OAKLAND -- David Glover, an unrivaled leader of community self-improvement in Oakland's toughest neighborhoods and a more than two-decade long champion of social justice, died Wednesday. He was 60.
Glover's impact on Oakland and beyond began more than 20 years ago when he took control of Oakland Citizens Committee for Urban Renewal, a not-for-profit organization focused on lifting the city's low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
Founded in 1954, the organization was created with a hope of closing the various gaps found between the city's rich and its poor. OCCUR focused on education, affordable housing and other social equality issues that contribute to the ever-growing gap between socioeconomic groups.
As its leader for more than 20 years, Glover ensured OCCUR's mission was met by frequently lobbying City Hall and other governmental agencies for the help he said was necessary to make Oakland a thriving city.
"David has been a driving force in revitalizing neighborhoods and communities," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. "Mr. Glover's tireless efforts to improve the lives and conditions of low-income residents, neighborhoods and communities has been nationally recognized and commended."
Glover was born in St. Louis in 1952 to Philmore and Rose Glover, a high school administrator and an elementary school teacher. Both parents taught their three children about the importance of education, said Angela Glover-Blackwell, Glover's older sister.
Glover took those lessons to heart, and when he moved to Oakland, he joined OCCUR in hopes of spreading his teachings to those who needed them the most.
Glover even continued that work while battling cancer for the past several years but took a leave in January when the disease, which had been in remission, returned.
Sondra Alexander, OCCUR's director of administration, said Glover's dedication and work ethic will never be replicated.
"He has been an inspiration to all," Alexander said. "He took OCCUR to a whole different level; it grew by leaps and bounds under his leadership."
Alexander said Glover always kept a positive attitude, regardless of the struggle, and required every OCCUR employee to keep a motto at their desk: "It's never as good as it looks, and it's never as bad as it seems, but it always gets better."
Glover is survived by his wife Robin and two sons, Drew, 27, and Trent, 19.