Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bessie Wash

I don't have any further details, but I've learned that Bessie Wash, former GM of WPFW and former Executive Director of Pacifica Foundation, passed away at age 58 on Feb. 18, 2011 at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA.

The last time we spoke a few months ago, she was quite ill and waiting for a transplant.

In 2006, Bessie sold her home in Washington DC and moved with her husband and children to escape what had been a much beloved city. She endured a truly horrific experience after accepting the Executive Director position at the Pacifica Foundation and truly never did recover her bearings.

She was the last ED under the bylaws that had served the Foundation for nearly 50 years. She did not think this new structure would work. She said one year terms for Board members wasn't going to work and that the new leadership was wrong to give away Democracy Now!, the KPFA Music Archives and to waste so much
of our precious resources on a so-called "experiment in democracy." She regretted the mistakes that she made along the way that prohibited Pacifica from having it's day in Court, to defend against the malicious lawsuits that were bringing the organization toward bankruptcy. She especially regretted a a broken relationship with KPFK GM, Mark Schubb, who she respected highly. Mark had wanted to take over management of the pending lawsuits and she chose another direction, which she later regretted.

Bessie did find peace in Atlanta and was very proud of her children and loved her husband very much. She was a joy to talk to and we spent many hours talking about WPFW and the part of the Pacifica Foundation that she had once treasured.

I will post below one of the messages that Bessie submitted to the Pacifica RadioWaves discussion board. It was a reply to Ron Benjamin who had known her at WPFW and then he had heard all sorts of rumors about her as the ED during the Lawsuits saga. He posed the question..."have you changed?" Her reply is below and it think it shows her personality and sincerity.

RIP, Bessie


In Memory of

Bessie Margaret Wash

January 6, 1953 - February 18, 2011

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