February 15, 2012
Washington, DC--The following statement is attributable to Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director:
We were saddened to learn this week that our longtime friend, colleague and avid consumer advocate Mark Silbergeld died over the weekend. Mark opened the Washington office of Consumers Union in the 1970s and was the longtime director of that office and a fixture in the consumer community. Over the years, Mark crossed paths with many of the our board members at conferences and consumer events and was always friendly, funny and wise .
When I joined CU in 1997, Mark occupied the office next door to me. He was a great Dad and each afternoon I’d hear him instructing his son Nicholas on getting his homework done and getting to football practice on time. Mark and I often commiserated about battles we hadn’t won and plotted strategies for the challenges ahead.
The younger staffers especially liked talking to Mark because he was endlessly patient and generous with his time, and had a wonderful institutional memory about consumer issues. He also got along famously with several of the “Grande Dames” of the consumer movement, Esther Peterson and Rhoda Karpatkin, and they depended on him for his wise counsel, not to mention his encyclopedic knowledge of opera: you could ask him what year Maria Callas sang at Tosca at La Scala and he could tell you the exact month and year.
More recently Mark was stationed at the Consumer Federation of America, working on international trade policy. Many of our staff have fond memories of Mark; Terry Kush traveled to Egypt with him on a US Commerce Department consumer mission, John Breyault and Rebecca Burkholder worked with Mark on policy setting committees for CFA.
It’s hard to imagine a CFA meeting without Mark Silbergeld in the room, cajoling, instructing, advising and wisecracking. We have one of those meetings – Consumer Assembly – coming up in a few weeks. We will look forward to an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions Mark brought to the consumer movement. Mark, we will miss you!
About the National Consumers League
Founded in 1899, the National Consumers League is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. NCL is a private, nonprofit membership organization. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.