1960 – 1991

Reproduced from the Center Review, Spring 1992 issue, a publication of the former Center for Psychological Studies in the Nuclear Age, with permission from the John E. Mack Institute.

By Sally Mack

Gale Warner, a friend and colleague of the Center, and a warmly enthusiastic, creative, and inspiring promoter of Soviet-American friendship and mutual empowerment, died Dec. 28, 1991, at Sidney Farber Cancer Institute in Boston at age 31. She is survived by her husband, David E. Kreger, MD., of Gloucester, Mass., her parents and her brother and his family.

In the mid-1980s, Gale and David, both member of the Center’s Academic Council, pioneered a series of Soviet-American medical student wilderness adventure exchanges…They were co-founders of GOLUBKA, a Soviet-American network supporting independent peace and environmental activists in the Soviet Union (now Commonwealth of Independent States) by distributing information and conducting workshops on ecology, empowerment, nonviolence, and global security.

Gale was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford in the biological sciences and had a master’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts. She traveled to all seven continents and conducted environmental education programs in California and Massachusetts. As a freelance journalist and photographer, Gale wrote and illustrated articles on the environment and international relations.

Her first book, written with co-author Michael Shuman and published in 1987, is titled Citizen Diplomats: Pathfinders in Soviet-American Relations – and How You Can Join Them. Her second book, about Soviet women and men working with glasnost, The Invisible Threads: Independent Soviets Working for Global Awareness and Social Transformation, was published in 1991…A collection of her moving and provocative poems, Breathing the Light, has just been published.

Gale’s optimism, humor, and appreciation of life permeated her work, her leadership style, and even her terminal illness. She frequently shared with others her love of music, reverence for nature, enthusiastic pleasure in outdoor activities, and deep spiritual awareness. In letters full of courage, humility, and openness, she gave strength to her family and the many friends throughout the world who had worked with her and with whom she shared the meaningfulness of her life after she became ill.

The following words, written of October 1991, reflect Gale’s remarkable personal spirit and her lasting contribution to our world.

Aug. 19, 1991, is a day I will never forget. As we drove to the hospital for my critical three-day inpatient chemotherapy treatment, we heard the radio say that Gorbachev was under house arrest. We brought the laptop into my hospital room, hooked up the modem, and began sending and receiving electronic mail messages to our GOLUBKA partners and friends in Moscow every few hours. Igor, Zhenya, Vanya, Natasha, and the others were true heroes of the resistance. They worked day and night, printing out materials on nonviolent civilian resistance (excerpts from the nonviolence anthology we had published in Russian a few months before), running around the city finding photocopy machines to make thousands of copies, and handing them out to people on the barricades, who surrounded them by the hundreds and snatched up the copies eagerly. As the messages from them grew more hopeful, as the images on television confirmed that the miracle was true, powerful drugs continued to pour into my veins, and I began to believe that my own internal coup of lymphoma hardliners would be as thoroughly routed! On Wednesday morning, I cried when I saw the tanks leaving the city and thanked God I had lived to see this and to know we had played our small but significant role.