David Gancher (T-8)

February 23, 1996

David Gancher, some may remember, was a brilliant and talented musician, writer, poet, and ne’er do well who taught English at METU from 1965 to 1967.  During my visits to Ankara, I got together with David, his then-wife Barbara, and friends to sing old rock and roll.  Six years later, back in the Bay Area, I came across some Gancher poetry in a short-lived environmental magazine called Clear Creek and called him up.

David was at that stage in his career chef at John’s Soup Kitchen on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley.  His job began at midnight and ended at eight a.m., by which time he would have baked fifty loaves of bread, made 40 gallons of soup, and absolutely reek of garlic.  We soon resumed our periodic music sessions, and David began coming to my office to help put together the newspaper I then edited.

The newspaper was called Not Man Apart. It was published monthly by Friends of the Earth and sent to FOE’s 25,000 members, plus Congress, the press, and so forth.  It aspired to be the journal of record for
environmentalists, which it succeeded at if you also subscribed to The New York Times.  We were liked by our peers, anyway, and it was a wonderful experience. NMA was run on a shoestring as such things tend to be, and we accepted all the volunteer assistance we could muster.  When David offered to help with the pasteup, I gratefully accepted. Within a month he was on staff, turning out some of the best reportage and commentary in our pages. He stayed with FOE for five years or so, and then went to the Sierra Club to become managing editor of Sierra, a much glossier magazine with a circulation of nearly 200,000. We continued for a long time to get together weekly with a half dozen others to sing and play–mostly our own songs. The best, and only ones that lasted, were David’s.

By the time he came to FOE, David had separated from Barbara and taken up with Betty Lynn Moulton, now a clinical psychologist. They married had had two daughters. David left the Sierra Club sometime in the ’80s to edit a magazine for Computerland, a computer retail chain. Sometime in the early ’90s he was diagnosed with colon cancer that had already spread to his liver and elsewhere-too late to repair. He somehow managed to hang on for nearly three years, and kept his sense of humor. We continued to play music nearly to the end. I never once heard him complain.  –Tom Turner

The following is a memorial published by the Oakland High School Class of 1960.  It is taken from SFGate.com

OBITUARY — David Gancher
– Stephen Schwartz
Wednesday, February 28, 1996

A memorial service will be held Sunday for David Gancher, a writer who died Friday at his Oakland home. He was 53 and had suffered a long illness.

Mr. Gancher was founder of ComputerLand magazine and editor of the book “Not Man Apart,” one of the most important volumes on environmentalism published in the 1970s.

He was born in Georgia but moved to Oakland with his family when he was a child. A graduate of Oakland High School, Mr. Gancher studied at Reed College in Oregon before receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s from San Francisco State University.

From 1965 to 1967, he worked in the Peace Corps and taught English at a college in Turkey. He then returned to the Bay Area and contributed to the Stolen Paper Review and Rolling Stone. He also knitted sweaters for rock musicians.

In 1973, he joined Friends of the Earth, where he edited “Not Man Apart.” He later edited two related books, “Eco-Warriors” and “Green Means.” He went to the Sierra Club in 1978, becoming senior editor of Sierra magazine.

Mr. Gancher was hired by ComputerLand in 1984 to help develop its magazine, and he continued as its editor-in-chief until 1993.

He also wrote poetry and song lyrics, reviewed books for The Chronicstra.

He is survived by his wife, Betty Lynn Moulton, and daughters Sarah and Elizabeth.

A memorial will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Alumni House on the UC Berkeley campus.

Memorial contributions are requested for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 1400, San Francisco 94104.

Association of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Friends of Turkey