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Jerry Rubin Remembered as ‘Spiritual Green Beret’

December 1, 1994

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Former antiwar radical Jerry Rubin was remembered at his funeral Thursday as the ″spiritual Green Beret″ of the ’60s generation who brought the same intensity to his capitalistic ventures in the ’90s.

Rubin, who died Monday at age 56 a week after being hit by a car while jaywalking, was buried at Hillside Memorial Park after fond remembrances by his associates and friends from the two distinct chapters of his life.

″Jerry symbolized the aspirations of youth,″ former Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver told reporters. ″We all love Jerry and look forward to being with him in another place at another time.″

″He was always the spark of nonconformity,″ said state Sen. Tom Hayden, who, like Rubin, was one of the Chicago Seven defendants tried on charges stemming from the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Cleaver and Hayden were among some 250 people who gathered to mourn Rubin. Only a few showed up in anything like the counterculture garb of the ’60s. One wore a T-shirt with a peace sign.

In a eulogy, longtime friend Sandy Ellsberg called Rubin ″the Baby Boomers’ spiritual Green Beret.″ She said Rubin was ″the most intense person I’ve ever met in my life.″

The chapel service drew a mix of old radical associates and his 1990s sales colleagues. Both groups saluted his idealism and energy.

In recent years, Rubin was involved in selling a nutritional drink called Wow and Focus.

″He chose to change America through multilevel marketing instead of fighting the government,″ said Ron Caskey, a colleague. ″Jerry brought a spirit to the company. If there wasn’t a cause, Jerry would make one.″

″Some say he sold out, but Jerry was willing to have the courage to evolve,″ his former wife, Mimi Leonard Fleischman, told reporters.

Actress Sally Kirkland called for a standing ovation for Rubin: ″Thank you, Jerry, for teaching me to stand out. I’ll never stop standing up for what I believe.″

Rubin and a band of radicals that included Paul Krassner and the late Abbie Hoffman formed the Youth International Party, or Yippies, and were major players during anti-Vietnam War demonstrations.

Rubin and four others were convicted in the Chicago Seven trial, but the convictions were overturned on appeal.

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