From the Editors – Green Horizon Magazine #28, Fall/Winter 2014
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Lloyd Parker Wells died May 25, 2013 at the age of 92. Lloyd was with us at the start of Green Horizon in 2003 and served on our Board until last year when he told us he was getting ready to depart. Lloyd was enormously important in helping us develop the magazine, offering a lot of good practical and visionary ideas, identifying priorities, feisty at times with his incisive questions and comments, and following through with substantial and very timely financial support.
Lloyd was a key figure in the revitalization of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. He, together with his wife Ellen (as Editor of the Chestnut Hill Local) pioneered a unique experiment in community democracy, what Lloyd called a “localized quasi- government.” Power was distributed; decision making came from the bottom up. Chestnut Hill obtained, and for years sustained, a high degree of autonomy (local control) within the wider reaches of the government of the city of Philadelphia, a relationship Lloyd justly described as a partnership. It was a model for the shape of things to come as people the world over are digging into their roots and searching for deep living at home. In the Chestnut Hill experiment, small business was favored, working people were respected, environmental and aesthetic realities were emphasized, and the hierarchy of class, though not dissolved, was greatly tempered.
Walter Fox, a close friend of Lloyd’s, wrote a memoriam following his death. He recounts the many sides of Lloyd’s personality, achievements, adventures and travels. Among the many things he mentions, he notes that Lloyd was an accomplished pilot, and served for a time as a commercial airline pilot; at another time he served as director of marine operations for the University of Pennsylvania’s underwater archaeological expedition to Bodrum, Turkey; at still another time he and Ellen moved to Crawford, Maine, where he converted a former hunting camp into a year-round dwelling, as well as being elected First Selectman of Crawford Township.
We love you Lloyd. Our sympathies for Ellen and family—and solidarity with her. Carla and I got to know him and Ellen in the past two decades after they moved to Falmouth, Maine and then, in the last few years, to Ft. Meyers, Florida. He joined the Maine Green Independent Party and worked in our gubernatorial campaigns. He was profoundly concerned about the degradation of the environment, the irresponsibility and greed of big corporations, the decline of democracy, and the onset of climate change. He grew deeply worried about the fate of our species. It was for him a crisis of survival. He told me several times that he had done very little—perhaps because he was measuring what he had done against the backdrop of the depth of the crisis. He said it without bitterness or rueful desire for remonstrative disagreement. He was a thorough realist as well as a person who refused to give up hope. To the end he was a man of high spirit, keen thinking, and exciting vision. He inspired so many people to do things, creative things, they never felt they could do. We love you Lloyd. Our condolences and feelings of solidarity to Ellen and family. — John Rensenbrink