Memory’s Roster

Helene Susman (1920-2024)

April 25, 2024
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With deep sadness, I write of the passing of Helene Susman, widow of Bill, at the age 103. She did not go to Spain with the Lincolns nor held a position with the VALB or ALBA, but to me and many others she was a founder of our small organization and a kindred spirit....
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Dan Bessie (1932-2023)

August 30, 2023
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Dan Bessie (1932-2023)

Dan Bessie, who passed away on July 1 in Brantôme, France, was born in rural Vermont, where his parents, Lincoln vet Alvah Bessie and Mary Burnett, eked out a hardscrabble existence during the Great Depression. The family lived in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and finally, Southern California. Following high school, Dan became a shipboard...
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Norah Chase (1942-2023)

August 30, 2023
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Norah Chase (1942-2023)

Norah Chase, who died on May 28, 2023, was the daughter of Homer Chase, a Lincoln veteran from New Hampshire. Norah worked as a professor of English at Kingsborough Community College for many years. In the 1980s, she wrote her Ph.D thesis about her grandmother, Elba Chase Nelson, who ran for governor of N.H....
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Freda Tanz (1923-2023)

May 18, 2023
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Freda Tanz (1923-2023)

Freda Tanz (née Gerson), born in Pittsburgh, PA, died on March 3, 2023, at the age of 99. Freda was married to Lincoln vet Alfred Leo Tanz, who pre-deceased her in 2000, and with whom she shared her love and political activism. Freda was previously married to Gilbert D. Olmstead in Los Angeles in...
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Harry Belafonte (1927-2023)

May 18, 2023
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Harry Belafonte (1927-2023)

Harry Belafonte, performer and political activist, was a longtime friend of ALBA and the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
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The Musical Conscience of Bruce Barthol (1947-2023)

May 18, 2023
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The Musical Conscience of Bruce Barthol (1947-2023)

Bruce Barthol, a fixture at the ALBA/VALB reunions, was the unapologetic, rebellious, musical heart of the Tony award-winning, never silent, always revolutionary San Francisco Mime Troupe. With sardonic wit, cutting sarcasm, a vast knowledge of history, and a broad understanding of everything political, Bruce Barthol wrote lyrics that outraged, broke hearts, and inspired. A...
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Al Wasserman (1930-2022)

February 17, 2023
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Al Wasserman (1930-2022)

Al Wasserman, 92, died under a blood moon in Oakland, California, on November 7, 2022.
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Jim Polshek (1930-2022)

February 17, 2023
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Jim Polshek (1930-2022)

James Stewart Polshek, one of the leading architects of his time, passed away on September 9, 2022, in New York City. He was 91 years old.
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Gwendolyn Midlo Hall (1929-2022)

November 19, 2022
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Gwendolyn Midlo Hall (1929-2022)

Civil rights activist Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall died August 29, 2022, in Guanajuato, Mexico. As a member of a politically liberal family, she engaged in activism from an early age. She was born June 27, 1929, in New Orleans to Herbert Midlo and Ethel Samuelson. Her father was a Jewish immigrant, from what is...
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Jim Skillman (1946-2022)

November 19, 2022
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Jim Skillman (1946-2022)

James Douglas Skillman, beloved husband, father, grandfather, lifelong soldier in the fight for social justice, and longtime member of the ALBA board and honorary board, passed away October 20, 2022, at the age of 76. Jim was born January 24, 1946, to Mary Noreen Skillman (nee Yeargin) in a Miami, Florida, Army hospital. After...
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