March 16, 2011

Farewell, Joyce Gerbasi

I first met Joyce Gerbasi and her husband Ross at the Sustainable Tompkins "salon" meetings at Rogues Harbor in Lansing. The salons were good, but most of what stuck with me from them was the conversations with the Gerbasis. Joyce knew the landscape and history of Tompkins County politics and environmentalism in amazing depth.

I first learned of the nuclear power plant that had been proposed for Cayuga Lake back in the 1960s from Joyce, as well as stories of how that played out politically. She was always clear about the cultural rifts that made politics difficult in Tompkins County, whether geographic, political, economic, or otherwise. Talking with her gave me a much clearer picture of both the Republican and Democratic parties here, as well as of people who don't find either to be of much use.

Two of my favorite political moments involved Joyce. I brought her a John Kerry sign to put next to her Sherwood Boehlert sign back in 2004, and I stopped by for a long and energetic conversation when I was running for Town Board in 2009. I've had more than a few moments in the last few years when I had to stop and say "Wow, Joyce was right about that too."

It's hard to imagine Dryden without her, but she passed away last Friday. There's a lot more in her obituary, though it really only can scratch the surface.

Posted by simon at March 16, 2011 10:50 AM in ,
Note on photos