Merrie Zaretsky

Merrie Zaretsky passed away on February 22, 2022 at the age of 84. She passed gently in her own home. No ambulances or hospitalization, just a quiet holding of hands and peaceful release per her wishes.

Merrie was born in NYC on March 25, 1938, the daughter of Betty ‘Bear’ Lee. She moved to Woodstock in the early 1970s as part of the beatnik/hippy/refusenik movement and lived most of her life in Shady, NY.

Merrie was an artist, craftsperson, teacher, social worker and counselor. As a self-employed painter, sculptor, mixed media artist and poet, she produced her own opus of myriad expressions. Merrie was also a town focaliser. She was a proud Green Party member, an aid to the local Transition Movement, and a crisis line operator at Family of Woodstock from early on. She rallied against corporate graft, toxic waste dumps and GMO technology. She was involved in Rashneesh inspired experiments in local communal living. Merrie was a proud homesteader. Besides being a part of the Woodstock homemade houses movement, she practiced organic gardening and heated with firewood exclusively for decades. Mixing self-sufficient solitude with participating in local social scenes, she always knew what was going on in Woodstock. She enjoyed the music, the parties and the gatherings as well as the wildlife, sunlight and growth of nature in the Catskill Park environment.

Merrie was a seer, a healthy critical logician and a self appointed public advisor. As part of the Woodstock psychological safety net, Merrie provided and traded Jungian collective symbology, therapeutic insight and intuition for many unnamed peoples. As a fair and loving mother and grandmother and as a friend to many, Merrie taught us to put in the hard work, to make a world free from capitalist graft while balancing self-sacrifice with the removal of denial and letting joy flow. As a wise and potent feminist, Merrie tried to change this world for the better. As a staunch realist, Merrie was still a rolling stone and a dreamer. Independent, eccentric and original, she will be missed.

Merrie is survived by her son Adam Zaretsky and her grandson Blu Zaretsky.

A memorial is planned Thursday the 30th of March from 4PM to 8PM at The Mothership: 6 Sergeant Richard Quinn Drive, aka 6 Hillcrest Ave in Woodstock.

For more info, contact Adam Zaretsky: vastalschool@gmail.com, phone 845-663-3357.

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