Jim Mellen, PRESENTE

My old comrade Jim Mellen passed away in Mexico a few days ago. He was a brilliant and committed revolutionary—one of the authors of the original Weatherman paper in 1969—whose impact on my thinking when I was a student in Ann Arbor was immeasurable. I hadn’t seen him in decades, but he remained vivid and alive in my head. Rest in Power, Jim.

Here is a note from his wife:

Dear friends of Michoacan Net.

My husband. James G. Mellen, died yesterday evening at home at the the age of 87.

He had an incredible life and you can view a 2 hour documentary about part of his life when he was a leader of the radical movement of the 60’s. It can be found on You Tube by doing a search for James Mellen Weatherman.

But he was more than an activist and cared deeply regarding justice for the disenfranchised all of his life. We only had about 15 years together, but it was a sweet relationship in the autumn of our lives. He was not traditionally religious, but typical of him, he told me to “do what you want. I’ll be dead!” Thus, last night we did a semi traditional “velorio” with his casket in our living room with his favorite music, classical and jazz, throughout the night. Abundant flowers, candles and the vegetable chilacayote surrounded his casket. Today at noon, there will be a mass outside our home in Zirahuén. Anyone is welcome. He will be cremated in Patzcuaro afterwards, but we will not bury his ashes in Zirahuén until a later date. He is wearing his red tee shirt that says “the communist party” with silly figures of Marx, Lenin and others wearing party hats and having a good time. He was a serious intellectual with a doctorate in political science and international relations.

Later in life he received a doctorate in jurisprudence in California and practiced law in the San Francisco Bay Area. But despite his seriousness, he also had a devilish sense of humor so I thought it fitting that he went out of this physical world with some levity as well. Anyone is welcome to join us at noon.

Teresa (Terry) E. Baumgart


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