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Gar Macarthur 1921-1999


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Non-Violent Activist: The Magazine of the War Resisters League
Vol 16, No. 5
September-October 1999

Gar MacArthur, staunch peace and justice activist, died Aug. 24 after a prolonged illness.

Born in Canada, Gar served in its Air Force during World War II. Afterwards, in the United States, he became a committed social activist. As a member of the Chelsea (New York City) NAACP, he joined the civil rights struggle in the early '60s. During the Vietnam War, Gar worked with the Chelsea-Clinton Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the Greenwich Village Peace Center, the Vietnam Peace Parade Committee and the War Resisters League. Gar was among the earliest adult supporters of the draft resistance movement, helping resisters who needed to go to Canada and Sweden. After the war, he worked tirelessly for amnesty.

Perhaps his most passionate involvement was with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. In addition to organizing support, he extended personal friendship and care to veterans returning to a country they felt had turned its back on them. His home became a safe harbor for many of these young men until they could get back on their feet.

Even after his health deteriorated and illness ravaged his memory, Gar never forgot to grab a handful of change for the homeless when leaving his apartment. He left behind may friends and neighbors in Chelsea who will mourn him.

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