Save the Pine Bush Lost Good Friends – Jim Travers, Save the Pine Bush Volunteer

ALBANY, NY: Lynne Jackson was asked to speak at Jim’s memorial service. Here are her edited comments.

Jim was a passionate advocate for the environment. With Save the Pine Bush, he worked tirelessly opposing the expansion of the Albany Landfill in the Pine Bush. But, he especially worked to stop the City of Albany from operating a landfill on 361 acres of beautiful woodland in the Town of Coeymans, where he lived.

Jim read and researched landfills extensively. He knew his facts. He attended countless public hearings and public meetings. He worked for years and years speaking out about how important it was not to let the City of Albany make this beautiful land in Coeymans into a dump.

In 2018, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation purchased this woodland from the City of Albany for a preserve. All of Jim’s hard work paid off — and we all won. Instead of a dump, Coeymans now has this beautiful woodland for hiking, bird-watching, hunting, fishing and winter activities like cross-country skiing.

We owe a big thanks to Jim for his foresight and advocacy to preserve this land.

I know Jim was involved in many other environmental issues, especially as related to toxic chemicals. But, Jim was very modest about his achievements, and I do not know of all of the other issues he worked on.

Once, Jim regaled me with a story about his attendance at a huge protest over housing issues in Washington, DC. I wish I could remember the details but, what I do remember is that this protest involved Jim actually stealing the rolodex of a famous politician and the police. If anyone knows this story, I would very much like to hear about it! [Note: turns out, a lot of Jim’s friends knew this story. Jim took Michael Deaver’s rolodex. Deaver was White House Deputy Chief of Staff under Ronald Reagan. The rolodex was returned before Jim and his companions left.]

There is no doubt that Jim worked hard and was effective with his advocacy for the environment and other justice issues. In addition, he was a really caring person. Not only did he work for justice on all kinds of issues, he also was a good and caring friend.

I spoke to Jim only a few weeks ago. About his health, he told me it was not looking good. I told him I wanted to come visit, and he said, oh no, that his apartment was too messy. I had planned to go see him when my husband and I returned from being away. Unfortunately, I waited too long, and Jim was gone.

Had I been able to see Jim one more time, I would have told him that he did so much for the environment, for housing, for people. Who cares if his apartment was stuffed with paper from a life-time of working for justice? The big secret about activists like Jim, is that people working hard for justice are too busy advocating for and helping their fellow humans to be concerned about filing their papers and keeping their houses tidy for visitors.

I will miss Jim. We lost him too soon.

Here is Jim’s obituary.

James A.Travers III, passed away peacefully on the eve of August 31, 2022, after losing his battle with lymphoma. James, aka Jim or Jimmy, was born on October 31, 1948, to the late Helen K. Travers (Kennedy) and the late James A.Travers II, in Freeport on Long Island. Jim was the youngest of three children. Jim graduated from Wantaugh High School in 1967.

Jim was a great prankster and he and his friends loved playing pranks on each other as well on some other unsuspecting victims. He also enjoyed surfing and going to Jones Beach. Jim married Judy Shaw in 1969 and they had two children, Cheryln and Jason. They moved to Albany and eventually separated.

Jim raised Cheryln and Jason as a single parent, dedicating his life to them. Jim was a wonderful and loving father. Jim fought against social injustices his entire life. He would help anyone, without exception, and his kindness and humility were appreciated by all who knew him.

He became involved with United Tenants of Albany in the 1970s, when he had housing problems. He remained an active supporter of tenants’ rights and affordable housing throughout his life. Many of the folks he met through United Tenants became lifelong friends. Jim was also passionate about the environment and was active with Save the Pine Bush, fighting to preserve the land, its rare ecosystem, and the Karner Blue butterfly. Many environmental causes benefitted from Jim’s activism.

Jim was predeceased by his sister, Sharon McGlynn; and his son, Jason. He is survived by his sister, Dawn Daugherty (John); his daughter, Cheryln Travers; his son-in-law, Eric Phoenix; his two grandchildren, Bazeil Phoenix and Zinnaira Mansingh; as well as his two great-granddaughters, Fearra and Aleiya Mansingh. He is also survived by three nieces and a nephew. A memorial service was held on Saturday, September 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Society, 405 Washington Ave., Albany. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to United Tenants of Albany or Save the Pine Bush.