Obituary and Condolences

R. David Arkush

March 23, 1940 October 15, 2018
R. David Arkush
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Obituary for R. David Arkush

R. David Arkush, 78, of Iowa City, died Monday, October 15 surrounded by family and friends.

David was born on March 23, 1940 in New York, NY, son of Ralph and Inez (Ferguson) Arkush. He attended Yale University (B.A.) and Harvard University (Ph.D.). He was a professor of Chinese history at the University of Iowa for more than 30 years. He was known for his research on the landmark Chinese anthropologist Fei Xiaotong, Chinese folk culture of the first half of the twentieth century, and Chinese folklore. He made many trips to China, Taiwan, and Japan over the years and developed warm relationships with a network of Chinese scholars.

David was married twice: to Susan Nelson, in 1963, with whom he had two daughters, and to Hélène Lesage in 1991. He is warmly remembered as a kind and loving father, a wonderful husband, and a good friend. He had an independent mind and a keen curiosity about almost everything. He loved travel, classical music, crossword puzzles, countryside walks, swimming, the New York Times, speaking French, cats, and enjoying good food and laughter with friends.

A gathering to celebrate David’s life will be scheduled for a later date. In lieu of flowers,

David’s family requests memorials be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association.

David is survived by his wife Hélène Lesage Arkush; his children, Elizabeth Arkush and Anne Arkush; his sister, Deborah Ages; and his grandchildren, Zora Burroughs, Ezekiel Vlahos, and Jonah Vlahos.


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Memorial Contribution

Alzheimer’s Association -- Greater Iowa Chapter

1730 28th Street
West Des Moines, IA 50266
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