Jake Kreshtool passed on April 11th at the age of 98. I just found about this via a call from a relative. Jake was my mentor in environmental activism and other aspects of life. So much to be said about him… labor lawyer, civil liberties activist, naval officer (WW2 vet), longtime head of Delaware Citizens for Clean Air, Democratic candidate for Governor of Delaware, filed the first-ever citizens suit under the Clean Air Act…..
Jake was the dean of Delaware environmentalists and probably the last standing member of the group, the generation, that lead the fight for the Delaware Coastal Zone Act. He was a longtime supporter of Green Delaware, member of our Steering Committee, generator of creative ideas for getting the message across…..
Jake once ended a speech at the Delaware Nature Society–not my favorite organization–with this, said loudly: “NEVER BE REASONABLE.” He knew what he was talking about.
The last time I talked to Jake, a few months ago, he’d bought a bicycle and was considering buying a car.
I’ll write more about Jake when I can get my thoughts and emotions together.
“services will be 12:30 pm, Friday, April 21, 2017 in the Chapel at the Jewish Community Cemetery, 401 Foulk Road, Wilmington, DE 19803. Shiva will be observed approximately 2:30 pm, Friday, April 21 at Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth Synagogue, 4412 Washington Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19802.”
Below is the obit published in the Wilmington News Journal this morning, April 20, 2017:
1918 – 2017
Wilmington native Jacob Kreshtool passed away April 11, 2017, at his winter home in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, at the age of 98.
Born September 6, 1918 to Bertha Goberman and Isadore Kreshtool, Jacob was a graduate of Wilmington High School, the University of Delaware, and the University of Miami Law School. He served in the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in the North Atlantic during WWII and in Norfolk during the Korean War.
Mr. Kreshtool had a passion to protect those who had little voice or power. Kreshtool was a labor lawyer whose heart was always with the underdog. He championed civil rights, labor, and clean air when it was not popular to do so. He was an enthusiastic civil rights activist and a committed environmentalist, using his resources as a lawyer to defend the disenfranchised and, as President of the Delaware Citizens for Clean Air, to wage legal battles against polluting corporations.
Mr. Kreshtool ran as the Democratic candidate for Governor in 1988. With no hope of winning against a popular incumbent, he undertook his quixotic campaign solely to publicize the liberal take on Gov. Castle’s agenda, especially concerning its negative impact on the environment and the public health.
He had a happy 62-year marriage, and was devoted to his wife Betty until her death in 2013. He was predeceased by his three siblings, Bernard, Louis, and Freida Barsky and is survived by his sisters-in-law Constance Kreshtool and Thelma Deitcher; his children, Laurie and Ken; and his nieces and nephews and their families.
Mr. Kreshtool’s infectious sense of fun accompanied everything he did. From his provocative picket signs to his brave attempts at juggling, his wit, humor, skepticism toward authority, original and creative mind, enthusiasm for life, and childlike joy in simple pleasures will long be remembered.
Funeral services will be 12:30 pm, Friday, April 21, 2017 in the Chapel at the Jewish Community Cemetery, 401 Foulk Road, Wilmington, DE 19803. Shiva will be observed approximately 2:30 pm, Friday, April 21 at Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth Synagogue, 4412 Washington Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19802.
Please send condolences in care of Schoenberg Memorial Chapel, 519 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE 19809 which will be forwarded to Mr. Kreshtool’s children. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests telling a good story involving one of Jake’s antics or adventures, or donating to the Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org).
Executive Director, Green Delaware