Life Story for Douglas Jay Kiviat
Douglas Jay Kiviat passed away in San Diego, California in the early morning hours on January 29, 2018. Beloved husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, he is survived by many who will forever love and miss him.
Born in Brooklyn, NY on February 9, 1949, Doug grew up in Valley Stream, NY with his parents, Robert and Myrna Kiviat, and his three siblings, Eric, Valerie, and Mitchell. He attended Valley Stream South High School where he was a decorated rifleman and "A" student. Fate brought him to Florida in his 20s, where he worked as an x-ray technician. More importantly, this is where he met the love of his life and wife of 41 years, Jane. Jane and Doug moved back to New York where Doug completed a double major at Hofstra University in Biological Sciences and Art History. He continued on to graduate with high honors from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and became a board certified Radiologist. He eventually became the Chief of Radiology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, all while being an incredibly loving, dedicated, and involved father to his two daughters, Aurora and Eva.
Chapter 4 of Pirke Avot, the ethics of our fathers, states the following: "Who is wise? He who learns from all men...Who is mighty? He who subdues his passions...Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion...Who is honored? He who honors his fellow man." There is no question that Douglas Kiviat was wise, mighty, rich, and honored.
Doug was wise; as those around him know well, he was an extremely intelligent man. From childhood until his last days, his quest for new knowledge was endless. His knowledge was vast on subject matters that were varied and included science, history, fine art, music, electronics, nature, movies, and photography. Not only was he always reading and learning but he was always willing to share his knowledge with anybody who wanted to learn. He could talk science and philosophy one minute and discuss the minutiae of a Steve Martin film in the next breath. If you had a question about anything, chances are good that he had the answer. He learned from everyone and everything around him.
Doug was mighty; he had strength beyond most of his peers to stay calm composed in times of great challenge and uncertainty. In the face of a debilitating disease like Parkinson's, he fought hard and labored tirelessly to do tasks we take for granted on a daily basis. He pushed through physical and emotional pain, in a way not many other people could, in order to spend time and share experiences with those he loved. He was slow to anger in even the most frustrating of situations and always gave the benefit of the doubt. He inspired strength in others and never failed to show support for anybody who needed it.
Doug was rich because he was happy with what he had, regardless of if it was more or less than others. His gratitude for those who worked hard before him, drive to work hard himself, and desire to instill the same work ethic in his family is unparalleled. He worked hard, played hard and provided a beautiful life for his wife and daughters. Cruising around town in his Celica and Miata, blasting Beach Boys or Frankie Valli, weekends in The Berkshires doing nothing or entertaining dozens, and going to Radio Shack for "manly toys" were just a few of the ways enjoyed what he had. He shared whatever he had with his loved ones and strangers alike.
Doug was, is, and will be honored, always; he truly treated every person the way he would want to be treated. He respected all equally, treating a hospital orderly the same way he would treat a hospital CEO. He revered his parents and adored his beloved wife, his children, and his grandson, Jonah. He delighted in the accomplishments and successes of all of his children and nephews, and honored them, no matter how great or relatively insignificant.
Doug loved his family and friends and did everything possible to help them stay close, share experiences, preserve memories, and look towards the future. He often used the phrase, "Remember to remember," which seems pretty simple but means so much more. He spent much of every family gathering behind a camera, happily capturing images of people talking, laughing, eating, playing, and eating some more. It didn't matter if it was an ordinary moment or a momentous occasion; there would be photos! He spent countless hours editing those photos and videos, making DVDs, putting them online, and distributing them to his loved ones to have and enjoy. Even in his last months, he wished he could take photos and was delighted in looking at old albums and any current photos shared with him. He said they were his legacy to the family. He was proud of his photographs but, mostly, he was proud of the people in them, the relationships they have, and the happiness they shared and will continue to share.
There is a saying that goes something like this: You may forget what people say and what people do, but you'll never forget the way they made you feel. Doug seems to be the exception to this, as so many of the things he said and did will remain with his loved ones forever more. Whether it’s a post-Thanksgiving walk with strobe lights, a quote from Pulp Fiction, a tub of Singapore Mei Fun, a driving lesson gone wrong, a speech at a graduation, a funny photoshopped masterpiece, a handkerchief to wipe a tear, a mildly inappropriate joke, an impromptu biology or physics lesson, or just a good laugh or smile, his memory will last forever. Zichrono livracha, may his memory be a blessing.
Raise your glass of Diet Coke, and as Doug said..."Remember to remember."
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the non-profit Southern Caregiver Resource Center: https://caregivercenter.org/donate-2/