Photo from 2010 "No Bailouts for BP" rally
Chances are, if you ever attended a peace rally in Pittsburgh protesting the war in Iraq, you met Marty O'Malley as he participated in over 100 of them. But, you also could have met him at a protest against BP's oil spill, or at a rally for single payer health insurance, or at a protest against the billionaire bailout, or, well you get the idea. Marty was a true warrior for social justice and peace and he was hard to miss with his ubiquitous "Vietnam Veteran" cap and political/issue buttons.
Marty knew about war. He voluntarily served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966, but by 1971 joined Vietnam Veterans for Peace. However, it wasn't until Bush's Iraq War that he became a real activist. I'd be hard pressed to imagine a member of the progressive community who hadn't met Marty who was always more than ready to come up and shake your hand. Later, that could be expanded to anyone who attended Democratic political events.
I'm not sure where I first met Marty, but I got to know him through the Howard Dean campaign. One of the great things Dean did was to make a call to arms of sorts for progressives to run for office--any and all. Marty took up the call and ran for Forest Hills Borough Council member in 2005 and won. In 2010 he became mayor of Forest Hills Borough and ran and won for mayor again in 2013. One of his goals was to encourage young people to become involved in local politics. (Of course, he also banned fracking in his borough.)
If you're on social media in the Pittsburgh area, you are going to hear a lot of people claim to have been friends with Marty. Believe them. Believe them all. Marty always had a smile on his face and room in his heart for one more. He was also a hell of a guy to have a beer, or two, or three with.
Damn, I'm going to miss him!
Marty O'Malley died at home of natural causes. He was 73.
Sincerest condolences to his family and all his many, many friends.