Together we lost our great friend and mentor, Harry Greenberger ( June 22, 1927 – May 3, 2017 )
Marshall Harris addressed the audience at the monthly May 20 program of NOSHA and we felt this was a wonderful statement to share with everyone who knew and loved Harry.
Harry was the most unique of friends in his way of giving, his honesty and sincerity.
I don’t think I’ll ever come across a friend quite like him ever again in my lifetime.
He lived his life his way.
He pretty much took charge of every aspect, even his exit.
Harry had accomplish many things in his 90 years, but ultimately it was NOSHA, The New Orleans Secular Humanist Association that gave him great joy in his life.
He told me many times how he had always wanted to create an organization where people who felt alone in their thinking could come together to feel a part of something that would keep them from that loneliness. He wanted nonbelievers to have a place where they could be around like-minded people, and could share, discuss their thoughts and views freely, without judgment or ridicule.
He knew it would be tough because there was nothing like that available back during the time he began NOSHA. Not to mention there being such a stigma out there about Atheists, Humanists, nonbelievers under any name, your choice.
Harry said to me one morning while I drove him to his very first New Orleans City Council Secular Invocation…
“I don’t want to rid the world of religion, I just want my seat at the table, when all others are asked to gather.”
He said… “There are lots of people,Marshall, really good people, that simply need religion to function in their life.”
“I don’t want to take that comfort from anyone. I just want to be respected for my not wanting or needing religion in my life.”
Watching Harry I’ve learned… If you really want people to accept you for who you are, you need to approach them as a gentleman. If you come across as a screaming radical, you just don’t get the same result. You’d be surprised how the gentleman’s approach will open doors, and even sometimes have your chair waiting for you to arrive at that gathering table.
The simple proof his way worked was how at first he had to push and really wedge his way in, to even have a secular invocation considered at the City Council of New Orleans, but later after hearing his eloquent words that very first time, Harry was then invited to do so several times thereafter.
These small victories made him so proud. He was making a difference in some way.
With his television program “The Humanist Perspective“. His regular appearances giving secular invocations to open the daily business of the City Council of New Orleans’, and with you, NOSHA, Harry has accomplished something very unique. He made a difference.
If we look around here now, we see a room full of people here today that would not be gathered here, or even know each other at all, if it were not for one man’s vision. Harry Greenberger’s hopes have come true. We are not alone here today… now are we.
I’d like to take this time to thank Charlotte Klasson, who was there next to me when I needed a friend the most. I appreciate and love her so much for loving Harry and continuing to carry on his life’s work so wonderfully as President of NOSHA.
I thank you NOSHA, for being Harry’s incredible extended family. He loved you all very much and was so proud to speak of this organization wherever he went.
He wanted me to give you this special gift of $10,000.00, in hopes you guys will continue to work together, keeping his dream alive by reaching out and letting more and more people know NOSHA is here for them. Letting non-believers know… “they are not alone.”
All My Love & Gratitude,