I’ll admit it. One of the few reasons I still take the Akron Beacon Journal — dead-tree edition — is to see every morning if anyone who I know has died over night. Yeah, it’s true. I scan the obituaries right after the business and sports sections. Just being honest. I’ve lived in Northeast Ohio now for more than 40 years — and have met plenty of people, professionally and socially. And well, no point dwelling on the obvious on a beautiful Friday afternoon.
What got me thinking about this was an article I read last night in The New York Times by Sarah Kershaw that looked at the number of recent “celebrity” deaths: Ted Kennedy, Walter Cronkite, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze, Ed McMahon, Dow Hewitt, Robert Novak, Michael Jackson and so on. Here’s the key paragraph from the story:
This summer could come to be known as the summer when baby boomers began to turn to the obituary pages first, to face not merely their own mortality or ponder their legacies, but to witness the passing of legends who defined them as a tribe, bequeathing through music, culture, news and politics a kind of generational badge that has begun to fray.
Then we get to Mary Travers — the Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary.
She died this week of cancer at age 72. If you’re not familiar with Mary Travers — or the legacy of Peter, Paul and Mary — take a minute and read this article from Entertainment Weekly online.
Mary Travers spoke to and for a generation — through her voice and her advocacy for peace and human dignity.
My wife and I saw Peter, Paul and Mary perform at Blossom Music Center about 10 (maybe more) years ago. At that point, they were well into the Golden Buckeye Card years — but they clearly still loved what they were doing. What a great place to be in life at any age. And the concert was pretty much an AARP hootenanny. No matter.
Mary Travers loved what she did — and made a difference while doing it.
Not a bad thing to wish for anyone.
I view her passing — and that of so many others recently — as a celebration of life. R.I.P.