David Laux, Jr

Obituary of David Nicholas Laux, Jr

David Nicholas Laux, Jr. died on July 2, 2023, surrounded by family at his home in Sarasota, Florida, where he retired in 2015 with his wife of 36 years, Elna Laux.

Born in Garden City, New York, David grew up in Dalton, Massachusetts, a small town in the Berkshires. Armed with a keen intellect and boundless energy, David lived his life in service to his country.

In a 40-year career with multiple federal agencies, David “fought the good fight” of his era, against the threat of communism, while promoting and maintaining national security interests and open markets in the shifting landscape of East Asia. David started his career as an operative with the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.), later holding positions at the Departments of Defense, State, Commerce, Treasury, and the White House. An expert in US-Sino relations, David was known for his skillful behind-the-scenes negotiations that enhanced U.S. relations with both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (Taiwan). His Chinese name was Lo Ta-wei.

David spent nearly a decade of his career overseas, four years in Japan in the early 1950s, three years in Cambodia, and three years in France. After 1966, he was permanently based in Washington, D.C., where he continued his C.I.A. career, and then served first as special assistant to the secretary of Commerce and subsequently as director of the Office of China and Hong Kong Affairs.

David was the commercial counselor of the American Embassy in Beijing, where he led the establishment of the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service in China from September 1981 to March 1982. From 1982 to 1986, he served as director of Asian affairs on the National Security Council in the Reagan White House, where he was responsible for China policy, as well as for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Island nations. Notable among his many trips to the PRC were his visit with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge in 1983, President Reagan’s landmark state visit in 1984, and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1985.

In January 1987, David was appointed chairman of the board and managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (A.I.T.), which served as the U.S. de-facto embassy for U.S.-Taiwan relations. He held this position until 1990.

After retiring from government service in 1990, he served as president of the U.S.-R.O.C. (Taiwan) Business Council for ten years, and as president of the U.S. Taiwan Business Forum, an educational foundation, for four years. David also was on the board of the Taiwan Greater China Fund, serving as its chairman from 2004 to 2006.

David’s accomplishments stretched beyond his government service. He was a three-letter high school athlete, graduating a year early from Dalton High School so that he could join the U.S. Army during WWII. With the war’s end, and after one year with the Army, David enrolled at Amherst College where he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the ski and debate teams. He graduated from Amherst in 1950, and then joined the Marine Corps, where he spent just under a year before he was recruited by the C.I.A. During his career with the C.I.A., David pursued graduate studies at U.C. Berkeley, Georgetown, and American University. He was a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

David had an exceptional taste for adventure, long before the term “extreme sports” was coined. A mountain climber, he summited many challenging peaks, including the Matterhorn. David was also a scuba diver, paraglider, cyclist, and runner. He ran his first marathon at age 50 and completed his final marathon at age 80.

An amateur historian, David spent decades researching the genealogies of his family, and those of both his spouses. David was a member of the Foreign Policy Discussion Group and the Metropolitan Club. He loved to dance; he and his wife Elna were known for their virtuoso ballroom dancing. David was also active in the National Prayer Breakfast from the mid-1980s through the mid-2010s, traveling to over 100 countries to promote the Prayer Breakfast’s mission of resolving conflict through prayer.

Throughout his life, David remained humble, and always honored his upbringing in Dalton, Massachusetts, returning at least once a year to visit and climb to the top of Mount Greylock, his boyhood playground.

David leaves behind his beloved wife of 36 years, Elna Laux, two daughters, Emily Laux, and Cynthia Laux Kreidler (Jim Kreidler), son-in-law Paul Murphy, four stepsons, Michael Loflin, Dale Loflin (Debby), Byron Loflin (Anne) and Steven Loflin, and one stepdaughter, Kathy Loflin Sanders (John). His daughter Sara Laux Murphy (Paul) predeceased him. He also leaves behind six grandchildren, Madeleine Roche, John David Roche, Natalie Murphy, Alexander Kreidler, Isabelle Kreidler, and Nicholas Kreidler, and 12 step-grandchildren, Brendan Loflin (Lea), Jonathan Loflin, Theresa Pippen (Stephen), Bradley Loflin (Georgia), Amanda Loflin, Megan Loflin Sommers (Joe), Michael R. Loflin (Amanda), Katherine Loflin, and Tucker Loflin, Jack Sanders, and Steven Loflin Jr. and Jessica Pigg (Max), and 12 step great grandchildren. David is survived by his two younger brothers, Dean Laux (Miryam) and Michael Laux (Marisol) and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, David Laux Sr. and Evelyn Moulton Laux, his sister Joan Hogan, brother Jerry Laux, his daughter Sara Laux Murphy, his son-in-law Alan Eugley, his great granddaughter Mabel Sommers, and his former wife Linda Bowden Laux. The family would like to thank Bobbie Taft for her outstanding care for David during the last two years of his life.

A memorial will take place on Thursday, July 20th at 2:00 p.m. in the auditorium of Bay Village, 8400 Vamo Road, Sarasota. The burial will take place Friday, July 21st at 9:30 a.m. at the Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 Highway 72 in Sarasota.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the David Nicholas Laux Memorial Well fund at Charitywater.org, a nonprofit organization that provides clean water to those who have difficult access to clean water. The online link is https://www.charitywater.org/byron-loflin-1. Farley Funeral Home in Venice, Florida is handling the arrangements. To send a memory or condolence please visit www.farleyfuneralhome.com.

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Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Bay Village
8400 Vamo Road
Sarasota, Florida, United States

Graveside Service

9:30 am
Friday, July 21, 2023
Sarasota National Cemetery
9810 State Hwy 72
Sarasota, Florida, United States
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