David Romprey August 18, 1965 - July 30, 2008
SALEM - David Romprey,42, passed from this earth suddenly on July 30, 2008 near his home in Salem. David will be missed by loving family, faithful and supportive friends, and a host of people who have yet to be impacted by his vision for change. Only 30 minutes after his birth, his heart stopped beating for 3 minutes. While his welfare hung in the balance, his Mother asked God to spare his life that he would know he was alive for a very special purpose. Robert E. Nikkel, Assistant Director of Oregon's Department of Human Services, Addictions and Mental Health Division, has outlined a portion of David's accomplishments which have fulfilled this purpose.
During the last fifteen years, David played an increasingly important role in reforming and transforming Oregon's community mental health and state hospital system of care. He attended his first advocacy conference at the University of Oregon in 1991 shortly after his discharge from Oregon State Hospital. He returned to college and completed his B.S. degree in Management and Communication at Western Baptist College (now Corban College) in Salem in 1996. He was a longtime member of the state's Mental Health Planning and Management Advisory Council and served on the Trauma Subcommittee.
For the past five years he served as an advisor to the Department of Human Services Assistant Director for the Addictions and Mental Health Division. David worked for, contracted with, or consulted for numerous organizations including Marion County Mental Health, the Mid Valley Behavioral Healthcare Network, Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc., the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs, MindFreedom International, and the National Empowerment Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He represented the Oregon Health and Science University's Center on Self Determination, the Oregon Consumer/Survivors Coalition, and the Oregon Peer Response Network, the Oregon Competitive Employment Project Leadership Council. He provided testimony to Governor Kulongoski's Mental Health Task Force in 2005, and in 2007, David provided consumer input into the state's new integrated electronic client medical records and data base. Most recently he provided written testimony to the Oregon Legislature's Joint Committee on Oregon State Hospital Patient Care.
David actively promoted peer supports, consumer choice and self-determination by
playing a key role in establishing a telephone warmline for rural Oregon (now named in his honor as the David Romprey Memorial Warmline) and in creating one of the nation's first Peer Bridger initiatives at Oregon State Hospital for which he was hired as thefirst coordinator. He served with Dr. Daniel Fisher of the National Empowerment Center in late 2005 to provide on-site leadership consultation for victims of Hurricane's Katrina and Rita in Louisiana.
In 2008, he was named co-leader for the Addictions and Mental Health Division's Wellness Initiative to increase quality of health and extend lifespans for Oregonians diagnosed with major mental illnesses. David also provided expertise in consumer choice and recovery to replace Oregon State Hospital with new treatment facilities.
Finally, he had begun assisting teaching about consumer perspectives at Oregon Health and Science University's Public Psychiatry Training Program's Interdisciplinary Seminar to better train psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers.
David was recognized many times for his advocacy and linking consumers with decision-makers. Just two examples include the 2005 Oregon Mental Health Excellence Award and at the 21st National Alternatives Conference in 2007 where he was given one of the Garrett Smith Memorial Awards.
Oregon's public mental health system will benefit for decades to come from David's unwavering vision and perseverance. Everyone connected with changing mental health services and supports will miss the inspiring leadership of David Romprey.
At Englewood High School, Colorado, David excelled in journalism, track and field, winning awards and breaking records. He was a member of Quill and Scroll. During his teen years he spent two summers with Teen Missions, serving to help build churches in the Philippines. While serving with the United States Army and stationed in Germany, he again broke records on the track field, for which he was offered a scholarship to University of Colorado in Boulder. He was a graduate of Western Bible College, Eugene Oregon and of Western Baptist Seminary of Salem, magna cum laude.
David's father and brother have predeceased him. His sister lives in Paris, France and his mother in California. A single Dad, David leaves two children, Maxwell, age 11 and Eleanor, age 8, both of Oregon.
Services were held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, August 7 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1444 Liberty St. SE. in Salem.