Well-Loved Local Musician and Occupy Wall Street Crusader Jameson Greeley Lavo Mourned by Friends
NORTHAMPTON — Word traveled fast among Northampton’s tight community of young indy band musicians, club-goers, artists and activists last Friday afternoon.
Jameson Greeley Lavo, 28, a guitar player and drummer who lived for social justice and a better world, was dead of an apparent suicide.
Lavo was the man police found deceased on June 1 near the railroad tracks downtown, according to the death certificate signed June 4 by Dr. Mindy Hull of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston.
Local police and the Northwestern District Attorney’s office had declined to release Lavo’s name to the press or public, but a Northampton police officer informed his housemates soon after responding to the scene. By early evening, Lavo’s Facebook page was filling with tributes from those who loved him.
The immediate cause of death was listed as asphyxia by hanging. Lavo was pronounced dead at the scene, between the former Boston and Maine railroad tracks and Northampton Lumber at 256 Pleasant St., at 4:44 p.m. Police responded to the area after being alerted by a 911 call from a Northampton Lumber employee. The medical examiner said the time of Lavo’s death was unknown. He was last seen by his housemates on Thursday night.
Lavo was a talented musician and active member of the Occupy Wall Street movement. He was known for his kindness, compassion, intelligence and wit.
There are many videos on YouTube featuring Jamie Lavo playing out in the clubs with various bands over the years. Here’s just one; as a guitarist with the band ThrillPillow at The Elevens nightclub on Pleasant Street:
One of Lavo’s current projects was a 15-member band called The Trials and Tribulations, named editor’s choice for best new folk group in the Valley Advocate’s 2008 “Band Grand Slam” contest.
Born in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 1, 1983, Jamie Lavo was the son of Harry Lavo of Holyoke and Susan Canedy of Farmington, Conn., and a graduate of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School. Lavo worked as a customer service manager at ABT, a Hadley-based telephone survey company.
Besides his parents, he leaves his sister Katherine Jean Lavo, also of Holyoke; a sister-in-law, Brenda Lavo of Swanton, Vt.; his nephew, Max, and niece, Renee, also both of Swanton; five aunts, four uncles, 10 cousins, and his beloved cat, Carrot.
His brother, Kipling C. Lavo, died in 2010.
A memorial service will be held at the Northampton Center for the Arts on Saturday, June 16, at 11 a.m. Private burial services will be held for family and close friends in North Adams.
Friends are encouraged to donate to the Occupy movement or a local charity in Jameson Greeley Lavo’s name.