David Orrin Livingston
Born August 19, 1943 in Schenectady, New York; died March 29, 2013 in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
David spent the 1st eleven years of life in Scotia, NY (town across the river from Schenectady) with parents, Orrin and Teresa Livingston, and older siblings, Mary and William.
He spent the rest of his pre-college years in Waynesboro, Virginia (in Shenandoah Valley next to Blue Ridge Mountains), where he enthusiastically played on the high school basketball team and became an avid reader of books.
David studied at Harvard for four years and then did graduate work in architecture/city planning in Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania). One of his passions at this time was making nature videos, involving things like patterns of leaves on flowing water.
At the end of his stay in Philadelphia shortly after he started working as a VISTA volunteer at an Indian reservation in southwestern US, (which he considered an alternate to military service), he was drafted for the Vietnam War. Instead of spending a large amount of time trying to get conscientious objector status, he decided to move to Canada, which he had been very attracted to in any case ever since a family trip to the Canadian Rockies a few years before.
After living in the Vancouver, BC area for a while, he bought a used military truck which he converted into a home and became a homesteader on some land he had bought in Usk. He eventually designed and built a one-room octagonal cabin there with lumber that he had cut himself.
Work was always secondary to living. He chose to let go of security in order to pursue the many things he wanted to do in his life and worked only when heneeded money for supplies, at whatever was convenient, including working for the railroad, a logging company, and a government housing inspection group.
In the early years of living in BC the required medical exam for a coast guard job he applied for led to the discovery that he had diabetes.
From his college days onward he made many cross country trips to explore the land and visit with friends and relatives. On the first trip, he hitch-hiked starting with only $10 in his pocket, and later on he made many cross country trips by bicycle and at least one with a motor-scooter. (He also spent time bicycling in Mexico and France, where a high school friend lived.)
His interest in architecture and innovative homes was triggered as a young child by the presence of a large number of architecture books including some about Frank Lloyd Wright (which his mother had borrowed from the library to further her unfulfilled dream of having an architect design a house for the family before the move to Virginia). During college he helped build some very innovative homes –homes built in holes of trees in northeast US and reinforced concrete dome homes (mostly underground) in Arizona and Mexico. And during his first years in British Columbia he put together his military truck home and his unconventional cabin in Usk.
After living in his cabin for a few years he became interested in living in an even smaller, and very mobile space. He made a multitude of alterations to a Mini Cooper (including a large plexi-glass dome which was inserted into the car’s roof) and made this his home for a number of years while traveling all over Canada (including many months in the NW Territories) and the US and into Mexico, delighting to demonstrate that one could live happily in a very small space.
When he gravitated to a more conventional home than his Mini Cooper, he settled in the Vancouver area and eventually Nanaimo, and he got a degree in horticulture and worked for some time in a nursery.
When his failing eyesight no longer allowed him to drive a vehicle, buses became his preferred mode of crossing and re-crossing the US and Canada, which he did quite regularly, to the delight of all the relatives and friends he visited.
Survivors: brother William Livingston (Lynchburg, Virginia), sister Mary Snyder (Mansfield Center, Connecticut), nieces and nephews—Kenneth Snyder (London, UK), Douglas Snyder (Belchertown, Massachusetts), Katharine Snyder (Denver, Colorado), and Katherine Bold (Baltimore, Maryland), a 98-year old uncle, Leslie Rupert, in New Jersey and many cousins across the US: Annette Crater, David Ruppert, Jeanne Kerwin, William Dill, Frederick Dill, Nancy Belt, Richard Dill, Robert Dill, and Carol Kruse.