Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary Travers Has Died

Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary Fame has Died

Danbury, CT – Mary Travers has died from chemotherapy complications after battling leukemia. She was 72.

The highly spirited, beautiful singer and political activist began her career in Greenwich Village, where her agent introduced her to Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, shortly afterwards forging their trio to become stars of the 60's folk revival movement. Scoring such hits as “If I had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree”, it was their version of Bob Dylan's “Blowin' in the Wind” which they performed at the 1963 March on Washington that served as the nation's folk anthem for peace and justice.

On March 19, 1998, I had the great opportunity to meet Mary, Peter & Paul at a party after their historic concert in Santa Cruz I attended to benefit the United Farm Workers' effort to organize strawberry pickers in the region. I still have the tee-shirt she signed, and will never forget her passionate conversation with me about the cruel conditions that farm workers were subjected to, and how, in her words “I know we can stop this if we all speak out" for she had a no-nonsense, uncynical belief in the ultimate human power to do good. The spirit of her civic dedication to worker and human rights issues will live on in the music she made and the progress she so fiercely contributed to by using her soundboard to unite people in harmony, peace and love.

Mary Travers leaves behind her loving family a proud, strong legacy, and her shining star will live on for us in this nation's cultural hall of fame.

R.I.P., Mary Travers.


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