Ralph DiGia, a dimunitive man with a great soul, one of the "few small candles" who spent his whole life trying to oppose the war machine, died this weekend in New York. (I was just a few miles away, ignorant of his fate, hobnobbing with writers in Manhattan at the AWP conference.) Here's the first obit:
Ralph DiGia, lifelong war resister and pacifist died this afternoon in New York City. Ralph had a bad fall a couple of weeks ago, broke his hip, and has had a series of serious health problems following his admission to St. Vincent's Hospital.
Ralph, 93, has been the heart and soul of War Resisters League since he came on staff shortly after the end of WWII and his release from federal prison, where he had served a term for refusing service as a conscientious objector.
An associate of A. J. Muste, Bayard Rustin, Dave Dellinger, Barbara Deming, and many others, Ralph held key posts over the years with Liberation magazine as well as being on the staffof the War Resisters League. While Ralph was not a public speaker or a writer, he played a key a role within the radical pacifist movement, and was central to many of the major antiwar actions of the past six decades.
Ralph was deeply loved by the movement, especially by those at his political home, the War Resisters League. He is survived by his wife, Karin DiGia, his children, and his two brothers.
I had the opportunity to meet and interview him at the War Resisters League a few years ago, while I was doing research for my book, Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront, Since 1941. Here's that interview.