[sixties-l] Rosemary Woodruff Leary, Psychedelic Pioneer, Dies at 66 (fwd)

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Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 20:30:20 EST

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    Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 13:57:59 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Rosemary Woodruff Leary, Psychedelic Pioneer, Dies at 66

    Rosemary Woodruff Leary, Psychedelic Pioneer, Dies at 66

    Posted February 8th, 2002
    villagevoice.com exclusive

    Friends of Rosemary Woodruff Leary have put together this remembrance of the
    psychedelic pioneer and wife, confidante, and executrix of the late
    philosopher Timothy Leary:

    Rosemary Woodruff Leary died on February 7 at her home in Aptos, California.
    The cause of death was congestive heart failure. She was 66 years old.

    Rosemary Sarah Woodruff was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 26, 1935
    into a conservative Baptist environment from which she removed herself at
    the earliest opportunity. She moved to New York City where her intellect,
    penetrating sense of humor, and extraordinary beauty made her a popular
    figure in the citys most progressive music and literary circles. In 1965
    Timothy Leary invited her to visit him at the Millbrook Estate in Dutchess
    County, New York, which members of the Mellon family had made available to
    Leary as a center for his psychedelic research. That visit began an
    association between Woodruff and Leary that continued in various forms until
    Learys death in 1996. They married in 1967, and Woodruff Leary participated
    in his work to change LSD from an instrument of the intellectual elite to a
    catalyst for wide change in the American psyche.

    The Learys and their circle became targets for criminal prosecutions for
    their work with LSD, and a series of arrests had a serious effect on
    Woodruff Learys life. The Learys were first arrested in Laredo, Texas, in
    1965 for possession of a half-ounce marijuana. In 1966 local District
    Attorney G. Gordon Liddy raided the Millbrook Estate, arresting the Learys
    for alleged improprieties. The Learys were arrested again for possession of
    two half-smoked marijuana cigarettes in Laguna Beach, California in 1968.
    Woodruff Leary was sentenced to six months for the Laguna Beach arrest, but
    Leary was sentenced to a total of twenty-eight years. In 1970 Woodruff Leary
    enlisted the Weather Underground to help Leary escape from prison. She later
    quipped that this should have qualified her for a "Stand By Your Man" award.
    With forged passports, the Learys fled the country. They sought refuge with
    Eldridge Cleaver at his Black Panther Embassy in Algiers, but Cleaver placed
    them under house arrest and the Learys fled to Switzerland.

    The pressures on the exiles placed a strain on their marriage, and they
    separated in 1971 and later divorced. Woodruff Leary, a fugitive for her
    role in assisting Learys escape, lived underground for 23 years in
    Afghanistan, in Sicily, and in South and Central America, often traveling
    under a Gary Davis One World passport which local immigration officials
    solemnly stamped with visas. After her secret return to the United States
    she lived in relative seclusion on Cape Cod, in San Francisco, and in Half
    Moon Bay, California, using the name Sarah Woodruff. She remained a fugitive
    many years longer than Leary, and the charges against her were not cleared
    until 1994.

    In the last years of her life, Woodruff Leary concentrated on managing the
    trust that administered Leary's copyrights and archives. She also lectured
    college students for whom the psychedelic revolution was a historical event
    that had taken place before they were born. Her natural gifts as a raconteur
    made her lectures extremely popular. She read with a breadth, speed, and
    energy (aided by insomnia) which awed her more conventionally educated
    friends, who learned to lend her stacks of books at a time rather than
    individual volumes. Woodruff Leary was known for her remarkable and
    distinctive sense of style. She designed and made much of the clothing she
    and Leary wore in the late 1960s and her creations inspired the fashion of
    the era.

    Woodruff Leary was in the process of completing the final draft of her
    memoir at the time of her death. Despite a difficult illness, her keen and
    original wit continued to amuse an extraordinary number of devoted friends
    until she died. In addition to her many friends, she is survived by her
    brother Gary Woodruff of Long Beach, California, and his daughter Katy.

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