Two cohousing founders lost this week: Michael Black, Roberta Wilson
From: Raines Cohen (
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2008 08:59:07 -0700 (PDT)
I am sorry to have to report this week that two people who have made
noted contributions to cohousing have died of heart attacks this week.

Architect Michael Black, 70, died Tuesday. He lived at two Sonoma
County (Northern California) cohousing neighborhoods he created:
Yulupa Cohousing (Santa Rosa, CA) of late and previously at Two Acre
Wood (Sebastopol, CA); he was in the process of co-creating the first
affordable-homeowner new-build cohousing, Sequoia Village, also in

I saw Michael a few weeks ago as he and his wife Alexandra Hart were
giving a cohousing presentation for a forming group at a meditation
center on the San Francisco peninsula. He was energetic, active, and
fully present, and I only later learned that he had had a heart attack
a few months earlier. He did make reference to his mortality, in terms
of the urgency to do some presentations and share some insights at the
coming National Cohousing Conference in Boston this June... "I don't
know how many more I'll make it to," he told me.

I was skeptical at first, when I met him, of his concept that you
could create a successful cohousing community with minimal
participation during the development process from the future
residents, but I have since visited and help facilitate at Yulupa
Cohousing and I became a believer.

We will sorely miss him, his leadership and inspiration.

We've set up a a memorial page (with links to his site and a newspaper
obituary) and welcome memories and stories at the Northern California
Cohousing website:

I'll share information about where donations may be sent in his memory
as soon as we get that; a fund has been set up.
Roberta Wilson, 53, passed away Sunday; she was a co-founder of
Winslow Cohousing (Bainbridge Island, WA) and was noted for her
visibility in the Great Peace March of 1986 (which I understand other
cohousing leaders were also a part of); cohousing neighbors commented
on her passion for social justice and sense of peace.

You can find her obituary in the Seattle Times:

I understand the cohousing conference planning team and national board
is meeting to determine what kind of honoring of their work and
contributions (and other communities-movement leaders like Geoph
Kozeny that we've lost this year) and learning from their work and
lives can fit into the national conference.

This might be a good time to remind ourselves, at our communities:
take care of ourselves, and of each other.


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