Obituary: Marc Jargow

(Photo by Saeger Rubenstein)

On July 26 long-time Woodstock activist, father, and friend, Marc Jargow died after stoic struggle against terminal illness. He was 68 years old.

Marc was the first son to Anita and Jack Jargow of Ellenville, NY. He grew up in and around the family restaurant on the edge of the Borscht belt in its heyday. In 1960, when the Jargows migrated to Southern California for three years, Marc was twelve, his brother Scott, four. The beats were on the move and a teen-aged Marc avidly soaked it up. But his folks couldn’t make a go of it on the coast, and Jargow finished high school at Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn circa ‘66, and enrolled in Brooklyn College. But a revolution was brewing in the streets, and Marc couldn’t possibly miss out on that. Little surprise he was soon mud-sliding at the Woodstock Festival in ‘69.

After making the scene in Manhattan, paying the bills by a driving cab, and ever more frequent visits to “up to the country,” Jargow picked up the carpentry trade in Sullivan County where he met Marie Martinez in Liberty. The couple married and bore their extraordinary son Louis in ‘88 before hopping over the Catskills to become Woodstockers at last.


Marc first found work at Print Express as a computer technician, and as graphic designer for Erik Holmlin at “Dharmaware.” It all too briefly morphed into “The Katmandu Cafe,” where Marc was ever-busy and ever-smiling. He found another job across the street at The Woodstock Center for Photography where he worked in the darkroom. Perhaps too self-effacing (or too damned busy) Marc’s own perfectionist journey as photographer is not known to the public, a slight which will be soon remedied by Lauren Piperno who has been designated executor of his photo archives. Blessed with the tinkerer’s touch Marc could fix anything. But it was more his heart and wit which made him indispensable to numerous friends, including Paul McMahon, Ira Schepetin, Phil Void, the monks and sprawling sangha of KTD, as well as Marc’s comrades at the Woodstock Fire Department where he volunteered.

“Jargow” became driver and “court photographer” for The Dharma Bums and associated pirates. He attended three Kalachakra ceremonies as photographer, including the week-long event lead by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Barcelona in ‘94. This proximity to Buddhism of course had a strong “trickle down” effect.

Marie died of a congenital illness in the mid 90’s and Marc’s brother Scotty joined the household to help raise young Louis. Nevertheless Marc served in 2000 as chairman of The Environmental Commission, where it was his proposal which brought recycling bins to town. In addition to such local activism Marc’s progressive politics resulted in an event best described by his son:

“Deeply committed and entrenched in the anti globalization movement, my dad was a member of the NYC indyMedia Committee which is a powerful hub of information and news made by and for radical activists. The pinnacle of this activism was his attendance of the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City to protest the FTAA in 2001. The Anti-globalization movement caused more chaos and resistance than Canada has seen in years. The protesters blockaded major avenues, fought the riot police and also brought beautiful floats and tremendous puppets. Marc always liked to remind me that he was one of three journalists with full access and press badges to both the actual summit events and the underground anti media site. In fact, he was sitting on a shuttle bus from a hotel to the opening ceremonies of the summit when he realized that then-President George W. Bush and then-President Vicente Fox of Mexico were sitting across from each other on the same bus. Fox glared at Bush and said loudly in Spanish that he wished that the radical Venezuelan Present Chavez had been invited to the summit, which made everyone including my dad laugh really loud.”

Marc Jargow was justifiably proud of a full-scholarship education garnered by Louis, who, in a rarely awarded post, is presently an associate professor of Political Science at the New School in New York City, before having fully earned his Ph.D. from that institution.

Nearing the end of his protracted illness Marc attended Gelek Rimpoche’s last “White Tara” ceremony at Cooper Union. He was visited often by his inner circle, Louis, and was attended with untiring care by his dear friend and companion Lauren Piperno. Marc died looking into early morning sunlight last Wednesay.

He is survived by his son Louis, his bother Scott, his Uncles Ed and Harvey, Aunt Fern, Cousins Harold, Felice, Steve, Chip, Stewie, Nikki, Sherrie and Brynn, and close friends Andy, Ira, Lauren, Phil, Erik, Paul, Saeger, Jesse and Pascal.

His memorial will be held at the Mothership Gallery (6 Hillcrest Ave Woodstock NY ) Friday August 4 starting at 6 p.m.

There is one comment

  1. Karmik

    I knew Marc as an extension of The Dharma Bums family, as both he and i were …….. We always got along with one another. Never a bad word between us. Even though i’d only known him for 10 or so years, it seemed like it was longer. He was a fixture in Woodstock, like an old couch or picnic table that just seemed to belong. He will be missed !

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