Monday, December 14, 2009

Remembering Dan Gaby

The education reform movement lost one of its most committed warriors, Dan Gaby, a few days ago.  I knew Dan and no one was more committed to helping children trapped in failing schools (and New Jersey has LOTS of them!).  Here is a brief note from the Alliance for School Choice and below is a longer email with more background on Dan:

Remembering Dan Gaby

The school choice movement tonight mourns the loss of Dan Gaby. Dan, who led the fight for school choice in New Jersey as executive director of Excellent Education for Everyone (E3), passed away last evening at the age of 75. Dan started his career as a copywriter at an advertising firm, worked his way up to become a partner in the firm, and eventually led that firm to become one of New Jersey's largest and most prominent. A proud Democrat, he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1972 and later forged a strong bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans to support school choice in the Garden State - an initiative that has gained significant traction. The entire school choice movement tonight recognizes and celebrates Dan's tireless and groundbreaking work on behalf of low-income children, and our thoughts and prayers are with Dan's family and friends.


Dear Friends: 

On this day that I heard the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, guide and mentor Dan Gaby, my heart aches to connect with him. There is so much to express, but it is too painful. But to suppress it all is not possible.

Of my many encounters with Dan, two stand out that express his battle against the forces of those who stand on the other side of the Culture War and seek to trample religion in the name religious freedom.

He hosted a school choice meeting at his home last August 13, with leading school choice advocates Bret Schundler, Bob Schundler and others. The meeting should have been cancelled because Dan was ill in bed all day. He opened the meeting by telling us that he could not see cancelling the meeting, and he continued to lead that historic meeting over the next few hours. The fruits of that meeting are now in the ripening stage.

He dedicated his life to the cause of freedom. Although he was blessed with great success and material wealth, he devoted every bit of energy to those less fortunate. Which brings to mind the other encounter that expresses his lifelong struggle for religious liberty. In July of 2008 he sent a letter to the New Jersey Jewish News responding to a letter by Jay Gartman of the ACLU claiming school choice to be unconstitutional. The newspaper refused to print Dan's letter. Here it is, forwarded just as I had received it, followed by background information, together with the CC's

May his life's work, and all that is now being done to save our children, government and all of society, be a great legacy to him for generations to come. May his soul be bound in the bond of eternal life.

Dan, we miss you greatly and will never forget you.

Your friend and student forever.



Dan Gaby

Executive Director

Excellent Education for Everyone

 Political Background

1964    Chairman, Johnson-Humphrey Campaign, Somerset County (NJ)
1968    Co-Chair of Eugene McCarthy delegates from NJ at the Democratic National Convention
1969 Former Chairman, State New Democratic Coalition (McCarthy, Kennedy, McGovern supporters)
1970    Former Chairman, State Democratic Policy Council
1972 Former Primary candidate for Democratic U.S. Senate Nomination
1973 Chairman, NJ Citizens for Byrne for Governor
1976 State Chairman, Jimmy Carter for President
1977 Chairman, NJ Citizens for Byrne for Governor
1980 State Chairman, Jimmy Carter for President
1989 State Chairman, Citizens for Florio for Governor
1993 Former State Chairman, Woodrow Wilson Society
Education Background
Former Member, Rutgers University Board of Trustees
Former Member, Rutgers Foundation Board of Overseers
Former Chairman, Rutgers Alumni Government Relations  Committee
Former Vice Chairman, Essex County College Board
Former Vice President, New Jersey State Board of Education
Former Member, New Jersey Business/Higher Education Forum
Executive Director, Excellent Education for Everyone
Previous Community Service Positions
NJ State Board of Education (Vice President)
Essex County College Board of Trustees (Vice President)
Rutgers University Board of Trustees
Rutgers Foundation Board of Overseers
Governor's Capital Needs Commission
American Associations of Advertising Agencies (Board of Governors, NY Chapter)
National Society to Prevent Blindness (NJ Chairman)
Garden State Arts Center Foundation Board



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