OBITUARY

David Ross Mittelman

August 13, 1954May 23, 2017

Dave Mittelman was a person you wanted to be with, the individual you always wanted on your team, and a man looked up to and respected. He had a clarity of heart that was unparalleled, building a life comprised of the moments he chose. In his role as a husband, a father, a friend, or a money manager, Dave was a humble leader and a confident, gentle decision-maker who always saw the best in everyone.

Dave grew up in Armonk, New York, spending summers running around the town’s ponds and fields with a mischievous love of adventure. He once joined high school friends for a weekend of skiing, never telling them it was his first time hitting the slopes. But that was his style: just jump right in.

Dave went on to earn a BA in Geography from Middlebury College in 1976. In 1981 he received an MBA from Columbia University where he met a graduate nursing student, Michele Hughes in math class. Two years later, Dave and Michele married and for 34 years, they enjoyed a most tremendous, deeply loving and meaningful partnership.

Dave always considered his children - Andy, 31, Jamie, 29, and Melissa, 26 - to be the greatest gift he ever received. He was the dream father; he taught and coached his children on how to play soccer, baseball and love the Red Sox, to build the coolest science projects and to rehearse their school play lines. With Michele, he instilled in them compassion, resiliency, and how to work and play hard.

His mind moved fast, broad, and deep. This was nowhere more evident than when he was managing fixed-income for Harvard Management Company (HMC – the entity that manages Harvard’s endowment). From 1983 to 2005, Dave and the trusted team he was part of grew Harvard’s endowment fund from $4.7 billion to $25 billion largely by perceiving mispricings with minimal downside risk and large upside potential. He surrounded himself with talented people and taught them how to function as a team.

In 2005, Dave and two partners left HMC and formed Convexity Capital. Throughout his remarkable career in money management, Dave never lost sight of the fact that the best way he could add value and change the world was by securing the financial wellbeing of universities and nonprofit organizations. The lives of many – from students to professors, from doctors to patients – have been touched by the financial skills that Dave brought to the trading room, always with the goal of bettering society. Many of Dave’s greatest joys stemmed from his personal interests and philanthropy. He loved watching the Red Sox with friends and family, often leaving the ballpark with a mustard-tinged uniform courtesy of his favorite Fenway Franks. He enjoyed spending time in Colorado skiing, hiking and exploring the natural beauty of the mountains. Dave was passionate about astronomy and astrophotography, and in recent years initiated and led the MDW Hydrogen – Alpha Survey to create the first-ever high-resolution hydrogen map of the entire sky. This ongoing project will provide a freely accessible map that will be invaluable to future astronomers. Dave founded observatories in New Mexico, Colorado and Massachusetts, which he opened to non-profit educational entities including colleges and high schools. Check out Sky & Telescope Magazine for a list of Dave’s published images.

Dave and Michele cofounded a family foundation that supported local community service, land conservation, education and healthcare. Dave served on the Boards of Middlebury College, The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts. In 2013, he established the P. Frank Winkler Professorship in Physics at Middlebury College, with the goal of decoding and understanding the mysteries of the universe and passing on his passion and intrigue for the study of astronomy. In 2017, Middlebury honored Dave by naming their observatory in his honor.

For 28 years Dave loved riding The Pan Mass Challenge, a bike ride across Massachusetts that raises money for cancer research. He co-founded and with Michele co-captained “Team Lizard,” which grew to include his children and more than 20 other friends and family members. He rode for the cause, the camaraderie, and the challenge.

Dave helped numerous other people and organizations, but preferred to do it anonymously.

Dave lived a life of integrity, generosity, excellence, and humility. He described himself as the luckiest man in the world.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to The David R. Mittelman Fund at Middlebury College. Gifts may be sent to: Middlebury College, Office of Gift Administration, Attn: Mittelman Fund, 700 Exchange Street, Middlebury, VT 05753 or made online with special mention of the Mittelman Fund at http://www.middlebury.edu/giving/ways

A Memorial Celebration is planned for Thursday, September 28th, 6:30PM at The Four Seasons Hotel Boston.

Services

  • Memorial Service Thursday, September 28, 2017
REMEMBERING

David Ross Mittelman

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Bill Shepard

July 9, 2017

Jo-Anne and I remember with great fondness the rides to work in the morning from Dover. David was a friend. A joy.
You left us too soon. You left us with the right direction to help others and to always remember to laugh!
To all in your family...God Speed

John DeMille

June 21, 2017

I was so sorry to hear about Dave. I worked at Convexity for about 8 years and I would encounter Dave in the hall or at lunch many times. He would tell a story at lunch and everyone would listen. Or he would laugh at someone else's story. I appreciated his kindness to everyone, including myself. And I always thought he had a very cool attitude towards life. May time help you find some peace.

Synthia Molina

June 16, 2017

Dave was an incredibly gracious, engaging, and talented human being. He was inclusive and inviting. He made a point of ensuring the people around him felt at ease. I cannot think of a more self-aware yet understated and giving individual. What a North Star he was and will always be!

Linda Ameri

June 16, 2017

Dear Michele, Andy, Jamie, and Melissa,
We are all still shocked and saddened about the passing of your indescribably wonderful husband and father.
We feel so fortunate to have known him. His warm personality was like a beacon of sunshine. He has three fantastic children, who are evidence of what a great father he was. There aren't words to describe our sadness. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Love to all of you, Shapur, Linda, Laila and Amir Ameri

Robert Matson

June 14, 2017

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Dave's passing. I will always remember our joint business trip to Berlin where we witnessed and participated in dismantling the Berlin wall even with his cast on his hand from a skiing accident.

Chris Preece

June 9, 2017

David was an amazing guy. My wife and I have his entire family in our hearts and prayers.

Ann Sullivan

June 4, 2017

I am stunned and deeply saddened to hear this news about David. To you Michele, Andy, Jamie and Melissa I send my deepest condolences and very warm hugs. When I think of him I see his smile, warm and genuine, every single time I saw him. You personally touched me and my family in ways that remain cherished. Much love and support to each one of you. A loss so great.

Chris Wilson

June 4, 2017

Our thoughts are with Michelle, Andy, Jamie and Melissa. Dave added so much to so many of our lives and as we all grieve his loss with you, we can all be grateful for his many gifts, friendship and thoughtfulness that were hallmarks of his life.
Sincerest thoughts
Chris, Curry & Talcott Wilson

Edward De Maria

June 4, 2017

On a great human being scale of 1 to 10 he was a billion

Barbara O'Connell

June 2, 2017

David was one of my favorite people in high school and college. His passing leaves a hole in my heart. Sending love and peace to his family.