Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

13 Oct 2012, 23:28 p.m.

Rest In Peace, John Morearty, 1938-2012

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Sad news.

STOCKTON - John Morearty, the "peacenik carpenter" who led weekly anti-war rallies on Pacific Avenue and helped found the Peace and Justice Network of San Joaquin County, died at home Thursday morning.
John was 74. I got back in contact with him this year, learned he was ill, and went to Stockton to see him and his wife several times. We said our goodbyes, but right now it doesn't feel like enough.

I was watching a film with Leonard yesterday and saw a wipe transition, and remembered how proud I was of making a particular clever transition work on Talking it Through With John Morearty: Dialogues on War and Peace, when I was technical director. John trusted a teenager to run sound and cameras on his show. Am I living up to that example in the community I manage?

He was my introduction into the modern social justice movement. He loved to talk religion with my dad -- they'd both delved deep into Hindu and Christian theology -- and now they're both dead. His voice, that deep rumbly thoughtful voice, I'll never hear that voice again.

Except I will. Before he died, John asked me to work with his friend Jeanne to serve as his literary executors. Some of the works we'll curate are text, we also will be dealing with many hours of audio and video, including dozens or hundreds of episodes of Talking it Through. So I will be hearing his voice again -- the voice I remember from his prime, not the weak whispers of his deathbed. And he gave me permission to upload them to the Internet Archive or Wikimedia Commons, under a license that promotes sharing and translation and teaching.

He made a CD of himself singing peace songs. I can't bear to listen to it right now but it comforts me to know it's there. I'm thinking of his rendition:

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation,
I hear the sweet, tho' far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Thro' all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul--
How can I keep from singing?