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Vermihero Steve Perry Memorial

Page history last edited by unityfire888@... 15 years, 1 month ago
From: Michaella Mintcheff <misha@hawaii.rr.com>
Date: April 20, 2009 3:01:03 PM HST
Dear friend,

i am writing to you because your name was in Steve Perry's file "People who make a difference"

Steve was diagnosed with cancer on January 22, 2009. As it had already spread he opted to accept it and not do chemotherapy. He did not struggle with it but the next three months were still quite difficult.  Thanks to Hospice he was able to be at home with me ' till the end.  As he was starting to give away some of his personal belongings without letting people know of his cancer, someone asked "Are you leaving the island?"

He smiled and said, "Oh no, i love Kauai, so i am going even deeper into it!"

On the nigh of 4-19-09 at 9;56 PM, after two days of intense and uninterrupted labored breathing Steve paused, took three slow deep breaths, like sighs, and passed through very peacefully. 

His presence is large in the house and in my heart.

He considered you a friend, someone who cared deeply about Kauai, and, for that, if nothing else, you were important in his life.

Thank you for your Aloha and for your shared love of our island. Keep up your good work.

With great appreciation, 


Misha, Steve, Sky 2007

Wedding, 3-10-09

p.s. For those of you who may not have known Steve that well:

Steve was born on October 12 1942 in Syracuse NY. 
At 18 he went to Antioch College. This was an unusual college with a "serve and learn" program --they would hold classes for 3 months at a time and then for the next 3 months students would be sent anywhere in the states that they wished to go, to work in a variety of chosen fields for practical experience and  to help local communities. Among other projects, he  was sent to help in establishing the beginnings of Kauai Community College in 1965.  That is when he fell in love with the island and its people and longed to come back ever since.  He visited several times since then. 
In college he was a Student Union president for several terms, political organizer and lobbyist for ending the war in Vietnam and later, successfully, for nuclear freeze.  He continued his passionate political work throughout his life on the mainland and was a greatly effective and  successful community organizer in Denver Colorado especially for the Nuclear Freeze vote and for nuclear-free Colorado. He taught many young people how to help the community to have their voice heard in Washington.  A few days ago, when president Obama spoke about his wish to annihilate all nuclear weapons from the face of our Earth, Steve, not particularly sentimental or emotional, wept. "I am so glad I did live to see the day", he said. It was the first time  he had heard an American president confirm his own ardent wish throughout his political life.  
Steve's career in clinical psychology (He earned his PhD at Colorado University) finally allowed him to come back to Kauai and be a clinical director and supervisor for Child and Family Services for many years.  He did not have children but was a surrogate father for several nieces and nephews during their difficult teenage years.  It could be said that , among other things, he helped re-parent me too....
He was known to have strong, if not particularly politically correct views on the subject of parenting.  He would always say that since one is required to pass a test to have  a driver's license, before people  began having children it would make sense to also pass a test for a parenting license .  If that were the case he may not have had many clients in Child and Family Services :) 
Steve was passionately committed to the Hawaiian people's aspiration for self-determination and participated in numerous meetings and community actions including the Aloha march in Washington in 1998.  He volunteered tirelessly whenever he could and participated eagerly and with long hours on both Kamalani I and II projects.
Despite my nagging he did not actively pursue political organizing on the island as he still felt a Malihini. Instead, despite his failing eyesight, hearing and balance problems,  he chose to support the island  by keeping informed and participating as much as he could in local energy and sustainability issues, voting "religiously" in every election and raising earth worms to enrich  Kauaian soil depleted by agriculture.  After the November election, with my prompting, he finally began thinking about and working on a political organizing project, which, if successful would have greatly increased the efficiency and political clout of our citizenry in Honolulu and Washington, regardless of people's political affiliation or stand on issues. He had a wealth of wisdom, knowledge and practical know-how.  I am sad that he did not complete this project. I never had the time to understand the details of his vision so i might be able to help make it happen. But, his dream of uniting local forces in order to have  a better say about Kauai's  future, remains. It is carried along by a host of passionate progressive community-minded organizations and single individuals like you, who already are, or sooner or later will join all their forces for the best possible progressive government that Kauai deserves.
Steve did not want a memorial service. He donated his body to the University of Hawaii for research and teaching.  When the cremains return to the island in about three months, I am planning on holding a community party to celebrate Kauai, eat, drink, sing, dance and be merry--
he would have approved!
You, of course, will be invited!
p.s.To many  of you Steve was known for his wisdom, practicality and down-to earth Zen-master sense of humor.  When i asked him what kind of bird he would like to be if he returns, he was unambiguous:
" A turkey!":)

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