Brink, David Ryrie of Minneapolis, died Thursday, July 20, 2017, just one week shy of his 98th birthday. He was born July 28, 1919 to Carol Ryrie Brink and Raymond Woodard Brink and raised in University Grove. David was the older brother of Nora. His parents were loving and served as important role models. Carol was a distinguished novelist, most famous for her Newberry Award-winning children's novel Caddie Woodlawn (1935), and Raymond was a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. Childhood summers were spent at the family's rustic cabin on Lake Windigo, south of Hayward, Wisconsin. David graduated from Marshall High School in Minneapolis and then attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with honors in 1940. He attended the University of Minnesota Law School, but his legal education was interrupted by military service in WWII. He served as a cryptographer in Washington, D.C. in the Navy, breaking Japanese codes, retiring from active duty in 1946 at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After the war, he returned to finish his JD at the University of Minnesota Law School, serving as Law Review editor. With the support of William Prosser, he joined the firm that is now Dorsey & Whitney LLP as an associate in 1947. In 1953, he became partner at Dorsey, succeeding the late Harry Blackmun (later Supreme Court Justice) as the Head of the Trusts & Estates Department. David developed local, regional, and eventually national expertise in probate law. He also became involved in local, state, and national bar associations, serving as President of the Hennepin County Bar Association in 1967-68, President of the Minnesota State Bar Association in 1978-79, and President of the American Bar Association in 1981-82. He worked on behalf of many causes over the years in the ABA, focusing on promoting pro bono legal services, protecting an independent federal judiciary from Congressional efforts to strip their jurisdiction, advancing alternative forms of dispute resolution, and reinforcing international commitment to the rule of law and human rights. He continued to play an active role in Continuing Legal Education at the local, state, and national levels for many years. He retired in 1989 at age 70. In retirement, he became active in the ABA Standing Committee on Substance Abuse and a tireless advocate for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, an organization in which he mentored many other lawyers dealing with substance abuse problems. David turned to serious engagement with various forms of poetry in his 80s. For several years, he led the Poetry Club at the Edina Senior Center, welcoming visiting poets, presenting his own poetry, and mentoring members. At the age of 96, he made his literary debut, publishing Beyond the Delta (2016), a collection of his poetry. David liked to say in his later years that he thought he still had 51% of his marbles. If so, he must have begun with an uncommonly large supply. David was married four times to Betty Jo Ellis Brink, Mary Helen Wangensteen Brink, Lucile Adams Ranz Brink, and Irma Marie Lorentz Bong Brink. David is survived by his sister Nora Caroline Brink Hunter of Whittier, CA and four children, all with Mary Helen Wangensteen Brink Anne Carol Brink of Long Beach, CA; Mary Claire Brink Watts of Plymouth, MN; David Owen Brink of La Jolla, CA; and Sarah Jane Brink of Seal Beach, CA. He is also survived by eight grandchildren Daniel Brink-Washington, Aaron Brink, William Brink Maguire, Marguerite Brink Maguire, David Brink Watts, Elizabeth Brink Watts, Benjamin Brink Sweeney, and Samuel Sweeney Brink and two great grandchildren Henry Morris Beerman-Brink and Ryrie Alice Beerman-Brink. There will be a Celebration of Life reception held from 2-4pm on Saturday, August 26th at 6Smith, located at 294 East Grove Lane, in Wayzata. RSVP to David O. Brink at

Published on July 27, 2017

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