December 9, 2010 — Dave Drucker, who worked in the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education since 1986, died on Dec. 5. He was a senior technical specialist who had battled lung cancer for several years, continuing to work on computer support as long as he was able. Many faculty members credit him with bringing educational technology to the Curry School.
"Dave was a tremendous part of the Curry School community and I know we will all feel a loss with his passing," Curry School Dean Robert Pianta wrote to the Curry community on Monday.
"One memory for me is Dave and I passing many a summer evening at Elks Club swim meets holding a stopwatch and timing races," said Pianta, referring to their children on a local swim team. "There, like in all other ways, Dave brought good cheer and support to a lot of people."
Drucker was chosen for the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award last year. Pianta presented him with the framed citation and cash award. Curry members made a video in honor of Drucker, after he received the Universitywide service award. [link to: curry.virginia.edu/news]
"Dave is well known throughout the University for his commitment to meeting the University’s IT needs, and has been described to me by IT professionals in other schools as 'legendary' for his resourcefulness, approach and dedication," Pianta said at the award ceremony.
Faculty and staff recounted their stories of being "saved by Dave" on the school's website. Several said that when they have a computer problem, they'll think of what Dave would do.
Bob Pate, Curry Professor Emeritus, wrote about having a problem with his e-mail: "Last week for some reason the e-mail from my U.Va. address would not send. After 48 hours of frustration I decided to attack the problem as Dave always did the many times I needed help. I imagined Dave sitting beside me, asking what I thought I should do next and 'gently' correcting me when I went astray. After about two hours I attempted my first send. It went and I broke into uncontrollable crying for several minutes. When I finally regained some composure, I asked myself what happened. The answer was simple but so very difficult to accept. I was in the process of losing a true and faithful friend who taught me so much not only about technology, but more important about a caring life. I will never try to solve a technology problem that I do not think with affection and admiration of my friend, Dave Drucker."
Last year, Carol Tomlinson, who chairs the Educational Leadership, Foundations and Policy department, was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a conference in Australia, but due to multiple last-minute problems with flights, was unable to arrive in time for the presentation. After trying unsuccessfully to find alternatives on the day before the conference, she left a voice-mail message for Dave.
Not only did he check his messages on the weekend, he called Carol and worked out a solution that involved spending numerous hours working within the school here and with the site in Australia. Eventually, Tomlinson was able to present her address via Skype from the Curry School building.
Drucker was known for his sense of humor.
Amy Azano, who graduated from Curry last year, said, "I'm not sure if Big Dave was officially in charge of lining up the graduates at Curry's hooding ceremony last May, or if he was there only to make us laugh. Either way, he defined those moments for me just before we took the stage. He was on a roll, saying our hats were crooked, suggesting we hadn't finished our courses, telling us to imagine the audience in their underwear. In typical Dave fashion, he had every single one of us smiling. He shared his humor, calmed our nerves and poked fun at us so we wouldn't take ourselves too seriously. I had many teachers at Curry, but Dave was the very best for teaching humanity."
A tribute to Dave can be found on Facebook.
In lieu of flowers, the Drucker family has asked that donations be made to the Hospice of the Piedmont or the Charlottesville/Albemarle Rescue Squad.
A memorial service will be scheduled after the holiday season.