Thursday, March 31, 2016

Obituaries: George Gloss & Florrie Jacobs (1985)

George Gloss speaking from the platform on Boston Common.
Obituaries from the August 1985 issue of the Socialist Standard

George Gloss
On a soap-box on Boston Common, in a booming voice and clapping his hands for punctuation and emphasis, with newspaper clippings bulging from every pocket. George Gloss would deliver the socialist message to large crowds every Sunday afternoon, year after year: "There are millions of people who are hungry . . . there is an abundance of food available . . . let's get them together in a sane society". It is with sadness that we report the death of Comrade Gloss on 15 June, at his home near Boston.

George joined the World Socialist Movement in June, 1933. From the start he was an enthusiastic, active member taking part in all functions — business, propaganda and social. He had been on the Editorial Committee of The Western Socialist and was the National Secretary for many years. The NAC minutes he typed and circulated reflected his personal involvement and excitement with everything he did. They were single-spaced and several pages long (this was in the days before copy machines) and they went out all over the world. Often there would be copious personal additions to many of the recipients who wanted news from America — WSP style.

In 1954 he made a trip to Britain for the purpose of buying books (used books were his vocation), but the intent soon became a pilgrimage to as many of the SPGB branches as could be visited. Comrade Rab was his companion on this journey; together they gave and received a tumultuous greeting wherever they went. Many British readers will remember the excitement they created in London and Glasgow — much as we in the USA recall their account of the events and personalities they experienced.

George's ebullient nature was equally evident in his book ventures and he became somewhat of a Boston celebrity in recent years; he gave away many thousands of books and was the subject of hundreds of literary interviews. No stranger to the media, his passing was editorialised by the press, radio and television. Yet it must be said that no life-style diversion ever affected his enthusiasm for the socialist case or caused his convictions to waver at any time.

Florrie Jacobs
Florrie Jacobs died in early June aged 86. She joined the SPGB in the mid-thirties and supported her husband Dick in his work of founding socialist groups in places as far afield as Swansea, Southend and Poole. She was often the only other socialist at the outdoor meetings he held over so many years. Fellow socialists and sympathisers were always made welcome in her home and occasionally, when no other place was available, meetings were held in her living room. At conferences and delegate meetings she always helped with the catering, only giving up when chronic ill-health during the last decade of her life forced her into invalidism. She will be remembered with affection by her comrades.
Lily Lestor

1 comment:

Imposs1904 said...

George Gloss was a very well known antiquarian and secondhand bookseller back in the day. Here's a short Pathe News clip from 1964 about a giveaway of free books, and George Gloss is briefly featured at the 21/22 second point.