Thank you, Joe!

Chapel Hill is at risk of losing one of it's most dedicated, inspiring, and historic leaders. I just got the following message about former Chapel Hill Town Council member, UNC professor, local civil rights agitator, and tireless activist for peace and justice all over the globe Joe Straley.

Friends of peace with justice,

The seeds of hope and the struggle for justice and peace continue in us and all who share the struggle as Joe Straley departs.

- jerry


Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 07:33
Subject: Please keep Joe and Lucy in your hearts.

Dear friends and neighbors,

Joe Straley is in intensive care. His blood pressure is very low. Kidney function is poor. All his children have arrived.

There is little that can be done. The time for a lot of help will be when Lucy is alone.

Please keep Joe and Lucy in your hearts.

Joan Garnett

This will be a devastating loss to our community, but I feel fortunate to have known Joe and and honored to have struggled for justice alongside him.

UPDATE, Joe is on the mend!


After forwarding a message that reflected the urgency of a blood pressure level of 32/13, I visited the intensive care unit at NCMH where I expected to visit with Joe Straley's family in the waiting room. I learned that Joe's condition has improved.

With his family in the room, Joe and we had a surprisingly lively discussion on issues of the day. Lucy stayed with the conversation, reading son Joe's notes detailing the discussion.

David Straley says the doctor has offered a course of treatment designed to raise Joe's blood pressure. (You'd think the daily news would do it)

Anyone planning to visit can expect brief stays, at times a sleeping patient, and of course we need to watch for signs of tiring.

It's a relief to have better news to share!

Jerry Markatos

It's still a great time to send your love and prayers (if you do that kind of thing) Joe and Lucy's way.



I had the privilege of having Joe Straley as my instructor in his Physics for non-majors class at Carolina in 1969 (or was it 1970) and have always been impressed by him both as an academician and as a social activist.

Another update:


David Straley called this morning to say that the
kidney failure Joe's treatment sought to hold off
has occurred.

More news, I'm sad to say, is expected shortly.

When I visited briefly yesterday, Joe's words,
characteristically, were to the point: "I've decided
that picture of Charlie Jones you copied for my
account of the Inquisition [over Rev. Jones' active
civil rights / integration work in Chapel Hill] should
be used bigger." Joe recently enlisted his home nurse
Rachel to transcribe his manuscript on Jones's
church trial and the birth of the Community Church.

Watch for it....

-- Jerry

Joe Straley passed away At 2pm today.

With a word from the Latin American tradition,
our friend is remembered,
affirming his presence with us and through us:

Joe Straley... Presente!

The Straleys will announce plans for a memorial service
in a few days. It will take place some days after this weekend's
DC peace demonstration.

This is a very sad moment for our community, a great loss, but also a time to reflect on and honor what one individual can accomplish in a lifetime of dedication.

All I can offer for now is to suggest that those who wish to honor Joe's passing and memory should make every effort to get to Washington on Saturday.

I was very lucky to have Dr. Straley as my Vice Chair the two years I was chair of Greenwood Precinct. It was probably about the biggest age disparity between two precinct leaders in the whole country! He was incredibly kind to this 19 year old freshman who knew very little about Chapel Hill, and his guidance helped me learn a lot and get more involved in this community. I feel blessed now to have known him even for this short time, and have no doubt that his presence over the last 60+ years is a big part of what makes Chapel Hill so great.

I miss him already.

I will hold Joe's memory in my heart as I march in DC this weekend.

I found this thread looking for word about Joe. Thanks for starting it, Ruby.

For some reason, a random thought of Joe jumped into my head a week or so ago. I asked an old friend in Chapel Hill if he had seen him. My friend sent back word of Joe's passing.

I only lived in Chapel Hill for 6 years, but Joe was such an important part of my experience there. I'll never forget the first time I saw him, walking through the UNC library in an FSLN t-shirt. My clearest memories of him were of helping to organize the MLK Day celebrations--it must have been 1997 and 1998? He was so generous--both in time and advice--and full of hope for a better world. Joe Straley was a perfect combination of someone deeply rooted in his community and yet always able to see things from a global perspective. He was indeed a drum major for justice!

"Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I want to say." - Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968

So very sad that at such a dark moment in our nation's history we lose Joe when need his spirit to help us through this era.Where are the new Joes coming from?Brave people unafraid of the consequences of standing up strong for justice and against oppression.There has been a Peace Camp on campus this week,while I applaud the students who where there those who were not made me even more afraid.Joe always gave me the hope that comes from seeing a life fiercly dedicated to justice and full of joy.Bless you Joe and thank you

It's up to us to continue the work----eh, Joe?

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Community Church of Chapel Hill.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Joe Straley's name to CITCA/Witness-for-Peace Youth Delegation Support Fund, care of CITCA, PO Box 1188, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.


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