New Member Roger Pritchard
Choosing Inquiry Over Expectations
story by Charli Depner
An Ashby Village one-year membership was the holiday gift that Roger Pritchard pitched in December 2016 to his three children. They came through! What were his expectations? “I was curious. Clearly, a movement is going on. Ashby Village is an interesting organization; but beyond that, I had no specific expectations. I don’t find expectations very helpful. I am more into inquiry, curiosity, discovery.”
So, with expectations deactivated, Roger has been busy getting to know the people and pleasures of Ashby Village. He is a regular at the monthly Friday Happy Hour and has sampled activities in different Neighborhood Groups. Impressed with Ashby Village programs for members who want to get active online, he has received with appreciation support from Tech Volunteers and iPhone/iPad training, “There is much to learn, so you need mentors and learning opportunities.”
Roger drove cross-country to the Bay Area from Boston as a graduate student “the summer before the summer of love.” The sight of San Francisco through the rainbow arch of what is now dubbed the Robin Williams tunnel evoked what Roger calls a “THIS IS IT experience.” He has lived in the Bay Area ever since.
Roger came to the Bay Area to continue research started as a Fulbright scholar at Brandeis University that explored “how the West handles dying.” At Brandeis, he had met and interviewed Dame Cicely Sanders, the British founder of hospice and palliative care, in London and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, engaged in the work that formed the foundation for her landmark book, On Death and Dying. “A main thing that I came up with” he reports, “is that Western medicine views death as the enemy, doctors as the warriors, and the body as the battleground. This approach has big consequences.”
After moving to Berkeley, Roger was a Research Associate in sociology, at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco for several years. He was also manager of KPFA radio from 1973-1974, a period that included the Chile coup d’état, the Patty Hearst kidnapping, and the Nixon resignation.
In 1980, Roger founded Financial Alternatives, the business he still heads. Its mission is to provide the business skills that socially conscious projects and organizations require to succeed. “My clients are passionate about social and environmental causes, such as offering a range of good alternatives to western medicine, which has moved away from consistent and directly-loving human connection.”