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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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08-04-2008 12:35 PM -- By: Debi,  From: Maryland  

Wow, i came here to visit Dwayne (seen in pic to left) and I saw this site.  What an extraordinary man David is!  I wish I could have met him in person. 

I am certian you will be  missed, but your Angel wings will keep your mission occurring in this realm--of course with your angelic guidance, David!

To Family and Friends, I empathize with your loss.

Peace and Love,


08-04-2008 12:09 PM -- By: Ann Kasper,  From: Portland, OR  

David faced fear with love and honesty. He fought boundaries where there should be none. In essence, bringing the song Imagine to life. 

I am grateful for his overarching vision and I hope that we continue to advocate wtihout borders as he did.

His death occurred on my birthday and it remindied me of the universal cycles that we all walk through, hopefully with community.  Also, I wonder if a bit of his spirit came through this week. I demonstrated the emotion of anger for the first time ever at a public county meeting and it helped to produce the results we advocates were seeking. It felt scary and releasing to be so honest at the same time. David was not afraid to share emotions.  

As a friend often says, and I think David would agree, "Life may not be the party you planned for, but you might as well dance!" 

And dance he did.

08-04-2008 11:42 AM -- By: Debra LaVergne,  From: Louisiana  

As I write this my eyes are clouded with tears and my heart is breaking. I had recently left David a voicemail from a conference I was attending in Orlando. I remember myself and another mental health advocate friend of ours, Glen yelling into the phone gleefully saying how much we missed him and wished he was here with us!! We had often attending many of of the same mental health conferences around the country.   David was a beloved and adopted honorary Louisianian. He loved Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I will be forever greatful to Dr. Dan Fisher for bringing David into our lives. Both of them assisting us with Disaster and Peer Support after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. David was as close as a Brother to myself and other members of Meaningful  Minds of Louisiana. 

In closing, David will always be in my heart. He excuded such positive energy. He loved all people and he was so passionate and humorous and he will forever be one of my fondest HEROES!!!

Love you always my dear friend, until we meet again!!  Debra

08-04-2008 11:00 AM -- By: Doc ,  From: Salem  




Core Beliefs


Devoted Dad


(I bet some of you may not have thought to have David associated with the word, comprimise, but he, in fact, had grown into that role as a leader in an effort to bring diverse opinions and groups to the table.)

David and I shared a few large coffees (probably too many given some of our schemes, brainstorms and discussions on choice of words) as we ping-ponged ideas, concepts and options about how to fix things that were long overdue to be fixed. And in everyone of those meetings, he was always gleaming about the latest goings on with his children. Great stuff! Gonna miss that to be sure.

So now folks, his light has shown us the paths we need to be on. His legacy is for each of us to turn up our own lights and infuse some of the Romprey in us all and carrry on.

I think, in those future meetings that may be going on too long, in those moments when we may lose focus of what our real work is all about, when our personal agendas may  tend to overshadow a bigger goal, it will make sense for one/or all of us to pause and call for a "Romprey Moment" and get ourselves back on the path.

David, thanks so much for carrying the torch!



08-04-2008 10:46 AM -- By: Cathy Clemens,  From:  

David was a strong advocate for people with mental health issues and a fighter for human rights.  I remember his bold actions and social engagement in activism.  Thank you David for your work and encouragement.

08-04-2008 9:13 AM -- By: Shannon,  From: Heppner  

It's so hard to sum up David in words.  He was fire and ice.  He burned so deeply with a passion to ensure that people with mental illness were treated with the integrity, the honesty, and the respect that they deserved in order for them to live a healthy life.  We butted heads at times, me being Type "A" and needing to dot all the "i's" and cross all the "t's" and he being a "We need to do this RIGHT now".  (and anyone who ever corresponded with David knows he would have capitalized half this paragraph, LOL)  But we always came together to make things work.  We had such long wonderful conversations about self determination and the rights of people to govern themselves.  He had a beautiful mind and a beautiful heart and I am going to miss him terribly. 

My heart goes out to Max and Eleanor.  If you ever read this I hope you know that almost every conversation with your dad included something about you guys.  His love, pride,  and joy in you was always shining.


David may be gone but his impact, his legacy, his words live on.



08-04-2008 3:39 AM -- By: Ken Siedler,  From: Portland, OR  

I will always remember his genius for saying things that had to be said, even on those occassions when he had to reconsider and sometimes mend fences.  He seemed to burn with the understanding that humanitarian ideals testify to real experiences of dignity and suffering.  My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

08-04-2008 1:05 AM -- By: Daily Dupre',  From: Lafayette, LA  

We of Meaningful Minds of Louisiana, a statewide mental health advocacy  organization, give tribute to an icon, a symbol of freedom and life! A great loss! We grieve for our brother! David came into our lives following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August, 2005 like the tidal waves and extreme winds that devastated our dear Louisiana, he made such a powerful but positive impact on survivors of this horrific disaster!

We will mourn the loss of David Romprey who dedicated a part of his life to his peers in Louisiana. He, Dan Fisher, Beth Filson, Laverne Miller, Kate Rote, and other national experts gave us the impetus to carry on.

With reverence and respect,

Daily Dupre’

Daily Dupre’

Meaningful Minds of Louisiana (MMLA) Board of Directors

National & State Mental Health Advocate



08-04-2008 12:02 AM -- By: Satya Chandragiri, MD,  From: Salem  

David was a true inspiration for persons suffering from mental illness and all those who served them.  The best way to remember him would be to continue the work that was most passionate for him- mental health advocacy and recovery for the persons suffering from mental illness.

08-03-2008 11:42 PM -- By: David Pollack,  From: West Linn, Oregon  

David was (and will continue to be) a most inspiring and self-disclosing person.  Humble in spite of his enormous energy and ideas, caring , and creative, he will be sorely missed throughout the Oregon mental health system and elsewhere in the country.  He had a major impact and caused many of us to think more clearly and inclusively about our work and the persons whom we serve.

08-03-2008 11:05 PM -- By: Laura Van Tosh,  From:  

I write you from Washington State where yes, David had an impact as recently as a week before we lost him.  He and I and others were corresponding about ways to organize in WA where we desperately need it. He gave generously of his time in this area, knowing that everyone needs to come together for recovery.
David was a walking ripple-effect. 
I knew David since meeting him at Alternatives Conference many moons ago.  I met David and Scott S. at the same time, they were standing together.  Both had infectious smiles.  It was very hard not to smile back. 
David came to Washington State well over a year ago to speak at our large state hospital where I work.  I am ex-patient of this hospital and we shared that "qualification" as he was about to embark on such an important project at Oregon State Hospital.  I was proud of David and rooting for him, since working in a state hospital is one of the most challenging jobs a consumer/survivor can take on. 
There was a lot I didn't know about David but as the days roll by without him in our lives; I am learning more from others in Oregon, his beloved home community.  His friends and colleagues are true to him and lovingly honest and endearing.  
David impacted many people, and made an impact on institutions, policy, and public perception.  David's work was documented in the media in most special ways that survive him and encourage others.  This is why David reminds me of a ripple-effect. 
The pebble thrown is greater than all of us, and David was the energy to keep the water moving. 

08-03-2008 10:30 PM -- By: Kimberly Lindsay,  From: Heppner, Oregon  

David was a person of strong conviction, passion and integrity.  It is hard to summarize David in words.  He was an inspiration to me and I will miss him dearly and daily.

08-03-2008 8:41 PM -- By: Chris Foulke,  From: Corn Valley, OR  

I began to associate with David in the last year and was blessed by his leadership and funky way during that time..

I don't know totally 'what I'm doing' but here goes...

we have witnessed the fall of a grandaddy of our popular forest, a big Doug with old-growth spirit and heartwood as wide as a creek, stronger than many a mountain side, more powerful than a guffawing bear or laughing cony, a veritable mischievous raccoon.  I feel good just having stood across from him, gabbed with him, and gathered strength in his towering presence...

I dedicated a poem to David at a Poetry Slam in Corn Valley on July 27th.  To me, he was a 'multi-colored soul', a voice for those not able to speak, a man with passion and vision to lead us in this community of 'mental health', as poor a descriptor as it is.  

When a good man dies, his death is a deepening, enriching experience that hits you like a big emotional wallop, then begins to take hold and grow and build out from inside...infusing substance inside our GUT and beyond.  It's as if his spirit is dispersing-ramifying out into all his--and our--environment:  family, friends, colleagues, critters, the air, the live soil, the great green world, and into the CLOUDS. 

For us, it will be a growth experience more than anything.  A person's wealth, work, and worth is spread abroad to infuse and magnify others throughout his life, and it never stops...

Many thoughts...His rascally wit, and winning smile.  I feel that I did it again, not responding to him in real time, but his last email to me says something that 's at the forefront of my thinking (and and writing about and trying to practice)-- which is to help my friends and local groups and build this 'movement' up from the grass roots, with a together spirit-soul-mind--consciousness-nutrient brain- -emotion-passion-heart-animal drive/will going back into &up through the prism of Earth driving upward for breath and light and --I always wonder what I could have done to make a difference, but everyone has his/her time.  It could have been me or anyone..

As to Pat Davis' all-important question, will we take up where he left off??  I'd like to answer, Yes!  Shout it to the firs and sing it to the sky...we can, we can, we can, we should, we WILL---it's up to us!   David created some momentum that would be hard not to follow. 

And you know, David would want us to be happy and laugh with him, too, knowing the absurdity of so much, of lots of life, and to fight and advocate for all of us wrongly locked & shocked up, knocked or blocked up, or improperly docked up to the wrong pier.

A strong talker--and a half, he infused passion, flashing an unforgetable grin, didn't wait for things to happen, he moved them...and us--and had some whittling-down words that whacked close to the core...yet with a kindness spurring one on to do more.  damn, we'll have to have that big barbeque of all steakholders (& the veggie burgers) soon.

When great ones fall, the sound goes out in a big thud, through the ground, air, and our noggins...then a beautiful peace and silence descends, in which many creatures will someday grow and be healed:  young plants, squirrels, racoon-teures, baby ferns, deer, growing bears, woods folk and washer women, and those sky flowers all the forest folk dream of. 

There is a unity in sadness and joy--a coming together of all humanity for a new day underneath the soft sweep of cloud, breath of fresh morning air,  a baby's cry, a new love, birth, good friends together, elders' sharing wisdom, all unique (inc. knock-kneed) woodsmen going off to work, amidst towering Dougs, understanding hemlocks, beautiful glistening cedars, patient rocks, joyful insects, prescient birds, all headin/flying to their appointed places///and the plenteous sky opens and shouts to us of the joy of our friends' life....and broad expanses of patent blue sky-----I can almost hear MLK's words,

'free at last, free at last.......when all God's children....... ...are free at last"..

..I feel now, although there's a lot sadness and tears down here, for David,


            "there is considerable rejoicing in Heaven"



08-03-2008 4:35 PM -- By: meghan caughey,  From: Alpine, OR  

I knew David Romprey, the leader who spoke with keen eloquence and gesticulated with such drama and force that occasionally during a public hearing he would nearly knock over the microphone with his broad, emphatic gestures.


 Also ,it was very important to David to have a sense of belonging, and  because of this, he included everyone in his sphere of friends and peers. He really understood what “nonhierarchical” means for the peer movement.


In addition, I learned things from David. One thing in particular had to do with group facilitation. We were in a large group and David and brought to the group several peers, and one of them was sharing to the group something that was important to him and then the sharing continued for quite a long time. Pretty soon it was clear that the man was not going to stop speaking in less there was some kind of external intervention. David very lightly said to his peer,

“That is great______! Thanks! Now let’s move the energy around!”

The man who was speaking stopped, nodded his head and grinned.

Everyone in the room was relieved.

 I have used this intervention many times since hearing him use it, and I now teach it in peer trainings because I think that it is so skillful and respectful, and natural.


But the main thing about David for me is David the friend, and David the father.


I was in Washington DC at a conference; many miles from home, when I received word that a homeless woman with whom I had been

working had been found that morning ,dead of hypothermia in Corvallis. I was filled with grief and it was extra hard since I was so far from home. The first person that I thought to call was David.


He and I and gotten closer recently and I felt like I could lean on him during this difficult time. He was there for me and he was a great comfort with his words of hope, and with his understanding of what I was going through. He understood my grief, and since he understood it, I felt like it was not quite so heavy for me.

I was so grateful to him then, and I am so grateful to him now.


Later, he was very excited about the prospect of working at the Oregon State Hospital. He had always been very supportive of my LOTUS wellness support groups. He said that he wanted me to teach him ‘mindfulness’ and then come to OSH and bring LOTUS and mindfulness there. When it was time for him to apply for the peer specialist position there, he asked me to write a letter of recommendation for him. I was much pleased to do so.

I stated in the letter that he had the dedication of heart and soul that the position required.

I also said the he was a person who could help heal the hospital, and that he had already begun that work.

I was really looking forward to working with David on bringing greater wellness and mindfulness activities to our peers at OSH.

When I wrote my letter for David, he was so grateful. It mattered to him that I was willing to go on record on his behalf.

I was truly happy and excited when I learned that he had secured the job—of course I knew he would---and that he would soon be doing that job that he was so much wanting to do.


Finally, David was a great Dad. In fact, he described himself this way to me. I said that I did not realize that he was a father. He said that being a dad was the most important thing to him, that he loved it, hat his kids brought him more joy than any thing else. He was very emphatic about this. No ‘if s’ or ‘buts’. David the Dad was a bigger more important role in this life than David the activist, David the

 cool, smart, eloquent leader. All of those public roles just did not compare to the task of his life which was to love and nurture his children.


So, this is what moves me about David Romprey so much: there were so many dimensions and layers to his Being. He was a giver, not a taker, and he has given us many gifts that will stay with us, even though his physical presence has left us. I know that I will use his gifts, with a full measure of gratitude.

And I will not forget him.

He will live in my heart and in the hearts of the persons whose lives he touched.

As the pain eases, I will celebrate the beauty of his Being and all that he accomplished and stood for.

That is, I believe, what David would want.

Celebration, joy, and passion for all that is good and right.


Meghan  Caughey

08-03-2008 3:31 PM -- By: Daniel b. Fisher,  From: Cambridge, Mass.  

David I can feel you are right here reminding me to keep up the fight for the rights and recovery of persons dealing with mental health issues. You are always in my heart. Love Dan

08-03-2008 1:25 PM -- By: Bob and Gina Nikkel,  From: Wilsonville, Oregon  

Gina and I continue to grieve this unbelievable loss.  We can only look forward to recommitting ourselves to doing the right things as we support the humanity and challenges of recovery.

08-02-2008 9:57 PM -- By: Beckie Child,  From: Portland, Oregon  

David's largest desire in life was to love and be loved.  I will miss him greatly.  David was in some ways a very simple person, and in others a very complicated person.  I will miss David very much.

I will miss David's passion for his advocacy.  I will miss his voice.  We did not always agree on method or strategy--but we did agree on the overall mission--to transform the mental health system in Oregon. 

I will always treasure the phone calls David made to me to encourage me with school.  Thank you, David.  I will miss his phone calls.

Max and Eleanor, please know that your father loved you both very, very much.  He would have done anything for both of you.  David was so very proud of you, Max, and you, Eleanor.  Eleanor, I know he didn't get to see you as often as he would have liked but what I know is that he treasured every moment that he spent with you.  He frequently told me how much he loved both of you.  I know that David would want you to reach for your dreams. Max, I know that David loved your cat, Courage.  Give Courage an ear rub and some chin skritchings for me.  I will miss Courage, too.

David was a friend of mine.  I cared about him very much. 

I loved his passion for justice and in this passion and struggle, we were brother and sister.  I will miss him. 

Dear David, peace be with you.  I hope you get to meet up with Glenn and your father. 

much love,




08-01-2008 7:20 PM -- By: David W. Oaks,  From: Eugene, Oregon, USA  

Welcome to a guest book area for remembering David Romprey. Please conside leaving your thoughts and comments here, which we intend to keep public for as long as possible.


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