We are sad to share that our beloved father, husband and son-in-law, Diarmuid McGuire, died on Sunday, February 5, 2023. His indomitable love for family, community, politics and beavers remained passionate to the end, but his physical being could not sustain a weak heart and a bad fall.
A long time owner of the Green Springs Inn, Diarmuid believed in the power of community to elevate individuals and create common good. He saw the inn as a vessel to bring people together—for community dances, weddings, memorials, holiday fairs, Pinehurst School fundraisers, parties, storytelling—and food. He believed that it was possible for people to coalesce around shared values to elevate children, preserve ecosystems and rescue humanity.
Born in New Orleans on November 5, 1942, Diarmuid grew up after age 4 in Pittsburgh, PA. and graduated from North Hills High School as a debate champion and aspiring writer. He attended Princeton, graduated in 1964, and promptly joined the country’s newly created Peace Corps, where he was deployed to Uganda. A teacher in a British-run school in the outback, Diarmuid rode his motorcycle through points of armed conflict learning, in the process, that being white and American provided safety that others did not have.
Assessing his next move, Diarmuid devoured the Newsweek subscription provided to Peace Corps members. One issue described the summer of love that would soon take place in San Francisco. That settled it. He immediately applied to graduate school at Stanford (he knew the campus was somewhere near the city, although he mistook it for an arm of the University of California) with the goal of a master’s degree in communication and a career at the Wall Street Journal.
Then came the summer of 1968. As an intern for Newsweek, Diarmuid was assigned to report on the Democratic Party’s presidential convention in Chicago. Wearing a tie and carrying his reporter’s notebook, he wandered through the tumult outside the convention headquarters. He saw law enforcement positioned on bridges with automatic weapons and cops beating protestors with bully clubs. Despite the tie (in truth, it may have said
vote for pig) and the credentials, when he got too close, he too was swept up in the paddy wagon, spending the night in a jail cell with members of the Chicago Seven.
It was an immediate life-changing experience and the end to his corporate journalistic aims. When he returned to Stanford in the fall, he committed full bore to anti-Vietnam War activism, becoming editor of the Plain Rapper, Palo Alto’s alternative anti-draft newspaper. Many demonstrations, a few broken windows, and a jail stay later, he shifted to conventional politics as campaign manager for a congressional campaign for David Harris, former Stanford anti-war leader.
The campaign was a bust, but the silver lining was meeting a young volunteer at an event planning meeting. That introduction to Pam Marsh led to much more, including marriage and, eventually, four children – Kerry, Meghan, Padraic, and Molly. As Diarmuid remarked at the time, “The electoral system may not be the best way to change the world, but politics sure helps people get together.”
That began a 20 year residency in Palo Alto, where Diarmuid worked as an independent marketing consultant, and later director of community affairs for Stanford Children’s Hospital, (which became the new Packard Children’s Hospital during his tenure), and later at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View.
In 1994, spurred by the chance to live in a small community, the family (including Pam’s parents, Walt and Barbara Marsh) purchased Green Springs Inn and moved from downtown Palo Alto to the mountains above Ashland, Oregon. Diarmuid’s career as an innkeeper, restaurant manager, maintenance man, community enthusiast and occasional rabble rouser blossomed. He advocated for Pinehurst School, the birth of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, the development of Green Springs Fire District, and many other neighborhood and regional causes. In 2003 the family moved to Ashland, where they have lived while Diarmuid and his son Padraic continued to operate (and expand) the inn.
Diarmuid never gave up his passion for righting the world. Although he would expound on climate tumult, ecosystem destruction, right wing politics, fascism, and Republicans, he remained fixated on hope—most recently, in the form of beavers, which he viewed as a practical and metaphorical answer to a world in crisis. His final instruction to all of us was to save the beaver.
Ashland resident Diarmuid McGuire died Sunday [Feb. 4, 2023, ed.] after being hospitalized for a fall. A well-known figure in the environmental community and married to state Rep. Pam Marsh, McGuire was 80.
I think Diarmuid, like his wife, Pam, made the larger world and his world a better place, said Dave Willis, a Greensprings resident for 40 years and chair of the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was born Nov. 5, 1942, McGuire ran Green Springs Inn & Mountain Cabins with his wife and four children for many years.
McGuire studied at both Princeton and Stanford, where he wrote for the Stanford Daily. He earned, respectively, a bachelor’s degree in U.S. history and American civilization and a master’s degree in communications.
Willis said he remembers having many long chats with McGuire while seated at the counter at the Green Springs Inn.
The Green Springs, when he ran it, was a real community hub, a community center, Willis said.
In an article for the Locals Guide Magazine in 2012, McGuire talked about running the Inn.
It’s a family business in every sense of the word. Pam’s parents, Walt and Barb Marsh, have been a big part of the adventure from the day we bought the business in 1994. All four of our kids lived with us in our apartment above the restaurant and worked downstairs for at least part of their teenage years. It wasn’t always easy, but I think we agree that it has been a heck of an education.
In that article, McGuire talks about how his first experience out of college was in the Peace Corps in East Africa. He was a teacher in rural Uganda near the Congo.
After that he started a marketing career in the Bay Area, but said,
I think I missed the relationships you have in a smaller community.
McGuire spent more than 10 years as director of community affairs at Lucile Salter Packard Children’s and El Camino hospitals in the Bay Area, according to his LinkedIn profile.After the move to Oregon, McGuire partnered with a number of groups working to protect and enhance the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
He also worked with The Beaver Coalition, a Jacksonville-based organization seeking to restore beaver habitat throughout The Beaver State and the U.S. Willis said McGuire had the Oregon flag flying in front of his house with the Beaver side facing the street. Willis said McGuire helped people understand the importance of beavers for riparian areas, maintaining ecological balance and mitigating climate change.
State Sen. Jeff Golden, also an Ashland resident, said he knew McGuire for a long time and found him to be extremely dedicated to the community.
When he got into an issue, he got all the way into it, Golden said.
He was one of the smarter guys I knew.
Golden said McGuire has helped reshape opinion about beavers in Salem.
The attitude about beavers has started to shift from pest to a great asset, he said.
Peter Buckley, the Salem representative before Marsh, said he’d known McGuire was ill and hospitalized in December.
He recalls how McGuire and Marsh moved to Oregon from Palo Alto, California, in 1994, excited about the newly formed Oregon Health Plan. McGuire was on the board of Rogue Community Health.
At the time, they were both working in California and heard about Oregon and all the work being done on the Oregon Health Plan, Buckley said.
He was always well informed.
Jakob Shockey, executive director for The Beaver Coalition, had visited McGuire in the hospital recently where he was recovering from a broken hip.
He was a passionate champion for beavers, Shockey said.
One of the projects McGuire was involved in was reintroducing beavers back into the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
McGuire sent Shockey a text shortly before his death:
This may sound a bit crazy to you, but I have never been happier. I have so much to be thankful for; so much joy, so much gratitude. I hope you can feel it. Maybe even the beavers can feel it in some cosmic way!
I am going to get rid of my draft card on May Day, which is Thursday. I would like to say a few things about the reasoning that led to this decision, in the hope that some people may join me in resistance.
The process that brought me to this point started with loneliness and the feeling that I was unable to affect the course of my life. Considering the fact that I am often lonely, I discovered a recurring pattern of thought. Later I decided to call it a myth.
If you are lonely, says the myth, "There must be something wrong with you. Maybe you are ugly or neurotic. Go have a nose job or see a psychiatrist.
"Above all, do not admit that you are lonely. That is called self-pity, and it means you are weak. If people know you are weak, they will despise you.
Then you will be more lonely than you are now, impossible as that may seem.
This kind of thinking looked circular to me. It also seemed to require individuals to blame themselves for social problems.
While I was thinking about this kind of stuff, I was also trying to figure out why I could not seem to make any decisions for myself. At each major turning point in my life, choices I made (college, Peace Corps, high school teaching, graduate school) seemed to be determined by forces that were beyond my control. Like my parents and the Selective Service System.
Oddly enough the Selective Service System seemed to be involved in many of my parents' arguments about why I should go to college, join the Peace Corps and so forth.
In thinking about the draft, I came upon another interesting line of reasoning. In my fantasy, it is explained to me by an impressive, reasonable, carefully groomed man who always wears a grey suit and a good tan.
You say you find killing distasteful, he says. "Your humanitarianism is to be applauded, of course. But you must be aware of certain realities. It may be necessary for you to kill some people, or help kill them, in order to preserve your freedom.
"Now, if you have not thought about the matter with sufficient vigor, this might seem to be a contradiction. But we must ask you to give up your human, and even Constitutional, rights in order to preserve your freedom. You must be prepared to serve in the Armed Forces whether you like it or not.
Do not think of this as oppression. That word is just rhetoric. Rhetoric is like propaganda. Only fanatics and other misfits use it. If people hear you talk about oppression, they will despise you.
The logic of loneliness and the logic of oppression began to form a pattern in my mind. Both seemed designed to prevent open questioning of the problem. I came to believe that loneliness might be functional in an oppressive system. Fragmented, rootless individuals, I thought would be useful to massive, impersonal economic and political systems. Like the corporations and the government that almost everyone seems bound to serve.
I still do not know exactly how to be free. But I would like to give it a try. And the April 3 Movement has indicated an interesting strategy.
Some people decided that certain kinds of research were oppressive both to those struggling for freedom in the Third World and to those who were struggling for a relevant education is a distorted university. They went to the building where the research was being done and stopped it, using the force of their collective, non-violent action.
One of the things that people said during the sit-in was that they were getting to know each other. It seemed that loneliness as well as militaristic research was in danger at AEL.
I want to get together with some people on Thursday and try something like that. I want to disprove the myths I have learned. I want to be part of a movement that will confront, openly and without fear, the system that oppresses me.
Will you join me?
(EDITOR'S NOTE: There will be a meeting of those interested in non-cooperation with the draft in the Clubhouse this afternoon at 4:00.
Diarmuid McGuire is a graduate student in Communication.)
Diamuid McGuire, by Pam Marsh, personal communication.
Ashland environmentalist Diarmuid McGuire, 80, died Sunday, by Damian Mann, Ashland.news, Feb. 6, 2023. Link
I see flickering candles in the gathering darkness. I’m following those lights, by Diarmuid McGuire, Ashland.news, January 21, 2022. Link
Storage of creosote-soaked ties near Railroad Park sparked complaints, by Diarmuid McGire, Ashland.news, January 22, 2022. Link
What’s on the IRA menu for Ashland? A lot, by Diarmuid McGuire, Ashland.news, August 19, 2022. Link
Annual Ashland gathering memorializes atomic blast, seeks to prevent another, by Diarmuid McGuire, Ashland.news, August 8, 2022. Link
Diarmuid McGuire wrote a monthly column for Local Guide Magazine. His columns, from January 12, 2012 to June 1, 2020 are available online. Link
Draft Card Turn-In, by Diarmuid McGuire, The Stanford Daily, April 29, 1969. Link