AUSB President Nancy Leffert announced the loss of a member of our Antioch family upon the death of Board of Trustees Vice Chair Roy Mankovitz, who died suddenly at age 70 on Sunday, July 10th at his Birnam Wood home in Montecito. President Leffert stated, "Roy's contributions to our Board of Trustees and to our Santa Barbara campus have been enormous. His curiosity, interest, commitment, and the vitality that he brought to everything he touched will continue to enrich our campus for many years to come. I know the entire AUSB community shares this loss, and our hearts are indeed heavy as a result."
For those of you who didn't know him personally, Roy had wide-ranging interests that led him into highly successful careers in such diverse fields as rocket science, law, engineering and health care, and who as an entrepreneur and life-long inventor is named on more than sixty patents. He lived in Montecito since 2004 with his wife Kathleen Barry, PhD, a local psychotherapist.
Beginning right after graduating from Columbia University in 1963 with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Mankovitz entered the fast-growing world of rocket science. At Rocketdyne he developed engine control systems for unmanned spacecraft before moving to Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he directed advanced technical studies in spacecraft altitude control systems, celestial sensors, and on-board computers. While at JPL he also designed computer simulations for soft-landing Mars vehicles and authored numerous computer programs and technical papers in the field of rocket science.
With a unique set of technical skills, Mankovitz earned a law degree and practiced in the highly specialized field of copyright, trademark and patent law. As a result of his extraordinary success, his top clients sought his expertise on a full time basis to grow their international businesses. At Gemstar-TV Guide, which he joined in 1991, he was instrumental in the launch of their first product, VCR Plus, and as their Intellectual Property Counsel developed its licensing program which is still in place today. He also assisted in taking the company public.
After selling his electronic patents to a consortium funded by a number of Fortune 500 companies, Mankovitz concentrated for the next twenty years on what became both his hobby and his passion, devising ways to prevent illness and to remain healthy. Drawing on his lifetime of experiences, he authored the book, A Rocket Scientist's Blueprint for Health, an exposition of his original theories on the prevention and reversal of illness. The book offers a blueprint for health based on using nature as the template and includes a diet plan, detoxification program and suggested changes in lifestyle. Mankovitz's life-long interest in health education led him to fund research at UC Santa Barbara's Department of Cellular Biology.
Mankovitz was currently one of four founders of yet another venture – WebTuner – creating an Internet-delivered NextGeneration PayTV platform. He served as General Counsel and Chief Strategy officer, bringing his years of Gemstar and intellectual property expertise to bear on the evolving television landscape.
He also was serving as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Antioch University Santa Barbara. Victoria Riskin, Chair of the Antioch Board of Trustees, said, “Roy's incredible range of interests does not begin to tell the story. He had the warmest heart and was the most positive and generous man you could ever hope to meet. There was nothing and no one he touched without making a lasting impact. His many contributions to Antioch were immeasurable.”
Mankovitz was director of Montecito Wellness LLC, co-founded with his wife, Kathleen, and was a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner. He served on the boards of several health related organizations, including the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.
He was the son of Benjamin and Sarah (Sally) Mankovitz of New York City. He is survived by his current wife of 23 years, Kathleen Barry, his first wife, Sharon Hops, his daughter and son-in-law, Jill and Trevor Hurwitz, his son and daughter-in-law, Alan and Irina Mankovitz, his daughter Andrea Mankovitz, his grandchildren Alexa and Jordyn Hurwitz, Alexandra Mankovitz and his sister, Toby Singer.
A service will be held Thursday July 14th at 2:00PM at Santa Barbara Cemetery, 901 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93108.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to The Jewish Federation or La Casa de Maria Retreat Center in memory of Roy Mankovitz.