RIP Joe Herzenberg 1941-2007

UPDATE 1/23/2008: Another Joe Herzenberg blog is up at extensive research, lots of scans of old memorabilia and a bigg blogroll


Back many centuries ago (actually 1973-79), I served on the Chapel Hill Town Council. When I resigned from the Council in the middle of my second four-year term, Joe Herzenberg was appointed to fill the last two years of my term. In addition to 1979-1981, Joe also served from 1987-1993.  Joe died last night at UNC Hospitals, surrounded by many friends (including myself). Kathie Young, longtime LA to Senator Ellie Kinnaird, assisted Joe greatly in the 18 months he had been seriously ill, going above and beyond the call of duty.

UPDATE 10/29: There are a several threads up about Joe, the N&O’s Orange Chat has one from a reporter’s perspective, and Orange Politics has another. N&O’s Under the Dome blog has picked up the story. Chapel Hill council member Mark Kleinshmidt has posted, as has fellow council member Sally Greene and Orange County Commissioner Mike Nelson, while Will Raymond tells some stories about Joe. ibiblio’s Paul Jones compends some of the writings.

Online news stories are already up at the N&O, Daily Tar Heel, Herald-Sun, and the Carrboro Citizen. Online is an oral history interview from 1985 with Joe about the Cane Creek reservoir controversy. 

UPDATE 10/30: The Daily Tar Heel has a longer story today. I have another post about Joe up.

UPDATE 10/31: Ruth Sheehan has a great column in today’s N&O. Jennifer Strom has a nice column in the Independent Weekly. WCHL writes a bit. Audio of Beth Villquette of the Chapel Hill Herald is on the WCHL website.

I checked bloglines to see who was writing about Joe.

Ralph Luker has a long post about Joe with lots of Tougaloo information from the 60s. Ralph met Joe in 1971 and is now on the George Mason faculty. (I  haven’t since Ralph since 1972) Ralph has a lot of indepth stories about Joe and is worth reading.  Elevengirl has some nice reminisces.

UPDATE 11/1: Journal of Southern History, Vol. 32, No. 1, February 1966, page 140, announcing his appointment as chair of the history department at Tougaloo College for the 1965-1966 academic year, refers to Joe as “Joseph A. Herzenberg, II”.  Wonder if he was named for a grandparent or uncle?. Also, North Carolina State Representative Paul Luebke tells me he met Joe at a 1972 conference in Chapel Hill. Joe taught at Tougaloo College 1965-1969, while Paul taught there 1971-1975, and they discovered then they had a lot of common Tougaloo faculty friends.

UPDATE 11/6: Erik Ose has a LLOOONNGG post up complete with photos of Joe, reminisces, and political history (like that Joe was my campaign manager in 1973). Dave Hart has an opinion piece on Joe in the Chapel Hill News. the news & Observer has Joe’s obit in the November 6 issue, but it is not available online.  His obit guest book IS online at the N&O, if you want to sign it.

Debbie Herzenberg tells me: “Joe was named Joseph Paul Herzenberg at birth and took his grandfather’s name when he was bar mitzvahed.”

update: 11/17: Erik Ose has a blog dedicated entirely to Joe.

 UPDATE 1/23: Another Joe Herzenberg blog is up at extensive research, lots of scans of old memorabilia and a bigg blogroll


4 Responses to RIP Joe Herzenberg 1941-2007

  1. WillR says:

    Joe was such a great character – and what a great, mischievous sense of humor. In the last few years we shared a common weight problem and used to kid about lumbering through the Council Chambers. He might of physically lumbered but he was mentally deft. He’s one of those folks, like Lightning, that leaves a hole when they go – and, at least to me, that sums up his unique contributions to the warp and weft of our (formerly?) progressive community.

  2. Rob Gelblum says:

    Here’s irony, Gerry: Clicked a link in an email from Paula Wolf that took me to her website. Among the pages there is a list of NC political blogs. Among the blogs is yours, the link to which I clicked. That’s how I learned of the death of the wonderful Joe Herzenberg, who I’ve known since the early ’70s but, sadly, may not have seen in a decade. May his memory be a blessing.

  3. gercohen says:

    Rob, that’s the beauty of the internets!

  4. Dave Garrow says:

    Joe, like Lightning, was a wonderful and unforgettable person, someone who made Chapel Hill a measurably better place.
    It’s good to know that Gerry is well.
    Dave Garrow
    University of Cambridge
    Cambridge, UK

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