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Westchester Mourns Folk Singer, Environmental Activist Pete Seeger, 94

Folk singer Pete Seeger passed away at 94.
Folk singer Pete Seeger passed away at 94. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Manhattanville College

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Pete Seeger, the acclaimed folk singer and environmental activist, died Monday at the age of 94.

Seeger died of natural causes at New York Presbyterian Hospital according to his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson..

Seeger was known in Westchester and throughout the Hudson Valley for his environmental activism and his efforts to clean up the Hudson River.

He founded Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in 1966 and the organization's efforts led to the passage of the Clean Water Act and Seeger being named a Clean Water Hero by Clean Water Network.

Seeger's activism to save the Hudson helped spur General Electric and the EPA to develop a plan to remove toxic PCBs from the river. 

Seeger founded the Clearwater Festival, which takes place every year in Croton Point Park in Croton. According to the festival's website,  the festival initially helped raise funds to build the sloop Clearwater which has become a floating classroom in the Hudson River.

More than 400,000 school children and tens of thousands of adults have sailed aboard the Clearwater locally and dozens of national and international programs have been modeled after the ship-based environmental education programs pioneered by Clearwater according to the Clearwater website. 

Growing up, he attended a boarding school in Ridgefield.

An acclaimed folk singer who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, famous songs include "Turn! Turn! Turn!", "We Shall Overcome", "Erie Canal", and "If I Had A Hammer." 

A multiple Grammy winner, he was up for a Grammy this year for Best Spoken World Album for "The Storm King." Seeger lost to funnyman Stephen Colbert. 

In 2006, Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to Seeger by recording We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, an interpretation of 13 Seeger songs.

Most recently, Seeger participated in a lecture at Manhattanville College in Purchase. Seeger addressed what it means to be a creative artist in times of social upheaval and social change, and examined the roles that writing and language have played throughout his career, according to the college.


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