In Memoriam Lisa Gayle July 4,1950-January 30, 2009
Feb 15, 2009
Lisa Gayle, a friend and well-wisher of the Utopian, passed away in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Friday, January 30, at age 58. We all knew and grew to deeply appreciate Lisa over our years together in the Revolutionary Socialist League (1973-1989). Lisa was buried in Ann Arbor on Monday, February 2. Mourning her loss were her husband, Mike, their son, Jacob, Lisa’s mother, and other family members. Joining them in remembrance of a life rich in humor, an intense commitment to social justice, and a deep spiritual sense of liberation were numerous individuals who had come to know and to love her over the years as a student, autoworker, nurse, teacher, mother, and revolutionary.
One anarchist comrade, upon learning of her death, related that when he was a young man in the mid-1990s in Detroit, Lisa had told him that her contribution as a militant in the automobile might have been small, but that the impact of this experience and of her coworkers on her was enormous. He spoke of Lisa’s warmth and honesty. Honest she was, but it was a sweet and straightforward type of honesty, honest without being harsh.
Her contributions to the RSL’s work in auto were real, one effort among many that allowed the Detroit Branch to be immersed for a time in the lives and struggles of a section of the city’s working class. Lisa’s first fight with cancer forced her to withdraw from auto, but she carried on in a range of other political struggles in the years afterward. In particular, she will always be remembered for the important role she played in the “Poletown” events of the early ’80s. There, she was involved in organizing the initial resistance of a poor and diverse working class community of 4000-plus people to the City’s and General Motors’ ultimately successful move to raze their neighborhood.
Lisa was an extremely kind, caring, and considerate person, and we will all miss her.