All posts tagged: Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace, The Rev. John D. Lane

Our dear family friend, John Lane, passed away last Sunday, August 30th, after a courageous battle with lymphoma. We were blessed to know John for more than thirty years, and he will be sorely missed. As noted in his obituary, John was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal from 1966-1968, serving in the most remote post of that organization, a six day walk from any transportation. This was a life-changing experience that he drew upon in sermons and writings. John was also a proud graduate of Amherst College and General Theological Seminary. Our family came to know John in 1987, when he became rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton, Virginia. Known for his quick wit, sharp intellect, spiritual guidance, loving care, and thoughtful leadership, those were all qualities we had come to appreciate when we asked John to be our Andrew’s godfather. He gladly and enthusiastically accepted that role. There was so much about John’s life and work to admire, but I want to focus on his humor and humanity. He showed me how …

Rest in Peace, John Lewis

America just lost one of its most clear-eyed, moral leaders. John Lewis — civil rights hero on the front lines from lunch-counter desegregation in Nashville to Freedom Rides through a hostile South, the last remaining speaker from the August 1963 March on Washington, U.S. Congressman for 34 years, an activist to the end, and conscience for a nation — passed away Friday night after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Representative Lewis was a hero to many because in this age of nonstop blathering nonsense, he spoke plainly about the hope for an America that — as Langston Hughes wrote — is the America that the dreamers dreamed. And he not only spoke, but he walked the talk, most famously when his skull was cracked more than fifty years ago while trying to walk across an Alabama bridge working for justice.  There are many wonderful tributes to John Lewis pouring in. I recommend the statement of President Obama, who — when given a ticket to his history-making inauguration as the nation’s first Black American president …

Incalculable Loss. Enduring Grief.

Yesterday the United States passed a tragic milestone: 100,000 of our fellow citizens have died because of the COVID-19 virus. The true number is certainly much higher. Sunday’s New York Times featured a front page full of names and simple obituaries of just 1% of those who have died. They spoke of the incalculable loss we have suffered from the impact of the pandemic. Because of a botched response to the coronavirus from the administration that continues to this day, many more people died than would have with competent, credible, and empathetic leadership. The United States is, unfortunately, a world leader in an area where we once relegated so-called third world, developing nations. We have lost our minds. But more importantly, we have lost all that those lives that are being cut short could have contributed had they not been felled by a disease that was allowed to run rampant in support of a political ideology. We have lost world-class scientific knowledge. Soul enriching music. Literature that touches our heart. Hugs and smiles from grandmothers. …

COVID-19 Claims the Life of the Last Surviving Monuments Woman

Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite had — by any account — an amazing life. Born in Boston on August 24, 1927 to Japanese citizens, her father was a prominent dentist and professor at Harvard. As noted on the Monuments Men Foundation website: “The family was befriended by Langdon Warner, the legendary scholar of Asian art and future Monuments Man in Japan following the end of World War II. The Fujishiro household became the center of the Japanese community in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Japanese students, professors, and scholars from the many universities surrounding Boston would flock to parties expertly hosted by Motoko’s mother.” She and her mother and brother were forced to relocate to Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor, however, while her father was arrested for espionage and put into an internment camp. He later returned to Tokyo a broken man. Motoko survived the war and became one of 27 women who worked for the Arts and Monuments Commission — popularly known as the Monuments Men. After the war, she reinstated her United States citizenship, lived in …

John Prine

I’m gonna make you laugh until you cry: R.I.P. John Prine

And now it claims John Prine. Damn. Anyone who ever cared about “a word, after a word, after a word” is grieving today. America lost one of its greatest songwriters to the coronavirus when John Prine died on April 7th at age 73. When I wrote about Prine and his music just a little over three weeks ago, on March 14th — before the world learned he was suffering from the symptoms of COVID-19 — I said it was a good time to recall the work of the man who wrote the classic line, “To believe in this living is just a hard way to go.” Now that he’s gone, we’ll have to be content with what is an amazing body of work by any definition. The origin story could come from a classic Prine song. He was a postman who wrote during his breaks. On a dare from friends (and under the influence of a few beers) he stepped up to an open mic and sang Sam Stone, Hello in There, and Paradise, three …

Lean On Me: R.I.P. Bill Withers

If you are of a certain age, you know Bill Withers and his soulful Lean On Me. This anthem of love, community, friendship, and support could be heard everywhere in the 1970s. “Sometimes in our lives we all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there’s always tomorrow Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I’ll help you carry on For it won’t be long ‘Til I’m gonna need Somebody to lean on” Here in 2020, the song has helped many people get through these first few weeks of the Coronavirus crisis. Just this morning, I received the monthly e-newsletter Culture School from Amira El-Gawly at Manifesta, where she brought the song back into my consciousness when she wrote: “Bill Withers knew what he was talking about… back in 1972. I’ve loved the song “Lean On Me” since I was a little girl — it spoke of something I had a sense for but didn’t fully understand as a child. And today it hit me. This is …