David Paul Seikel
(1948 - 2012)
Founder of the Texas Foundation for
Archaeological & Historical Research
David Paul Seikel died peacefully in his sleep on or shortly after February 7,
2012, at his apartment in Prague, Czech Republic. Typical for him, his
precise date of final departure is a bit of a mystery, even for the local
medical examiner. David had just turned 64.
David was born on January 2, 1948 in Harrah, Oklahoma, had no siblings,
and is predeceased by both of his parents. Though he had lived alone
most of his adult life, David had become an integral part of the lives of
many. David leaves behind many dear friends, cousins, a godson, and
business associates; all “brothers in arms” sharing a camaraderie that David
cultivated and carefully tended over the years. It was a rare day indeed that
this far flung “family circle” did not receive an email or phone call from David
on some topic relevant to them; much less two or three days of silence,
which was the signal that something was wrong.
David graduated from the University of Houston in 1969, where he found his calling in debate and
elocution. David’s reputation on the national debate tournament circuit was without equal. In fact, all
who knew David came to know his gift for gab; he knew it too, and would often humbly hand out his
“Rubber Ear” awards to those who endured one of his philosophical-political-economical-religious
David obtained his law degree from the University of Texas, where he continued to excel at oral
advocacy. The University of Texas Law School is littered with plaques bearing David’s name for moot
court and other speech event wins.
David’s law career was equally impressive: Over a 20-year period, David was associated with Bracewell
& Giuliani LLP (a large Houston firm), a partner with Johnson & Swanson LLP (then the largest firm in
Dallas), a partner in Houston boutique litigation firm Morris Campbell & Seikel PC, and finally a solo
practitioner where he worked on various matters with boutique firms Caddell & Chapman PC and Yetter
& Warden LLP. Though he never ceased to consult with his inner circle on legal matters, he essentially
retired in the mid-1990s and became an example of how to enjoy life, constantly reminding us all that life
could be short and should be savored.
In the early 1980s David caught a bad case of “gypsy feet” and began to intersperse his work periods
with excursions to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia -- calling them “work sabbaticals” (which really
meant they were just not income-productive). He traversed 5 continents before he settled down (briefly)
in Kathmandu, where his home there was open to anyone who stopped by. But Kathmandu did not hold
David for long, nor did his money hold out. He practiced law again long enough to build a travel chest
sufficient to last him until Social Security payments kicked in, which he took a perverse joy in collecting
when that time came. Then he moved to Portland, Oregon, where he took (and passed) the Oregon
and Washington bar exams, mainly for the challenge. Later he tried Istanbul before hitting upon
Prague. Everyone who knew David knew how much he loved Prague. Many of his friends visited him
there, where he served as the quintessential tour guide, fiendishly plotting to take over their vacations
and running them ragged through castles and quaint eateries and bars. David never had a knack for
foreign languages, but he certainly sampled all the local dishes and dipped into the local delicacies
wherever he went. He had plans to visit a sixth continent, but it wasn’t to be.
David did, however, leave a legacy to enable and encourage others to see and experience the world. In
1985, David founded and provided initial funding for a non-profit educational foundation (The Texas
Foundation for Archaeological & Historical Research – TFAHR), which still offers educational
opportunities to teachers and students from all over the world. David often went on TFAHR tours and
visited its excavations. He took TFAHR study tours to Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, Egypt,
Tibet, Thailand and Nepal. In fact, he organized the first Nepali tours for TFAHR. When David arrived at
a TFAHR archaeological excavation, he always preferred to remain anonymous, never letting on to any
of the hundreds of teachers and students of the past 27 years of digs that he had made it all possible.
He recruited many outstanding students from Charles University in Prague for the recent TFAHR
Bylazora excavations in the Republic of Macedonia.
After David finally settled down in Prague, he offered his considerable talents in coaching the Moot Court
team at the Charles University law school. In fact, he died in the midst of a multi-day judging
assignment. On Tuesday, February 7, David judged a round or two for the Moot Court team, had dinner
in a favorite Prague restaurant, washing it down with a cold Czech beer, returned to his minimalist
furnished, but functional, apartment, equipped with stylish Apple computers and a fail-safe triple backup
system, secured the seven interior locks on his door, fired off his last emails, went to sleep, and left us
For those inclined to memorialize his life in even a small way, David would see the beauty of a donation
to the educational foundation he started many years ago, TFAHR. TFAHR has established a memorial
fund in David Seikel’s memory and has plans to dedicate its 2012 publication to David.
Click to donate to the
David Seikel Memorial Gift Fund
The David Seikel Memorial Gift Fund
All donations to the David Seikel Memorial Gift Fund will be directed toward underwriting the expenses of
students in the TFAHR International Field School in Macedonia. Donations are tax-deductible.
How to Donate
BY CREDIT CARD. Click the Donate button to
the right. This button will take you to our secure
payment processor, PayPal, where you can
donate using your credit card.
BY CHECK. Please send a check payable to TFAHR to:
PO Box 2688
Canyon Lake, TX 78133-0028
Donor names will appear in the
TFAHR 2012 report. If you would
prefer not to have your name
appear in this report, please
indicate this under "Special
Instructions to TFAHR" when
you make your donation.