September 2, 2004 by

Pete Dobrovitz


Categories: Media

Pete Dobrovitz was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was six years old. He received his first cadaver kidney transplant in 1983, but the organ stopped functioning 18 months later. His second cadaver kidney lasted eight years before failing.
Dobrovitz spent years on dialysis while waiting for a matching living-donor. Finally, he decided to take matters into his own hands. In 2001, he placed a classified ad in the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, N.Y.) newspaper that read: “WANTED: Your Spare Kidney.”
The ad worked.
Within a week, a dozen people came forward with offers to help. After screening out the folks who wanted money or who weren’t serious about organ donation, the field was narrowed to four candidates. One of them, a man named Steve Aman was an ideal tissue match. Upon further investigation, the two strangers learned that they had attended the same Catholic high school, but never met. Dobrovitz also served as executive director of the Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Greater Rochester, a child-mentor program where Aman once volunteered.
After receiving Aman’s kidney in 2002, Dobrovitz lived life to the fullest. He indulged in his favorite hobbies: gardening and photography. He compiled one of the largest private collections of Rochester Red Wings’ baseball memorabilia in the country. And he started traveling (New Mexico was one of his favorite vacation spots).
Prior to his third transplant, the New York native graduated from Marquette University and worked as a TV reporter for WROC-TV (Channel 8), WOKR-TV (Channel 13) and WHEC-TV (Channel 10). He co-founded R News, a 24-hour TV news operation in 1990. Seven years later, he launched DobroVision, a media consulting video production business.
Dobrovitz died on Aug. 17 of complications from food poisoning that he contracted last fall. He was 51.

7 Responses to Pete Dobrovitz

  1. J.J. Berry

    I was a student at Marquette University and found Pete to be a great friend and a wonderful person. He was one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever met. He knew more about popular music than anyone I’ve ever met. I remember he penned a column in the Marquette Tribune touting a then unheard of singer songwriter from New Jersey, namely Bruce Springsteen. Someday I will be old and confused, but I will always recall and hold dear to my heart my friendship with Pete. The world just isn’t as interesting a place without him,

  2. Sue Koll Tankersley

    Pete was a friend of mine at Marquette University. He compiled a terrific music collection and made 26 tapes of his favorites, incl Correia, Benson, Mangione…I still have them. He somehow got the young Brubeck Quartet to play at the Tower Winter formal in 1972-73! Pete rocked and lived every day to the max. Many looked for Pete at the 20th and 25th MU reunions and were disappointed. He will be missed.

  3. dave culver

    I was one of Dobro’s cinematographers at WROC in the 70’s, and a pal.
    I remember running around Rochester in the news car, in the middle of August, with the heater on full blast because his medical condition made him cold all the time. It helped me to more fully understand the physical reality of hell. But hey, it was for Pete….we just put up with it.
    My legal knowledge of the statute of limitations in New York is far too limited to allow a full, or even partial listing of all the fun we had. But for those who where there, do you remember the “News Gathering Contest” held on a spring Sunday downtown? (All I’ll say is that a number of reporters & photographers had a little friendly compitition…you get the idea.)
    In recent years, Pete would come to Philadelphia from time to time on business, and I would see him for a meal.
    Despite the years, the miles, and distance, we would connect again within 2 minutes!
    He made the most of his life in the time he had, and just about everyone he came in contact with was changed by the experience.
    I love him and miss him-

  4. Luis Villalon

    I was a newscameraman for WROC TV in the 70s when I met Pete as a young reporter. We shared many great moments doing stories that ranged from international personalities to the common guy and everything in between. We also shared a common love for music and talked about our likes and dislikes and played our tapes and listened to them in the news car all the time. At one point we lived near each other in the Cornhill/3rd Ward area. I remember him as a lover of life, always with a great sense of humor, even at his worst, when he looked pale and weak and dozed off on the way to cover a story. After I moved from Rochester I lost track of him and many other coworkers and friends, but I emailed with him several times some 3 years ago and had a great time remembering the good old days. I am so sorry that I missed his passing. Just discovered the news on this site today.

  5. Jeff Newland

    I am the new Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters. I recall cleaning out files from long-up-opened drawers to find information about Dobrovision and other of Pete’s interests. I know he had a great impact on the agency and will be long remembered. I’m always eager to learn more about the man who’s chair I now occupy. We’ve had a great two years since I took over. Maybe we’re getting some help ;^)

  6. Steve Aman

    I met Pete in fall of 01. I’d responded to his ad for a kidney, and we met for lunch. Within a few weeks, we’d begun testing for a possible kidney transplant, and it seems the gods smiled on this event, as all went smoothly. I recall how grateful Pete was to me afterwards. I hope he had some understanding how incredible an experience he provided to me. We got together a few times for lunch or dinner after the transplant, and began to know each other a bit more. I was in N.D. when he died, returned the day of his celebration of life and learned the next day of that happening. I felt terrible until speaking with his daughter, and being told by her how important and fulfilling those two and a half years of relative good health were to him. I am blessed to have known Pete.

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