Remembering Thelma Barzottini, who fought to clean up PCBs in Pittsfield with a smile
People at a meeting this week on the Housatonic River cleanup paused to remember Pittsfield, Massachusetts, resident Thelma Barzottini, who died at 91 in February.
Members of the Citizens Coordinating Council said she was a sweet person, and was determined when it came to PCB removal.
In a meeting where division between river advocates and government regulators was evident, remembering Barzottini brought people together.
They described her as passionate, kind, well-dressed and a hoot.
Activist Tim Gray said she was one of the first to join the PCB cleanup fight nearly 30 years ago.
EPA attorney Tim Conway said he couldn't escape her push for answers.
"She'd ask a question, and I'd think, oh I thought I'd get through the night without that question being asked," Conway said. "And then the next thing — she'd ask me about my family. I will miss her."
Her passing is a reminder of how long the community has been fighting for a cleanup — so long that both sides have gotten to know and sometimes appreciate each other.