Wax, David Mayer
died on Thursday, May 21, 2015, gently concluding his negotiations with a rare lymphoma. Born in Milwaukee to Lena Grossman Wax and Morton Wax in October 1941, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin, as did his parents, his siblings, and several of their spouses and children. From Madison, David went on to Cambridge (thus falling in love forever with New England), interrupting his studies at Harvard in 1965-66 to join the many idealistic young academics teaching that year in the Deep South; he taught at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa. After completing a Ph.d in political science, he worked in academia and government for several years, leaving them in 1978 for a true love, music. During his 30 years in symphony management, David worked for and with great musicians and talented staff members; he especially treasured his partnerships with the music directors-conductors of the Houston Symphony and RI Philharmonic, Christoph Eschenbach and Larry Rachleff. To his delighted surprise, his working life culminated in the theater, alongside a third artist-leader he esteemed, Tony Estrella of The Gamm Theater.
He leaves his wife, Elaine Arden Cali, his daughter Alexandra Wax Henkoff and her husband Daniel Henkoff, and their son, Asher Joel, born April 11th. That David lived to hold and love his grandchild was his crowning happiness. His brother Robert Wax and wife Melinda, sister Judith Wax Konisky and husband Jordan, and sister-in-law, Phyllis Ritzenberg Wax also survive him. His brother Phillip Wax died in 1993 and sister-in-law Lois Olsher Wax in 1984. He also leaves his mother-in-law, Dale Cali; his sisters- and brothers-in-law Lauri and Henry Berlied, Andrea and Michael Hughes, and Nancy Cali and Brian Lord; and 21 dear nieces and nephews and their children.
In his last years, David said again and again he'd had a "wonderful" life. He knew, and said, that it had everything to do with sheer luck-of-the-draw, with the lifelong privileges and opportunities conferred at his birth. That understanding contributed to the modesty, compassion, and generosity of his character. His sense of gratitude and great luckiness deepened through his illness, as he was treated and cared for by the brilliant, extraordinarily kind doctors, nurses, and staff of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center. As he wished, his body was donated to Harvard Medical School for teaching and research.