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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Long Live the Positive Spirit of David Glover, Director of OCCUR (RIP)
Friends, family celebrate Oakland community leader David Glover
OAKLAND -- Some people struggle for years to find their calling.
David Glover, an unrivaled leader of community self-improvement and social justice, found his in Oakland, the city he adopted and represented for more than three decades.
Glover died Wednesday at age 60.
The only struggle he lost was to the cancer doctors diagnosed in January.
"He fought hard," his older sister Angela Glover Blackwell said. "He never gave up."
His wife, Robin Bailer Glover, echoed her sister-in-law.
"Once he believed in something, you did not ask him to move," she said. "He didn't shy away from anyone."
But he was happiest when helping people advocate for themselves.
"He was dedicated to equality, he was dedicated to his family and he was an outstanding humanitarian," said his brother, Philmore G. Glover, the oldest of the three siblings. "That sums my brother up."
David Glover's political dedication came from his parents, Philmore and Rose Glover, a high school administrator and an elementary schoolteacher, respectively.
Glover was born in 1952 in St. Louis and by the time he was a student at Beaumont High School there, he was leading a protest against the administration for student rights.
He studied journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and considered a career as an editorial cartoonist, Glover Blackwell said.
She was the one who picked up her brother from the airport in 1971
after his college graduation.
"He arrived in Oakland full of excitement and energy and ready to begin that part of his life," she said.
An early photograph shows Glover at a protest in Oakland, megaphone in hand.
After a brief time at the Bay Area Urban League, he was hired by the Oakland Citizens Committee for Urban Renewal, or OCCUR, a not-for-profit organization focused on lifting the city's low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
He started as the director of the Oakland Pride Project and fought the early battles against greenlining in Oakland's low-income neighborhoods.
In 1982, he became the executive director.
Glover was fervent and sincere but always polished and polite, said Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb, who hired Glover at OCCUR. "He understood the delicate balance of integrity," Cobb said. "That's why he was so liked."
In fact, a group of business and community leaders considered encouraging Glover to run for mayor. When Ron Dellums ran instead, he wanted Glover as his chief of staff, an offer Glover turned down to continue his advocacy work. He was part of a group that traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about foreclosure policies that were devastating Oakland residents. And he made his case on behalf of Oakland residents to executives like JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon during the banking crisis.
"David has been a driving force in revitalizing neighborhoods and communities," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said. "Mr. Glover's tireless efforts to improve the lives and conditions of low-income residents, neighborhoods and communities has been nationally recognized and commended."
Glover's love of Oakland extended to the Raiders, Warriors and A's, although he continued to champion the St. Louis Cardinals. In his wallet he kept photos of his two sons, Drew, 27, and Trent, 19. His cellphone held a long list of contacts that he kept. Phone calls at night were not unusual.
"Everyone called him when they were in a quandary," his wife said.
Sondra Alexander, OCCUR's director of administration, said Glover's dedication and work ethic will never be replicated.
"He has been an inspiration to all," Alexander said. "He took OCCUR to a whole different level; it grew by leaps and bounds under his leadership."
Alexander said Glover always kept a positive attitude, regardless of the struggle, and required every OCCUR employee to keep a motto at their desk: "It's never as good as it looks, and it's never as bad as it seems, but it always gets better."
Memorial services are scheduled 1 p.m. June 1 at the First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway. In lieu of flowers, his family encourages donations to OCCUR.