Friends to Remember O'Drobinak at Saturday Service

by Jim Amidon

November 8, 2006

Friends, classmates, former teachers, and coaches of the late David O’Drobinak ’86 will gather Saturday morning in the Tuttle Chapel in Center Hall for a brief memorial service.

O’Drobinak, who was on the faculty at Valdosta State University in Georgia, died from complications due to a rare lymphoma on October 31 at the age of 42. He earned his Ph.D. in biology and his special research interest was in the area of muscle physiology.

While at Wabash, O'Drobinak was an independent and biology major. He was involved with Student Senate, and he earned two letters in cross country and four in track and field. He set Wabash records in the 800 meters (1:50.7) and 1,500 meters (3:58.15) during his senior year.

The memorial service, which begins at 11 a.m. in Tuttle Chapel on the second floor of Center Hall, will be led by his former roommate Neil Goodnight ’86 and teammate Jo Throckmorton ’87. In addition, O’Drobinak’s track and field coach, Rob Johnson, and his cross country coach, Greg Birk, will be making remarks.

"For those who knew Dave, we think you would agree that he loved being with his friends and living life at full speed," said Throckmorton. "In all our times together most of us would be hard pressed to remember a moment in which Dave let the bad overcome the good in the moment.

"This gathering of his friends and classmates will reflect how Dave lived his life," adds Throckmorton. "While the occasion is a somber one, we will focus on celebrating his life – not his death. We will not be afraid to laugh at our memories. We will hold our tears at bay if the moment contains joy. And, it is our belief that Dave would respect (and perhaps even encourage) our choice to end the service by raising a toast to our classmate and friend. We will then take our remembrance of Dave – never forgetting how our lives are better for having known him – as we move on with our lives, participate in the Monon Bell Weekend and attempt to live up to his example of loving the times we spend with our friends and living life at full speed."

According to David's brother, Jim, the family has established a scholarship fund for David's sons:

"Education was Dr. O’Drobinak’s lifeblood," Jim said. "When he went into Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fl, Dr. O’Drobinak asked his family that if something should happen to him, that they work to ensure that his sons attend and complete college. To facilitate one of Dr. O’Drobinak’s final wishes, The O’Drobinak family has set up Section 529 Florida College Investment Plans individually for both Dave’s son, Adam D. O’Drobinak and step-son, Colin M. Wright.

"As many family members and friends asked at the funeral, in-person and or via email last week, 'how can we help?' To those blessed with the ability to do so, The O’Drobinak family would like for you to consider contributing to the boys’ education in this way in lieu of flowers or other worthwhile causes in Dave’s name.  Those willing can contribute to one or the other or both boys, as they see fit. The minimum contribution is $25."

Adam D. O’Drobinak - Account Number 5144116

Colin M. Wright - Account Number 5144124

"The O’Drobinak family appreciates everyone’s thoughts, prayers and gifts, of any kind," Jim added. "If you have any questions about the information contained herein, please feel free to email me at or call me at 813.766.1083.


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