David Dichter, 89, passed away after a very courageous battle with several issues affecting his health on December 28, 2020. David was predeceased by his parents, Herman Dichter and Jean Mayer, and his sister, Shirley Gordon. David is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 48 years, Ruth, daughter, Alexandra (Keith), son, Daniel (Natacha), sister, Ruth Raphel, a niece and nephews and their families, and the three apples of his eye: grandchildren, Max, Luca, and Matilda.
David devoted the overwhelming majority of his life supporting people and the environment both in the United States and abroad. Born on Atlantic City's New Jersey Avenue, where his father ran the Dichter Hotel, he longed to not only see the world but to change it for the better, while devising his own unconventional path. After graduating from Atlantic City High School, he followed a yearning to travel that led him to an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies in northern India, Graduate School of Geography at Clark University in Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in Economic and Political Geography at Birkbeck College of London University. In 1967 he published a study in Regional Geography on the North-West Frontier of West Pakistan.
Among his many jobs, he served as Peace Corps Desk Officer for Afghanistan and Pakistan in Washington DC, served as a U.S. Foreign Service officer in Thailand and Burma, and did a three-year stint in the US Marine Corps, serving mostly in Japan. In 1954, he undertook a transformative and life-changing solo motorcycle trip from India to Eastern Europe. Many pictures of this trip adorn the walls of his study. David was also a candidate for Congress against Charlie Sandman in 1968. David could tell you amazing and interesting stories for days!
Following these adventures, David met his future wife Ruth Griwa in Washington DC. To demonstrate the seriousness of his intentions, he moved to her native country, Switzerland, despite only knowing a few words of French. In Geneva, David worked for an intergovernmental organization (ISVS) that led to the creation of a U.N. Volunteer Program and then founded a service organization, Technology for the People, that was active in the transfer of technology and management know-how between companies in Western countries and 3rd World business enterprises. He traveled extensively in this capacity in Africa and Asia and loved to share stories of his adventures with Alexandra and Daniel, who always eagerly awaited his return.
David’s retirement in the early 2000s enabled him and Ruth to return to New Jersey, where his unequivocal passion for improving the quality of life for communities never left him – even up until his last moments among us. His most recent effort involved advocating to have Atlantic City become the international focal point for addressing global warming and climate change. His idea had started to gain some traction. David Dichter had a transformative effect on countless lives and communities – and he leaves this world having made it better than when he found it in 1931. His true legacy, however, will live in the hearts and spirits of his family.
His family would like to thank the medical staff of the NJ Shore Physicians Group, the Nazha Cancer Center, and the physicians and staff of Shore Memorial Hospital. Burial will be private at the Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery. If you would like to make a donation in David’s memory you can choose a community-based organization, or other charity of your choice.
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