David Dornfeld, Ph.D., one of the founders of the Friends of First Church, Berkeley, died March 27, 2016. He was a great leader, both of the Friends and of his students at the University of California at Berkeley. He was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and served as Chair of the ME Department from 2010 to 2015. Dave was widely recognized as a manufacturing expert. A prolific writer he published 400 papers, three research monographs, and chapters to several books. He was highly regarded by both faculty and students and is widely missed.
Before the Friends was organized, as a member of the Church, he had realized the urgent need for a new roof and other structural issues. In 2002, he called a meeting of a small number of people who might be interested in preserving the building. It was agreed that an all-volunteer, non-denominational non-profit organization should be established to preserve the building –- and the Friends was launched.
Dr. Dornfeld was the Friends first president, serving from 2003 until 2010, and remained on the Board until his death. His advice was always thoughtful and focused in terms of the long-term welfare of the building.. With all his many responsibilities at the University, he never forgot his love for Maybeck’s Church – and we will always be grateful for his leadership.