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We will always remember your struggle for justice for those most powerless in the mental health system, David!

Memorial created 08-1-2008 by
David Oaks
David Romprey
August 18 1965 - July 30 2008

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08-06-2008 12:17 PM -- By: Ruta Mazelis,  From: Carrollton, OH  

My condolences to everyone.  David's amazing passion and energy are irreplaceable.

08-06-2008 11:30 AM -- By: Helen Lara,  From: Salem, OR  

Dear David,

You will be missed so much by so many.   I didn't know you well and only spent a few times meeting with you and talking with you but it only took a few minutes to know how committed you were to recovery and to the forgotten people in the state hospital system.

Being new to Oregon, you reached out and extended time to me and information about where to go to hike.   I will continue to feel connected with while hiking Opal Creek.

Thanks for your encouragement, your daring me to speak up, and giving me at least


08-06-2008 7:29 AM -- By: Dean H. Westwood "Boss",  From: Portland, Oregon  

My Friend, My Brother, My Colleague, My Housemate and Traveling Advocate Partner-

We did, we have and we will continue to do so. OREGON, WASHINGTON, ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA and HAWAII-

We've seen thousands of faces as we went to each of these places, and always the mission, the objectives and the goals.

Driven by knowledge, passion and our souls, We had opportunity to do much good together my friend, and we will continue to do so. The work, yes the work was and as always is there- But, even more Omni-present is our friendship, our hugs, our conversations, our lives and loves as human beings.

Much food and libation where ours for the journey and this is all well and good. However, we oft supped from that tree that bore our most prized of Fruit, that Liberty, that precious Liberty my Dear David. We taught each other much- I with my sights set on the physical nature of injustice in all it's contextual and behavioral forms; and you with your sights on the mental, meta-physical and beyond.

Yes, we taught each other much, and I am grateful and a deeper human being for having been the teacher and the student in our quid pro quo arrangement. Your love for Max & Eleanor, our deep conversations with your mom in Berkeley, and our knock down drag out battles with those who sought to silence us, these things i hold on to my dear friend as they are the embodiment of your life force-

But, selfishly David, I hold on to the humanity we share, as it is what will keep us connected through the timeless universe and beyond, your and my humanity interwoven with millions and millions of others. I ask that you my friend join me for a cry every now and then as we'd done many times before, as they are good and needed-

As with my physically departed parents, I will seek your counsel often-

My love always "brotherman",

Your "Boss" Deano

08-06-2008 4:16 AM -- By: Judi Stone,  From:  




To David ~

If I could write a love song

I'd write it for you

If I could move a mountain

I'd move it for you

If I could bring you back to earth

I'd learn to fly on wings of dreams

And capture you.


And David said

Walk a mile in my shoes

And you will see

The bridges we can build

The lives we can change

The hope we can instill

The dreams we can share.


Abraham, Martin, John and David

Visionaries all

Men who brought their visions to life

Who gave of themselves to help those in need

Who fought the good fight, the fight for rights for everyone

The world is a better place

For having been touched by them


David, I am honored to call you Friend.

Judi Stone, a fellow traveler

08-05-2008 11:28 PM -- By: Regina Koch-Mart,  From: Tucson, AZ  

David was so kind to me every time I saw him.  We usually crossed paths at Alternatives but sometimes I had the good fortune to meet up with him at other events.  David was my friend.  He made me laugh, he made me cry but most of all, he made me think!  I will truly miss him.

08-05-2008 10:52 PM -- By: Kyra,  From: Eugene  

Shocking news.......life is a gift....he lost his too early...though it is clear that David made an impact...that is something I'm thinking he would be proud of....David was a close friend of one of my cousins and we visited quite often at times....I was involved with special ed for years and we had some good talks....I got to see him with Max.....I got to see him in the out of work state.....I am very sad to hear he has left us.......I hope his work will be carried out.....I wish his loved ones well......peace and love to all......


08-05-2008 7:30 PM -- By: Frank Dugger,  From: Ontario,Oregon  

David had a way to connect with everyone. His energy was contagious and he challenged us all to go beyond the realm of one's imagination and dreams. I appreciated his sense of humor and the fact that he would even laugh at my silly jokes! He will be greatly missed. I know that he touched many lives and gave hope and inspiration to folks everywhere. He certainly had a welcome place here in Ontario. May we take his torch and carry it now and may it never be extinguished.

With Heartfelt Condolences,

Frank Dugger  

08-05-2008 6:12 PM -- By: Peter Bryan,  From: Pendleton  

David was a great man. We went to St. Louis last year to attend the alternatives conference. He was instrumantal to my going there. We had dinner together every night of the event. We had fun. He helped me alot.

08-05-2008 6:05 PM -- By: Maxine Stone,  From:  

David once climbed the Chief Joseph trail to reach Ice Lake high in the Wallowas of Eastern Oregon.   I asked him what it was like and he said, 'it was celestial,' a classic Romprey line.  Later I found this poem by William Stafford and David liked it alot.  In tough times he would remind himself that he knew where that lake was.  

I wish him that peaceful lake and I want his children Maxwell and Eleanor, to always know that they were his love, always, always.  your pal, maxine stone

Why I am Happy, William Stafford

Now has come an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens

I hear all this, every summer.  I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent sping.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.

And I know where it is.

08-05-2008 5:48 PM -- By: Heather hartman,  From: Southern Oregon  

David was such a warm and welcoming spirit.  I had only one chance to meet him in person, but through the various email lists I got to know what a kind, passionate, and knowledgable person he was.  He inspired me in my work, as I am sure he did countless others.  He will truly be missed.

08-05-2008 3:33 PM -- By: Joseph Rogers,  From: Philadelphia  

David always made me laugh

08-05-2008 1:11 PM -- By: Terin McGee,  From: Salem OR  

David, You're a good man with so much ambiusion that it was almost dishardening not to see you at a meeting somewhere. Your engergy was something that I looked forword to everytime we met. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to your children hoping that they never forget about the great man their Father was. And all the things he accomplished in the short amout of time he lived.  David , you will be most deffenately  missed in this world.

08-05-2008 11:16 AM -- By: Karen Cormac-Jones,  From: Salem, Oregon  

David Romprey was an extraordinary person and someone who had a great passion for humanity and justice.   I remember David waiting to testify at the Oregon Legislature, furiously writing on  his open laptop yet listening to committee proceedings, ready with a grin, wanting to read others' testimony before it was presented - such energy and exuberance!  I was also happy to see him at the Integrative Mental Health Care of Oregon presentations at the library (alternative ways of curing mental illness), asking thoughtful questions of the MDs, NDs, and acupuncturists. 

What a different world this would be if we were all more like David Romprey!  His brief presence in this place, in this time has touched us all.

08-05-2008 7:52 AM -- By: Saya Krebs,  From: Pittsburgh PA  

To David's family and friends and am so very sorry for your loss....for the loss to all of us! I met David at an ALternatives conference where he was doing what David did best...bening a frind and an advocate to all. When I saw him again the next year he was the same friend and advocate. Always a smile, always trying to do the best he could in this thing we call life! May your grief be as gentle as it can be, and may you live each moment for each moment.


08-05-2008 6:22 AM -- By: Rick Snook,  From: Portland  

I remember the first time I met David R- he was working on what became the grant that started Empowerment Initiatives, out of the OHSU. I was director of a support services brokerage in developmental disabilities and he came by for advice about building self- directed supports in mental health. I was very excited by the idea but didn't know how long it would take or if it would become reality.

Later, I met someone who had been working on the advisory board for the project just before it began (we were both in the psychiatric ward at the time). After I was let loose, I showed up at a board meeting and quickly joined the effort along with David.

EI is still going and is still (I think) the nation's only consumer operated brokerage in >mental health support.

I had the opportunity to be at the state capital a couple of times with David, testifying on behalf of self-directed supports and related legislation. I was always especially amazed by how many people he knew- he literally greeted by name just about everyone we met or saw (many of whom were politicians or state mental health staff).

I will miss David and miss what he brings to the table of the consumer/ survivor movement.

Rick Snook

08-05-2008 2:42 AM -- By: Alysa,  From: Philadelphia, PA  

To David,

3000 miles away, on the other side of this country, our City's advocates, leaders and peers, are still feeling the aftershocks. Your loss is being mourned by those who knew you both professionally and personally.  Your contributions and accomplishments will never go unrecognized.  They have and will continue to invite dialogue and change in rooms all over this great big City.  You have touched corners of this universe far beyond that beautiful imagination.  As an advocate and leader in this City's transformation crusade I am honored to have had the opportunity to exchange insights and help carry your message of hope.  Thank you for efforts in helping to "Bridge The Gaps" back East . As a friend I don't quite know how to work it without you, David. You were a confidante, a mentor, a soldier, a leader, a wonderful parent, brother, son.  May you rest peacefully with your brother and your father. 

My Condolences to Your Children, Max and Eleanor, to your mother, Lois and to that "cool cat, " named Courage.

My Condolences to the Great State of Oregon, you have lost an irreplacable leader, a pioneer, a fine man.


08-04-2008 11:37 PM -- By: David W. Oaks,  From: Eugene, Oregon, USA  

[What I e-mailed out when I heard the news.]

Psychiatric survivor, mental health consumer, advocate, activist, friend.


by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

This morning I received the overwhelming sad news that my friend, long-time activist David Romprey of Salem, Oregon, died suddenly last night, on 30 July 2008.

We are all still reeling from news.

This is just a brief notice, of course more later. I especially think of David's two young children at this time, as well as the many, many close friends and colleagues David worked with. If you know of any who may not have heard the news -- or just to exchange support -- please phone them.

Tragically, David Romprey was just about to start his job with the State of Oregon on 4 August 2008 in the new three-year "Peer Bridger" program to help those he was most passionate about -- those locked in psychiatric institutions -- to integrate into the community.

Last month I had written a letter of recommendation at his request about this job. A few points especially stand out now:

"He especially emphasizes the importance of inclusion of extremely low income and marginalized people actually in the state psychiatric system. David has been a bridge builder between those who currently use the mental health system, and those who have been traumatized by human rights violations in the mental health system. I especially appreciate David's work as a consultant in the groundwork for building the Oregon Consumer/Survivor Coalition on behalf of the National Empowerment Center."

My fondest memories of David R. was when he attended a protest a few years ago on Bastille Day. We had created a cardboard replica of the Bastille, and dressed up for fun. When the Bastille was destroyed, David R. took great joy in continuing to jump up and down on it, and I will always remember his humor and power and dedication.

David W. Oaks, Director
MindFreedom International

08-04-2008 11:09 PM -- By: beth filson,  From: kansas, now.  

When we all got together in Louisiana - Dan had called us all to come after Katrina and Rita hit - the first thing I noticed about David was his shoes. We were all standing in a parking lot introducing ourselves. His shoes were mountain shoes. I figured he'd climbed a few in his lifetime. This was before I knew he had. He had a mountain heart, and a mountain hug, and I felt in his light that the world could be good again, that we could all make a difference. Death can't take this away.

P.S. I forgot to add that you also have a mountain laugh....

08-04-2008 9:51 PM -- By: Phineas Warren,  From: Portland  

David was willing to enter the grit and empower others to sparkle. His dynamic strength, passion, and vitality will live on. He was more than an advocate for others, he was an example for all of us.  I am very thankful to have known him and the world is better for having known him.

Best of wishes,

Phineas Warren

08-04-2008 8:11 PM -- By: Alice Mills,  From: Ontario, Oregon  

"Hope is a good thing-maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies."  Stephen King

David knew that one has to have hope to have recovery--we saw hope energized when David was involved.  He will be missed but we won't let a good thing like hope die.

With sincere condolences,

Alice Mills 

08-04-2008 8:00 PM -- By: Kim ,  From: Salem  

I knew David as a friend, not as the professional as so many people did. He talked seldom of his work with me but when he did it was ever so passionate. He spoke mostly of Max and Eleanor, his friends, his interests, his busy social calendar, his next great adventure. 

What I will remember most about David is how open, honest and direct he always was. When I think of how hard it was for him to hide his feelings it makes me smile. He was so unguarded, funny, playful, warm, compassionate, charming, opinionated, out there, and full of enthusiasm for whatever came his way. And his words could be so powerful at the perfect moment when I didn’t even know I needed to hear them. But he did. I aspire to be like him in so many ways.
David helped me with a family member in crisis. It was not his job but there was a serious gap in services at the moments that I leaned on him for advice. He not only advised me and comforted me, but jumped right in and took action, dropping the work at hand to use his “warm line” skills and his numerous professional contacts to keep my family member from harm and promote their wellness, recovery, and access to services.
I will miss his smiling face at coffee on the weekends at South Salem Starbucks. I will miss seeing him everywhere I turn, so often neglecting to call him because I knew I would run into him in the next few days…     
He was a friend, a hero, a fine example, a smiling face, a force.  I will feel his absence ever so much.

08-04-2008 5:00 PM -- By: Connie,  From: Salem  

David will be my friend for ever; he always had a smile and a positive word every time I saw him. He made me feel beautiful and important; I will always miss him.

08-04-2008 4:06 PM -- By: Scott Snedecor,  From: Portland  

I  first met Dave at the Alternatives Conference in Long Beach in 1998.  I remember he was very personable and friendly.  We got together and discussed the revolution.  I think Dave and I have a lot in common.  We love to meet new people and need to have challenging professional lives.  We also share the passion of being warriors in the consumer/survivor movement.  We had an inside joke.  Whenever we would see each other we would have big grins and shake each other's hands enthusiastically.  This would often be followed by a hug.  We would joke that we are both "gladhanders" in the good sense of the word.  Dave and I had some troubles periodically but I am pleased to say that I had a chat with him about a month ago and we not only resolved our issues, but were both looking forward to his starting to work at the State Hospital.  I will miss him.  He was going to be in the trenches with me as we bring new thinking and culture to State Hospital Programs.  I was sad for Dave because he lost Glen a short time ago.  Anybody that new Glen would recognise the energy that he and Dave shared.  I believe in the lasting energy of souls in the universe.  I am so glad that I knew Dave and hope the best for his soul through eternity.  My condolences to his family.

08-04-2008 3:06 PM -- By: corbett,  From: portland  


08-04-2008 2:53 PM -- By: Pat Davis-Salyer,  From: Salem  

Dear David, You are always with us.  You are much too bold, brave, firey, brilliant, wild and wonderful to disappear by leaving that hunk (tall tree) of a container you were given for the past 42....almost 43 years.  Every tall oak tree will reflect the walking statement you are...every time you walked into a room, came to a meeting, wrote an article, spoke at meetings, represented the movement, pushed for a cause, sent an email, even when you sat at Starbuck's or the Coffee House or the DHS Cafeteria with your laptop out and papers spread out across at least two tables, you were a bold statement for the rights of those who deal with a dianosis, illness, those who are vulnerable, those who have been marginalized and lost their civil rights and dignity...you were there to demand dignity and inclusion!  You were a "pusher and a shaker!"  Ha!  The best kind --  You PUSHED person-centered thinking, recovery, hope, you demanded that each person dealing with a mental illness or psychiatric disorder or behavioral health and physical health complications as a result of trauma, neglect, or abuse be at the HEAD of the TABLE to deal with a wellness and recovery plan, their plan, their life so it better be "nothing about us without us man!" 

You shook the ground when you walked in!  A tall tree walking all across Oregon, shaking the system every where you went.  David you have not left you have multiplied...you are in all of us and we will continue to walk boldly and take big steps to move the system of care on in the person-centered direction you were heading.  Peers -- the person leading the way, working in mutuality with all who would join the "movement."

We are still moving...you will never die!

You are my brother and friend and always in my heart and mind.  You are eternal and I know I will see you showing up in all of us as we continue our mutual mission.

I love you David!  Enjoy your wellness now while we continue to PUSH for wellness for the rest of us in mind, body, and spirit.

Your sister Pat from "God-Land"

08-04-2008 2:43 PM -- By: Patti Ullrich,  From: Portland, OR  

Dear David,

Thank you so much for your contributions to the mental health movement in Oregon.  I can still remember the day we met, when you spoke to the first SPIRIT class in 2005 and explained your passion for those who had experienced loss and opression through the mental health system and how you and others like you were working hard to change the system.  In later meetings with you, I was amazed at the energy you put into everything.  I am also thankful for your assistance with helping our agency become a 501(c)3 and setting up our Bylaws so that we could also offer services to help other Oregonians become empowered.  You will be missed.

08-04-2008 2:19 PM -- By: Chris Olwine,  From:  


your leadership was incredibly sharp and irreplaceable.  Always one to have the pulse on what can work.  You impressed me on many levels, mostly how direct and authentic your muse for the moment.  Peace to you brother, i'm pissed we never got to paddle together. 

to max and eleanor: your dad lit up like a christmas tree anytime he brought stories of you into a room.  May his strength, courage and humor be with us.   Chris

08-04-2008 1:43 PM -- By: RL,  From:  

"My candle burns at both ends

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -

It gives a lovely light."


Edna St. Vincent Millay

"A Few Figs from Thistles", 1920


After the first long, dark night following the news of David's death, I crawled from bed with these old words fished from the recesses of my mind.  I find comfort in this poem, because it seems so reflective of who David was and how he lived.  He is gone too soon, but I hold dear the wisdom and sensitivity that he shared with me and countless others.  David demonstrated that it is possible (and joyous) to live in the moment.  He was the cool sip of water when I was fatigued by the slow, uphill struggle to achieve change, and I am forever grateful.  And no one who has known David in any capacity, "foe" or "friend", could deny the brightness of his light.  

Max and Eleanor - your father spoke of you often, and never missed an opportunity to talk about how proud he was of you both or take out his wallet and show off your photos.  He was a great man, and he will be missed.

08-04-2008 1:09 PM -- By: Neil Falk,  From: Portland, OR  

David was certainly one of the forces (a force indeed!) that helped develop my sense of how to approach my role as a mental health provider.  I will always remember a lovely breakfast with him and his wife at a conference in Redmond, as we prepared for a presentation together.  He was dynamic, empathetic, passionate, insightful, honest, loving, intelligent, humorous....  Above all, he was so open with his humanity - his strength, his vulnerability, his acceptance.  He will be missed by those he touched, and by countless others he helped without ever meeting them.  Thank you, David.

08-04-2008 12:59 PM -- By: Laura Roderick,  From: Hubbard Oregon  

I will listen to the Hymns To The Silence forever in remembrance. Safe journey my friend.


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