Remembering Pete Seeger

Jan 28, 2014 | Michael Zisser, David Leon

Pete Seeger passed away yesterday, January 27, at the age of 94. He was a strong supporter of social justice and of ours, and a dear friend. Today, we share a set of tributes to him. First, a message from our CEO, Michael Zisser:

Everyone associated with University Settlement's camp in Beacon, New York remembers with love and deep emotional memories the visits Pete Seeger made several times every summer to sing to the children and staff. I will never forget, back in the 60s when I was a counselor at the camp, Pete showing up at what we called "Council," telling stories, engaging the children, inspiring the staff, connecting us all to the glory and struggles that characterized our country and called for our commitment to social justice.

Pete and his family lived down the road from our camp, and maintained a relationship with University Settlement that extended across several decades and generations. His influence over the Settlement's history and our large family of camp alumni is beyond measure. His songs and his values will live forever.

Pete Seeger performing

Photo credit: Marlis Momber

A message from a US Camp alum, David Leon:

While known the world over Pete will always hold a special and unique place in University Settlement Camp's history and hearts.

He was a thread that connected the many thousands of USC folks over nearly 60 years. His visits to camp were filled with giddy anticipation. He would stride into camp with a banjo slung across his back stooping down to pick up a piece of litter that crossed his path. He could connect with an audience no matter their background or circumstance. And it was only a matter of time before he'd have them clapping and singing "Abiyoyo".  Sleeping out by his simple cabin in the woods, picking berries, chopping wood and cleaning up the Hudson river front will forever bond the USC community to Pete. 

He truly was the forerunner and embodiment of the "think globally, act locally movement."

It was only a stroke of fate that of all the places Pete and Toshi could have landed they built a log cabin in the woods in Beacon down the road from USC. 

The world will remember Pete for his significant music contributions and courageous accomplishments. But he will always be a heartfelt part of the collective memories of USC and a reminder of what is possible -

"A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace,
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late."

from Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn"

Finally, a video of Pete Seeger performing at USC is available online.



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