Lynda Alfred: Remembering our friend

(from left) Kay Gerke, Lynda Alfred, Steve Herndon, Margaret Orjias, Ann Longsworth Orr and Marv Ballantyne in Washington DC in 1989.

Members of the WCC family were mightily saddened yesterday with the passing of Lynda Alfred after her valiant battle with multiple myeloma.

Lynda spent her life helping others find their own strength - first by developing people’s civic strength as a community organizer, and then by building people’s physical strength and health through her Uncompahgre Yoga Circle.

Lynda joined the WCC staff as an organizer in 1986. She’s pictured here with a group of staff and members who traveled to Washington DC in 1989 to further our work on toxic waste issues. Lynda courageously and tenaciously worked with our members to challenge the likes of Louisiana Pacific Corporation with its polluting waferboard plant outside of Olathe, and Umetco Minerals with its plans to build a low-level radioactive waste dump in the West End of Montrose County.

Kevin Williams, a former WCC Director, remembers Lynda’s courage in the face of intimidation. “Lynda helped organize an action at a public hearing of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission in Montrose,” recalls Williams. “After years of frustrating interactions with the Commission, and after it became clear that this hearing was just going to be more of the same, 65 WCC members stood up in unison and launched into a song about the death of clean air in the valley caused by the Louisiana Pacific wafer-board plant. They sang as they walked out of the hearing single-file, through about 200 LP supporters and hecklers. The secretary of the Commission grabbed Lynda and demanded, “Get your people under control!” Lynda matter-of-factly responded,”Mr. Palombo, our members know exactly what they’re doing!”

Lynda worked as an organizer until the early 1990s when she left to pursue her interest in yoga. She continued her involvement with WCC, though, as our contract grant writer for many years. Personable and skillful, she knew WCC’s turf and language in a very persuasive way that led to excellent success with securing grants.

Lynda had so many talents, so many passions, so many friends. Dammit, we’re going to miss her.

A celebration of Lynda’s life is planned for Saturday, April 9 at 1:00 - 3:00 pm at Chipeta Solar Springs in Ridgway. Please bring a photo to share/leave with family and/or a short memoir to share. Be bright; no black, please.

We are extremely touched to know that Lynda requested that donations in her memory be made to Western Colorado Congress.

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