school's German club as an upperclassman. He attended the City College of NY, graduating in 1945 with a B.S. in biology.
Faced with the discriminatory quota system designed to limit or deny Jews entry into medical and professional schools, David petitioned the court to change his last name, a decision which he later realized underscored injustice; it would prove to be an early motivation for his life-long activism. David earned a master’s degree from CCNY in 1949 (M.Ed.), and a second from New York University (M.S.) in 1952. In 1960, he completed a Ph.D.in embryology from NYU.
Dr. Frost served as a biology instructor at CCNY from 1946-49, a science instructor at the Rhodes School in NYC from 1949-52, assistant professor of biology at Rutgers University in Newark from 1952-59, and adjunct professor of biology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick from 1960-78. He worked for the Squibb Institute for Medical Research from 1959-1975. After his departure from Squibb as a Science Editor, he worked as a freelance consultant/scientific journal editor for another 20 years.
He married Ruthann Steinberg in 1946, living in Manhattan and Brooklyn before moving to Plainfield, NJ in 1959. Their 48-year marriage produced two children and lasted until Ruth’s death in 1994. Through Ruth's parents, he fell in love with the Adirondacks where he and Ruth spent summers, initially at her parents’ home in Schroon Lake, until 1970 when they bought their own home there.
David and Ruth, who became members of the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, were politically active in campaigns for social justice and civil rights and spent many days on picket lines. In 1966, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for United States Senator from NJ. In 1968, he ran as Dick Gregory's vice-presidential running mate in NJ on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. He served as Vice President of the Plainfield chapter of the NAACP in the early 60s; was President of NJ SANE from 1964-65; co-chairman of the Plainfield Joint Defense Committee from 1970-85; newsletter editor of the Central Jersey/Masaya, Nicaragua Friendship Cities Project from 1985-97; President of the Council of Scientific Editors from 1982-83; and as Vice President (1980-1997) and President (1997-2007) of the Schroon Lake Association. In his 80s, he served on the Plainfield Shade Tree Commission.
Following the death of his wife, David reconnected with Joan Forbath, an old friend, who became his partner for the next 21 years, spending time at her home in Manhattan and his in Plainfield. and traveling the world. They remained together until her death in 2016.
David was preceded in death by his siblings Adele Kalafa and Arthur Frost. He is survived by his son Michael Frost and daughter-in-law Nancy Good of Frenchtown, NJ, and his daughter Jane Frost-Guzzo and his son-in-law Frank Guzzo of Fanwood, NJ. He is also survived by his grandchildren Gabriela Nyerges, Samantha Cairo, Alexander Guzzo, and Emma Frost, great-grandsons Anthony, Jacob and Ryan Cairo, his sister-in-law Amy Frost, and a host of loving younger relatives. Left to cherish his memory is his companion and best friend Carol La Pierre, and Maureen, his devoted caregiver.
He ended his life with conviction, bravery and a belief in the right to self-determination. His shining example will burn brightly in many hearts for years to come. The family plans a celebration of his life at a later date. Thoughts and memories may be shared on the Tribute Wall of Scarpa-Las Rosas Funeral Home.