Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Week of Losses

So many deaths this week. Steve Jobs, 56, is the most obvious one, but before that there was:

Peter Benson, 65, founder of the Search Institute, a Minnesota-based research and social change organization. Benson was responsible for exploring the concept of "community assets" -- the positive features of a community that make it likely its young people will grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults.

Judith Martin, 63. A geographer, Martin headed the Urban Studies Program at the University of Minnesota and had, over the years, a strong influence on planning in the Twin Cities. You could always count on her to bring clarity and a big-picture view to any issue of the day.

Janet Spector, 66, was a feminist archaeologist at the University and one of the founding professors in the field of women's studies there. Her book What This Awl Means was ground-breaking in focusing on the meaning of everyday objects among Native American women.

Derrick Bell, 80. As the New York Times put it, Bell was a "pioneer of critical race theory — a body of legal scholarship that explored how racism is embedded in laws and legal institutions, even many of those intended to redress past injustices."

I didn't know any of these wonderful people, but I'll miss all of them and what they brought to the world. And every one of them died of cancer.


Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Thank you for this. I hadn't seen the notice of Judith Martin's death. I didn't know her well, but one evening 25 years ago she and I enjoyed a long, relaxed conversation with then-San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros after he spoke at Macalester. It was one of the best evenings of my life; they were both very knowledgeable and very fun to talk with.

Pete Hautman said...

Janet Spector was an amazing teacher. She opened my eyes - several times - back in 1974.