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Obituary: Jay Halcomb

Thursday, December 6th, 2012 | Posted by

Jay Halcomb, a prominent environmentalist who fought against forest-to-vineyard conversions and a timber harvest plan at Bohemian Grove, died Saturday at his home in Guerneville. He was 66.

Halcomb had lung cancer that spread to his brain, said his wife, Françoise Fleuriau-Halcomb.

“Unfortunately, he had an addiction, and that was smoking,” she said. “That is what took him to the tomb far too early.”

Halcomb was chairman of the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club since 2009 and served in other capacities with the organization.

Jay Halcomb.

He also was co-founder of the forestry watchdog group Russian River Residents Against Unsafe Logging and served on the Steering Committee of the Russian River Watershed Council.

As chair of the Redwood Chapter’s Forest Protection Committee, Halcomb led efforts to prevent forests from being converted into vineyards, including the proposed Preservation Ranch project on the Sonoma Coast.

He also played a key role in the Sierra Club’s settlement with the Bohemian Club that limits the amount of timber harvested at the club’s iconic retreat in Monte Rio.

“He’s going to be missed because we really have a hard time with people dedicated to a specific issue these days,” said Keith Kaulum, chair of the Redwood Chapter’s Legal Committee.

Halcomb was born in Santa Monica on Sept. 25, 1946.

He attended Sonoma State University and Arizona State University, earning degrees in philosophy at both institutions.

He taught university-level courses in logic and contributed technical articles to a number of journals and symposia. Since 2002, he was a partner in H&S Information Systems, a consulting firm in logic and computer systems.

“It was very difficult to win an argument with him,” Fleuriau-Halcomb said. “He had opinions that he stuck to with a great diligence.”

She said the pair met through an online dating service. He signed his e-mails to her with the name, “Arsène,” a reference to the gentleman thief that appears in crime fiction novels written by French writer Maurice Leblanc.

“I thought it was an interesting literary reference. Arsène was always lots of fun, and very clever,” Fleuriau-Halcomb said.

The couple were married in 2000 and about five years later moved to Guerneville so that Halcomb could take care of his ailing father.

Halcomb doted on the couple’s dog, Femme, and their cat, Majolie. He also enjoyed spending time on the computer.

At his request, there will be no memorial services. A tribute is planned during an environmental awards dinner in Santa Rosa in March.

— Derek Moore

Writer Spotlight

Stephen Gross, The River correspondent

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