Passings: Jackie Guthrie

Jackie Guthrie, who married folk singer Arlo Guthrie in 1969, died Sunday, October 14, of inoperable liver cancer at the family’s winter home in Sebastian, Fla. She was 68.

Since I am battling the same form of cancer, this is something I wanted to blog.

On October 2, the family posted an update on Guthrie’s Rising Son Records website noting,

“When one of every two men, and one of every three women in America are likely to have cancer, something is terribly wrong with the way things are. Jackie has been the best advocate for rectifying that situation for years. Her posts are everywhere throughout the internet warning against vaccines, fluoride, unhealthy GM foods and a host of other concerns.”

I’m not sure why Jackie Guthrie’s liver cancer was inoperable. Perhaps it was diagnosed too late. For some reason that does not make sense to me, when your cancer passes a certain point, doctors will not even consider giving you a transplant. Seems to me that’s when you need one the most.

According to the Wikipedia page on liver cancer, “Globally as of 2008 liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death at 700,000 per year, after lung cancer (1.4 million deaths) and stomach cancer (740,000 deaths).”

Jackie Guthrie was born in Salt Lake City and grew up in Malibu, California. She first met Arlo Guthrie in 1968 while she was working as a cashier in The Troubador, the famous music club on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. She had three children with Arlo and a daughter with singer, David Crosby. Writing about his wife, Arlo posted this on Facebook:

Photograph by John Kloepper, Guthrie Family Tour, Socorro NM, 2MAY07

“There are loves, and there are LOVES. Ours was and will continue to be what it has always been – A very great love. We didn’t always like each other. From time to time there were moments when we’d have our bags packed by the door. But, there was this great love that we shared from the moment we met – a recognition – It’s YOU! And we would always return to it year after year, decade after decade and I believe life after lifetime.”

In recent years, Jackie was the videographer during Arlo’s concert tours. This year, there were times when she was so weak that she could barely hold up the camera. Nonetheless, her spirit was resolute to the very end, for as the Guthrie clan also said in their update, “no one in this family is going to sleep without a fight.”

I interviewed Arlo many years ago on the radio, and naturally I’ve loved his music ever since I first hear that famous line, “You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant (excepting Alice).” He seemed like a nice, normal guy. He had a good chance of contracting Huntington’s disease, which killed his father, the legendary Woody Guthrie. As far as I know, it’s passed him by.

Woody once sang, “Dead or alive it’s a hard road.” ‘Nuff said for today.


4 thoughts on “Passings: Jackie Guthrie

  1. A friend’s partner had a liver transplant a few years back – doing very well… I can’t imagine how you feel when all around you are reminders. Sometimes I think I’ve “got” impermanence, and then I realise that I haven’t at all other than a flimsy intellectual appreciation, and perhaps a greater tolerance of how it manifests in the world – but when I have to face my own impermanence, that will be the acid test… The greatest teachers are those who have truly faced their own. Take care David.

  2. This is just a sad story..When I heard this I cried for the Guthrie family.. Arlo is and always be an inspiration to me,though im only 28 I grew up listening to his music as well as the legendary “Woody Guthrie”… My mother l,may she rest in peace,was at Woodstock 1969 and she told me many amazing stories of those 3 wonderful days of Peace and Music… My mother was a “flower child” and I was raised listening to what I would call REAL MUSIC!!!!… For the Guthrie family I know its coming up on 2 years since the passing of Jackie and I would just like to say I hope that day you can all come together and celebrate her life…. And to Mr Arlo Guthrie i will see you in January 29 2014 in Jacksonville Florida at the Florida Theatre….CANT WAIT…. Lots of love ????????????????????

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