Remembering Maris Cakars
1942-March 21, 1992

Maris Cakars was described in our yearbook as both creative and "individualistic." What an understatement that was!!
The following obituaries and death notices published in 1992 after his untimely passing collectively

formed the principal basis of an article about him on the free, online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. If you would like to view or post additions to it, go to


Early 1960


The New York Times, Thursday, March 26, 1992:

Maris Cakers Is Dead; Magazine Editor, 49

Maris Cakars, an editor who was a leader in the movement against the Vietnam War, died on Saturday at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. He was 49 years old and lived in Brooklyn. He died of internal hemorrhaging, his family said.

For 12 years he worked for Win, a small but influential magazine that opposed the Vietnam War and expanded to other social issues. It encouraged radical change but nonviolent tactics. He was the editor for about six years. Among those associated with Win were Abbie Hoffman, A.J. Muste and Hendrik Hertzberg.

Mr. Cakars helped organize demonstrations, including one at the Pentagon and another at a military induction site in Manhattan at which Dr. Benjamin Spock was arrested. The organizations he worked with included the Committee for Non-Violent Action and the War Resisters League.

Born in Riga, Latvia, he left with his parents in 1944 to escape Soviet occupation. The family came to America in 1949, and Mr. Cakars grew up in Oceanside, L.I.

He studied at Lafayette College and Columbia University. After he left Win in 1976, his jobs included managing editor of Women's World magazine, production manager at Seven Days magazine and sports editor of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Surviving are his wife of nearly 25 years, the former Susan Kent; a daughter, Andrea, of Brooklyn; a son, Janis, of Manhattan; his mother, Vera, of Huntington, L.I., and an adopted brother, Egils Melbardis of Mill Valley, Calif.


CAKARS Maris. On March 21, 1992. Director of Publications, FDNY. Member WRL Founder WIN Magazine. Loving son of Vera, husband of Susan, father of Janis and Andrea. Service at Mc-Caddin Funeral Home, 24 7th Ave, Brooklyn, 6pm, Tuesday. Contributions in lieu of flowers suggested to WRL, FDNY Burn Center, or Latvian Freedom Foundation.

  CAKARS Maris. The members, staff and officers of War Resisters League extend their condolences to the family on the death of our beloved friend and comrade, whose work for radical nonviolent change took him from the Chicago police riot of 1968 to an arrest in GUM Dept. Store in Moscow. His talented editorship of WIN magazine helped shape the 1960's. He will be remembered for his key role in the movement to end the Vietnam War. He lived long enough to see his beloved Latvia achieve Independence.

Kingston Daily Freeman, Tuesday Morning, March 31, 1992:

BROOKLYN - Maris Cakars, 49, of Brooklyn, a former St Remy resident and the founding editor of Win Magazine, died March 21 at the Methodist Hospital after a short illness.

He lived in St. Remy from 1970 to 1976, and was a lieutenant in the St. Remy Volunteer Fire Department. He was director of publications for the New York City Fire Department.

Born in Riga, Latvia, he was a founding editor of Win Magazine, a national bi-weekly that covered world and social issues from a pacifist perspective.

During his years in St. Remy, the magazine's editorial offices were located there, During its St. Remy years, Win made national headlines when it became the first magazine to publish the contents of secret files stolen from the FBI offices in Media, Pa. by unknown persons. The papers were described by The New York Times as "a virtually complete collection of political materials" from the FBI's regional offices, dealing with secret FBI surveillance of student, civil rights and anti-war groups.

Locally, Mr. Cakars made headlines when he arranged a Win-sponsored personal appearance in Kingston by Jane Fonda and her then-husband Tom Hayden, who were on a national tour speaking out against the war in Vietnam. Later, he would also make the news when he was arrested by the KGB for passing out anti-war leaflets in Moscow.

Survivors include his mother, Vera Cakars; his wife, Susan; a son, Janis; a daughter, Andrea; and a brother, Egils Melbardis.

Arrangements were by McCaddin Funeral Home.

Woodstock Times, April 2, 1992:

Maris Cakars, former editor of Win magazine, one of the earliest and strongest voices in opposition to the Vietnam War in the '60s and '70s, died March 21, in Brooklyn, NY, after a short illness. He was 50.

Cakars and his wife, Susan, residents of Ulster County from 1970-76, put out Win from a converted barn on their St. Remy property during those years--including, in a controversial issue, secret files stolen by persons unknown from the FBI offices in Media, Pennsylvania, described by the New York Times as "a virtually complete collection of political materials" from the FBI's regional offices, dealing with secret FBI surveillance of student, civil rights and anti-war groups. He also brought Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden to Kingston during their national tour to speak out against the war in Vietnam.

As part of his work with Win, the War Resisters League and the Committee for NonViolent Action, Cakars helped organize demonstrations at the Pentagon and in New York, including a demonstration at a Manhattan military induction center where Dr. Benjamin Spock was arrested. Cakars managed to get himself arrested by both superpowers in the '70s, and for the same reasons. He was arrested in Moscow by the KGB for passing out anti-war leaflets in Red Square,

Maris Cakars was born in Riga, Latvia, and came to the United States with his parents in 1944 to escape the Soviet occupation. A passionate supporter of Latvian independence. he expanded the scope of that passion to embrace freedom of thought and action everywhere in the world, including his adopted country. His hatred of the armed oppression in his own country extended to a general opposition to all armed oppression.

His social conscience led him beyond international movements and into the local community. At a time when America seemed to be divided into hostile camps between radical peaceniks and the establishment, Cakars joined the St. Remy Volunteer Department, and rose to the rank of lieutenant. At the time of his death, he was director of publications for the New York City Fire Department.

Maris and Susan Cakars bought their farmhouse in St. Remy in the winter of 1969, and moved up in the spring of 1970. I met them then, when they arrived and found me living in their house, They took me in (well, I was already in) with the graciousness and openhanded acceptance that always characterized them. A lover of family, friends and country music, Maris Cakars combined, as much as anyone I have ever known, an unflagging opposition to social injustice and an ebullient, life-affirming sense of humor.

He is survived by his wife, Susan; his son, Janis; his daughter, Andrea; his mother, Vera Cakars; and his brother, Egils Melbardis.

Donations in Cakars' name may be made to the St, Remy Fire Department or the War Resisters' League.

                                                                                                                                         Tad Richards


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