Boren Chertkov died Monday, April 15, after a brief battle with a vicious cancer. He was 74. Boren was born in Seattle in 1938 to Morris Chertkov and Lillian Green. His parents divorced when he was 9, and he was raised primarily by his mother in the Dallas area, with summers in Washington DC with his father. He graduated from the University of Michigan, where he was President of the Inter-House Council, in 1960, and the University of Texas Law School in 1963. After a brief period in private practice in Dallas, he moved to Washington DC, where he worked for the National Labor Relations Board, the IUE, AFL-CIO, and the US Congress, most notably as Chief Counsel to the Select Committee on Ethics of the US House of Representatives, and Counsel to the US Senate's Subcommittee on Migratory Labor. In 1978, he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as General Counsel to the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and, when he left the agency in 1983, was very proud to have served the first full term of any General Counsel to that beleaguered agency. In later years, he worked for the National Labor Relations Board in San Francisco, and since 2000, has maintained a private labor relations arbitration practice from Sacramento. His resume accurately describes a fighter for equality and justice, from the struggle to integrate housing and activities at the University of Texas, to the marches and demonstrations for civil rights in Washington DC, to the struggle for rights for farmworkers nationally and in California. In addition, he was witty, funny, loving, and a wonderful listener, raconteur and friend. He served as an inspiration for public service, and a mentor and advisor to many who went on to champion the rights of working people. Throughout, he maintained an unlimited faith in the ability of people and institutions to grow and change for the good. An earlier marriage ended in divorce, and he was preceded in death by his daughter Lisa. He is survived by Ann Bailey, his wife and partner of 34 years, stepmother Ruth Chertkov, son Evan Chertkov, and four grandchildren. Like St. Paul, Boren fought the good fight, ran the race, and kept the faith until the end. He will be sorely missed. There will be a memorial gathering in the weeks to come. Remembrances may be made to the American River Parkway Foundation, 5700 Arden Way, Carmichael, CA 95608, the American Friends Service Committee, afsc.org, or the Blue Mountain Center, an Adirondack community of writers, artists, activists and musicians at P.O. Box 109, Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812.
Published in The Sacramento Bee from Apr. 19 to Apr. 21, 2013