Joel S. Meister

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Joel S. Meister 5/25/1941 - 7/06/2010 Joel Meister died July 6, 2010 following a courageous two-year battle with cancer. He is survived by his spouse, William A. Mason; his children, Matt Meister (Aldine), Adam Meister (Sarah), and Rachel Collier; and his grandchildren, Harper, Ethan, Madeline, Carling, Lee and Finn. He is also survived by his sister, Nina Meister; his former wife, Nancy Meister Book; and many loving friends and colleagues. Throughout his life, Joel demonstrated a profound love to his family and friends, a commitment to teaching and learning, and a dedication to making his community a better place for all. Joel was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, on May 25, 1941, and grew up in Long Beach, California. He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University in 1962 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972. He served as a Peace Corp volunteer in Peru from 1964-1965, where he met and married Nancy. There, the two befriended a Peruvian teenager named Alejandro Toledo and were instrumental in helping him come to the United States to complete his education. Alejandro went on to become the first indigenous president of Peru. Throughout his distinguished career, Joel taught at UC Berkeley, Hampshire College, Amherst College, as well as the University of Arizona. He also served as an Associate at The Hastings Center for Bioethics, as co-director of both the Southwest Center for Community Health Promotion at the University of Arizona and the Arizona Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention and Control Program, and as the Assistant Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. Joel was one of the founders of the University of Arizona College of Public Health and served as Professor there prior to his retirement in 2008. Among the highlights of Joel's career were his efforts to establish the ASH Line (Arizona Smoker's Helpline) and his efforts to have smoking banned in Arizona bars, restaurants and most other enclosed public places and places of employment with the passage of the Smoke-Free Arizona Act. He was respected internationally for his commitment to US-Mexico border health and social justice issues, as well as for his leadership in the community health worker movement. He was also a tireless advocate for healthcare and health policy reform. Joel's commitment to the community was demonstrated through his work with numerous nonprofit organizations. He was actively involved with the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, Wingspan, and Reveille Men's Chorus. He was also a strong supporter of the arts and many progressive causes, and served as President of the Southern Arizona Tennis Association. Joel received widespread recognition for his professional service and his community involvement. Among his honors were the University of Arizona's Henry Koffler Prize, the College of Public Health Service Award, and the Family Planning Council Award. While Joel was passionate about his work, he was never happier than when he was sharing a meal and a good story with family and friends or sailing his boat off the coast of Mexico. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Joel Meister Scholarship Fund at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. A celebration of Joel's life will take place this fall. Arrangements by CARRILLO'S TUCSON MORTUARY, INC.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star from July 15 to July 16, 2010
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