From the Carrboro Citizen

Joe Herzenberg, longtime Chapel Hill Town Council member, Democratic Party stalwart, Greenways champion and an astute historian of local politics died today from complications of diabetes.

He left this world, we are told, surrounded by friends. Details of memorials to follow.

I met Joe way back in ’81 when my brother Steve and my friend Bill helped him run for Council. I remember sorting piles of literature in his Cobb Terrace home. Back then I was a visitor in Chapel Hill, didn’t really know much about Council or local politics. Joe struck me as a gentle soul – someone I generally didn’t associate with Town politics.

Over the years I’d run into Joe Downtown or at various community events. We’d talk about the changes going on in Chapel Hill, the weather, the latest from UNC. His presence was a predictable backdrop to the memories I accumulated the last couple decades in Chapel Hill.

In recent years, he’d come to Council in the role of Town historian, often gently reminding our leaders that our past informs our future. He was an echo of an earlier Chapel Hill – a Chapel Hill more liberal, more progressive and more neighborly than today.

Now he’s gone.

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