Jerry Hartigan: 1931-2006

IssueFebruary 2006
Comment by Di McDonald

Jerry Hartigan, peace activist extraordinaire, died on 9 January after months of treatment for Hodgkin's disease. Buddhists from the Milton Keynes Nipponzan Myohoji Peace Pagoda and people from many walks of life spoke at the funeral mass at his church, St Gregory's in Northampton.

Jerry was valued as a most hard-working, supportive member of Milton Keynes Peace Campaign, Milton Keynes Peace and Justice Centre and Milton Keynes Interfaith. He was unfailingly cheerful and generous with his time and energy wherever needed.

A stalwart Cruisewatcher

Born in 1931, Jerry was a solicitor with a keen interest in horse racing. But the work he did with refugees, with the Gulf Peace Team in Iraq and by being arrested for protest against nuclear weapons, is what marked him out as a man of peace, integrity and courage. Cruisewatch, Nukewatch and many others in enduring campaigns for peace and justice fondly remember him.

Throughout the eighties he was a stalwart Cruisewatcher, driving from Milton Keynes on a Friday night to Salisbury Plain when the Cruise convoy was on exercise there from USAF Greenham Common. Recounting the horror of the intentions and possibilities of nuclear missiles, Jerry's tale of his occupation of a Cruise launcher cab, with friends Jean and Paul, catches his wit and wisdom: “And then, the situation was transformed by our going to sleep. The sword had become a ploughshare.”

With quiet energy

Jerry's support for others was legendary. He gave money, legal advice and personal encouragement. In meetings, he quietly observed and intervened if he thought fit - having clearly pondered about whether or not - and his help was always appropriate. He had such quiet energy; nothing was too much trouble for him; a kind and a generous man.

There are a fund of anecdotes about Jerry's involvement in Cruisewatch and the peace movement, running into many pages. His sons, Martin, Patrick and James Hartigan invite anyone to send them any anecdotes or photographs of their beloved father Jerry to help them compile a book of his life. Please communicate with or P D Hartigan, 45 Hartismere Road, London, SW6 7UB.

Topics: Radical lives
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