Geoff Hartman

by Bruce Dunne
published in MER244

MERIP grieves the loss of Geoff Hartman, 42, a former editor of this magazine and our great friend. Geoff died on June 7, 2007 of complications resulting from cancer.
 
Geoff was born in California but spent much of his youth in Shag Harbor, Nova Scotia. He obtained B.A. and M.A. degrees from, respectively, Berkshire College in Lenox, Massachusetts and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in ancient languages and textual criticism. He completed doctoral studies in 1993 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient texts. His languages included Hebrew, Arabic and ancient Aramaic and Syriac. While living in Jerusalem, Geoff also became a student of contemporary Israel-Palestine and worked for the Alternative Information Center, publishers of News from Within

He was editor of Middle East Report from mid-1995 to 1998. After leaving MERIP’s employ, Geoff continued as a contributing editor and volunteer consultant and graphic designer. He designed the covers of the magazine from late 2001 until just before his death.

From 1998 to 2003, Geoff worked with various independent government contractors as a publications, information management, graphic design and web specialist, principally at NASA. He formally joined NASA in 2003 as a proposal development specialist. He and his printing and design team received numerous awards for technical excellence and customer service.

During his years at NASA, Geoff also managed his own consulting business and produced a variety of publications, monographs, brochures, advertisements, newsletters and posters for such clients as New York University, Georgetown University, Greenpeace USA, Washington’s Whitman-Walker Clinic and the Coalition for Smarter Growth. His advertising artwork has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. As he (almost always) did for MERIP, Geoff frequently donated his tremendous talents to non-profit organizations.

Geoff was a committed activist for progressive political causes and a volunteer in service to the Washington, DC gay community. He served as web coordinator for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which honored his contributions at its June 10 rally in Washington, and the DC Mobilization Coordinator for United for Peace and Justice. He also gave generously of his time for many years as a volunteer HIV-AIDS counselor at the Whitman-Walker Clinic and was honored in 2005 as the recipient of its Gene Frey Volunteer Service Award for outstanding volunteer service. 

Survivors include his partner of eight years, Joseph Kakesh, his mother, Gertrude Amos, and other family members in Nova Scotia. Geoff’s many close friends and colleagues will greatly miss him and remember the example he set of a principled life exuberantly lived, his generous and inclusive spirit, his warmth as a host and his extraordinary skills as a gardener, chef and mixologist.