September 16, 1956 – March 10, 2004
Dave was not of Yugoslavian descent, but upon his first trip there touring with the band he felt an immediate connection to Serbia and considered himself Serbian at heart.
Dave had a strong interest in politics and the economy. He majored in Economics at Temple University. He had been studying for a Ph.D. in Economics at Purdue University but stopped his studies after deciding not to pursue a career in academia.
In 1995 after the Dead Milkmen disbanded, Dave attended Indiana University to study Serbo-Croatian language, literature, history, and culture. As with everything he did, he thrust himself passionately into his studies.
Due to his strong feeling of kinship with the Serbian people and their country, in 1998 he moved to Novi Sad, the second largest Serbian city, where he supported himself teaching English. Although Dave grew up in a Catholic family, he was not religious as an adult. He was spiritual and read in depth about many different religious traditions. While in Serbia, he recognized that the Serbian Orthodox Church was culturally important to knowing and respecting these people. His writing was published several times in Svetigora, the magazine of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He hoped to contribute to the country’s re-growth and development. He fled in April 1999 when NATO bombed Serbia. Although he was not a member of the Serbian Orthodox Church, he kept an icon of St. Sava next to his bed as a symbol of his connection to Serbia.
He was offered refuge during the war by monks there. It was a time when it wasn’t good to be an American living in Serbia or to be Serbian and have an American friend. And yet they overlooked that and extended themselves to him. Although he decided to return to America, he always remembered how they acknowledged his Serbian heart and valued that more than the information on his passport. He didn’t want to put them at risk, and he wanted to spread the word back in America about the targets that were being bombed. He was interviewed by newspapers and on tv when he returned.
As a point of interest, Dave’s favorite holiday of the year was Thanksgiving because all people could celebrate together and be grateful for what they have regardless of their heritage.
Some more reasons that Dave chose Studenica as his charity:
- Its historical importance
- Its significance as architecture
- Its collection of art inside the church
- Its cultural meaning to Serbian people
- Its connection to Saint Sava, the patron saint of Serbia
- Its continuing humanitarian work for refugees including donations of food, medicine, and hygienic items such as soap
- Its programs for children
- Its promotion of medical advancements
Studenica (pronounced stu-DEH-nee-tsa) is the mother-church of all Serbian churches. The first part of it was built in 1196 by the order of Stefan Nemanja. Under the guardianship of his son Sava (later canonized as a saint) it became the political, cultural, and spiritual center of Medieval Serbia.
The architecture is a blend of Romanesque and Byzantine, and the monastery contains religious relics, frescoes, and mosaics. It is sacred to St. Sava, the patron saint of Serbia. Studenica has been designated by the United Nations Education and Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as one of the great works of art in the world.
Today Studenica remains a major historical site and landmark to the Serbian people. It offers humanitarian aid to refugees. Serbia has 500,000-750,000 refugees, more than any other European country, who have come from many places including Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia. The monastery offers programs for children, aid for families including food, medicine, and hygienic products such as soap. It also offers educational programs in music and art for international students.
In 1208 Sava set up a hospital within the monastery. In 1997 to honor the tradition of healing, the Studenica Academy was instituted to provide medical forums each year on a variety of topics about cancer.
St. Sava Church is a US branch of the Serbian Orthodox Church which has agreed to collect donations in memory of Dave Blood and to send all of the money abroad to Studenica. St. Sava Church is a recognized charity in the US with 501(c)3 status.
Links with more information about Studenica:
Serbian Unity Congress: http://www.suc.org
Blago Archives: http://blago.serbianunity.net/Archives/Studenica
A personal website about Studenica: http://www.rs.risjak.net/studenica
Academy of Studenica (annual cancer forum): http://www.onk.ns.ac.yu/SAcademy.htm