Appleseed is mourning the loss of Mark Joelson, one of our founding members, who passed away last week.
Mark’s life embodied the pursuit of justice that lies at the heart of Appleseed’s mission. A Jewish refugee who escaped to America at the age of seven, shortly before the Nazis occupied his hometown, Mark built a distinguished legal career that earned him the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in 2001.
Together with his Harvard Law School colleagues, Mark co-founded Appleseed in 1993 to help build a more just world for us all. Appleseed co-founders remember Mark as a thoughtful and generous partner with an engaging sense of humor.
Appleseed co-founder Ralph Petersberger, who knew Mark from literally the first day of law school, remembers Mark attending his wedding six weeks after graduation: After the wedding, Mark sent a kind thank you note saying he had returned home “thoroughly champagned.” Ralph says Mark was proud of what the co-founders had accomplished with Appleseed.
“Mark was a first-class lawyer and a first-class person,” co-founder Phil Zeidman remembers. “Because I had to miss the Appleseed founding session Ralph Nader organized at our 1993 reunion, Mark called to urge me to attend the first gathering in Washington. Throughout the years that followed, Mark was a thoughtful and constructive force, in good times and during more challenging periods for Appleseed.”
Co-founders Bob Bachner, Bert Pogrebin, and Gail Erickson similarly describe Mark as a thoughtful, kind, and helpful colleague. “His interest and advice was always welcome,” Bert says.
“During the weeks leading to the establishment of Appleseed, Mark Joelson was so great to work with,” co-founder Ralph Nader recalls. “He was responsive from the outset - reflective, analytic, enthusiastic, generous, and always positive when barriers had to be overcome. He was also modest about his professional accomplishments, including his celebrated treatise on international anti-trust law. Joel was a knowledgeable, gentle soul who got things done. We will so miss his character and counsel.”
You can read more about Mark’s extraordinary life in his memoir, The Joelsons in the Twentieth Century, and his obituary, available online here.
We are deeply grateful for Mark’s role in founding and building the Appleseed Network. His commitment to justice continues to be an inspiration to all of us here at Appleseed.
Interim Executive Director
The Appleseed Foundation