In Memory of Herbert Shore

Herbert Shore was a founding member of DSA in 1982 and of the San Diego chapter until he passed away in February of 2024.

November 18, 1939 – February 12, 2024

In Herb’s own words “I was born in 1939 in Brooklyn, New York to secular, Jewish, working class parents. My parents were not actually Communist Party members, but our lives revolved around the ‘fellow traveling’ milieu that existed until the mid 1950s. So you might say I was born into the socialist movement; though no one in my family knew Karl Marx from Groucho Marx.” Those roots stayed with Herb throughout his life.

After graduating high school Herb was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) physics program. He also studied politics, reading “radical” books such as The German Ideology and The Communist Manifesto in college study groups. He was an activist physicist, always striving for truth and building a better world for everyone.

He took part in the 1960 Cambridge Woolworth pickets and leafleted for civil rights events. After graduating from MIT, Herb earned his Ph.D in physics at UC Berkeley. Herb stated with pride that he became a professor because he didn’t want a job where his boss told him when to wake up and when to show up for work. When Berkeley was the center of the Free Speech Movement in 1964, Herb participated in sit-ins dedicated to student free speech and academic freedom.

In 1965 Herb moved to San Diego to teach physics at UC San Diego. A few years later he became a professor at San Diego State University (SDSU), teaching and performing research until he retired. He also spent a year working with the National Science Foundation reviewing grant requests from around the country.

When Herb moved to San Diego he continued his political activism speaking out and protesting the Vietnam War. He joined the New American Movement (NAM) in 1975, and became a founding member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in 1982. From 1965-2015, if there was a march or rally in San Diego to support peace or civil or human rights, you would find Herb there.

Herb and Virginia Franco met in the late 1970s and were comrades in DSA for over 25 years before they decided to get married. They were lifelong friends and their loving relationship inspired all who knew them.

As a founding member of San Diego DSA, Herb participated in local, regional, and national politics and hosted thousands of meetings in his home with his wife Virginia. He tirelessly struggled for a world where everyone was treated equally and with respect.

Everyone who knew Herb describes him as a friend and a very kind person. He respected everyone regardless of their beliefs or background. Herb fought Parkinson’s disease for 17 years, never giving up or losing hope. He is survived by his loving wife Virginia and her two children, Caroline Gomez and Martin Van Guilder. 

On his last night alive, reflecting on his philosophy of life, Herb said that everyone should try to make the world a little bit better. In lieu of flowers, he simply asks you to continue his work by donating time to your community.