Tag Archive: Joe Gutenkauf

A Couple Pics from Joe Gutenkauf’s Memorial

Maureen, Kendy and I planned to go to the memorial for Joe Gutenkauf yesterday, but a lack of immunization intervened.  Someone decided not to get their baby immunized, and the kid got the measles.  Will a full breakout the baby was brought to Somerset Medical Center to infect everyone there, then someone who got infected there went to Maureen’s office.

So they tested Maureen and she has no demonstrable immunity.  On Sunday morning we got a call from the Somerset County Public Health folks telling us we were quarantined in our home! We couldn’t go shopping, play softball, or say goodbye to a wonderful man and good friend.

All because someone didn’t bother to immunize their kid.  Get the shots, folks. It’s not just about you and your kids, but about everyone they might infect.

Anyway, after the memorial already started we got a call that Kendy and I could leave, so I took her to softball and headed off to the memorial. Maureen stayed home, and is still home in quarantine.

Here’s a couple pics for everyone of Dottie Gutenkauf and the Solidarity Singers.


Dottie telling about how she learned Joe was a “jailbird”


The Solidarity Singers

Sunday: Joe Gutenkauf Memorial

Joe GutenkaufI am a lucky duck. One of the great advantages of blogging here is endless work alongside people younger than me – swifter, smarter, more feminist to the bone even than I am. But the flip side of that is the people older than I am that I’ve met in the political swim that is New Jersey. From them, particularly the activists, there is an irreplaceable bedrock progressivism that survives awful party politics, boneheaded presidential administrations, and new crops of people with power who make decisions they’d be too smart to make. Readers, scholars, community people. Salt of the earth.

Two of those people, for me, were and are Joe and Dottie Gutenkauf. They have no idea whatsoever how many events where I conspired to sit next to them, because they were both so cool. In December, Joe died at 87 years old. This Sunday, there’s a memorial for him in the kind of church that finds itself on lists of welcoming gay-friendly churches, where diversity is right in the mission statement, and a discussion group of PBS’ The Abolitionists is an ongoing thing Monday nights.

Joe Gutenkauf – Celebration of a life well-lived, a person well-loved

Sunday, March 17, 2013 – 1pm

Grace Episcopal Church – Knickle Hall, 600 Cleveland Ave. Plainfield 07060

RSVP to Dottie Gutenkauf or call 908-668-1149.

Joe was a World War II Army vet in the part of the world where my father served. He knew Bayard Rustin, Michael Harrington. Helped run the Chicago branch of CORE. Was right there when Democratic Socialists of America was founded. Taught at Rowan University when it was still Glassboro. He was both a guy who’d been everywhere, and was deeply meshed into his beloved Plainfield, NJ. Conversations with him were revelations for me – though he was pretty humble about how smart he was. I’ll miss him. Joe’s amazing obit, is on the flip. This is my RSVP to Dottie – I’ll be there Sunday.