Keith Kessler - a final message from DAC4VA
Sent: Fri, Feb 19, 2010 3:01 pm
Subject: re:Keith Kessler
Keith Kessler of Woodbridge, a health care reform activist whose passion positively affected the lives of many, passed away Thursday at the age of 59 due to complications from pneumonia.
He was a quadriplegic for most of his life, due to a sports injury in his early years. While life presented him with so many physical obstacles he saw none and rose above them all.
He fought hard for
the handicapped people with disabilities, the elderly, and those with special needs beyond his own state of Virginia. He was out spoken and always had way of getting his voice heard. He met with many state governors and battled for those that couldn't fight for themselves. He was an appointed member to many state boards, committees and commissions and influenced over 15 million voters nationwide. He founded the DAC (Disabled Action Committee) and was passionate about it.
In his early years he played guitar and was the leader of his own band "Shades of Purple". He loved the outdoors, boating and fishing and flying, he was a pilot. He dabbled in several businesses such as auto repair, carpet, restaurant and real estate, etc. Keith's happiest memory was working with his dad on Dewey's supply boat, a store on the water nicknamed the "Bumboat", in Toledo, Ohio.
Keith was born in Toledo, Ohio on September 8, 1950, and moved to Virginia in 1980. He was preceded in death by his father Dewey Leighton Kessler and mother Joan Sheldon-Kessler. He leaves behind one brother, Dewey Kessler and his wife Deborah, and five sisters, Jean Kessler, Janet Ludwig and husband Fredrick, Kathleen Cook (his twin sister)and husband William, Sheila Comstock and her husband Robert, Kerri Kessler, sixteen nieces and nephews and twenty eight great nieces and nephews, three uncles and three aunts, Virginia Abrahamson, John Sheldon, Charles Sheldon, Marybelle an Earl Shepherd, Doris Sheldon and a wealth of friends including his personal caregivers and best friend of 50 years, Bob Cook.
There will be a celebration of life party for Keith on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 4PM at the VFW Post 1503 on Minnieville Road Woodbridge, VA. Keith planned his own party and burial at sea. In lieu of flowers the family asks that friends donate to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Spinal Cord Injury Foundation. Donations can be made in memory of Keith Kessler at http://www.christopherreeve.org/
Keith always said it's not the quantity of life but the quality of life that counts.
**Some people grin and bear it. Others smile and change it.**
Though this blogger knew Keith via the Internet and through phone conversations since 1997, we never met face to face until 2003. Below is a picture of that meeting which was in the Office of then Virginia Governor Mark Warner.
Warner had promised to meet with Kessler during his election campaign for Governor in 2001. Kessler invited me to attend.
Sent: Monday, March 01, 2010 10:24 AM
Subject: RE: Keith Kessler - a rally icon
Keith Kessler’s Celebration of Life—Sunday, February 21st.
His celebration was planned by him—a party at the VFW. No, he was not a vet, but he hung out there all the time, from what I heard.
There was food, an open bar and a DJ. There were lots of pictures and a notebook that had his autobiography and letters he had written to legislators and written to him by legislators. There were speeches about him. ...
People who attended included his brothers and sisters,
There were tons of folks there, and it lasted for hours. I left but according to ... there was even dancing later.
Eugenics apology: letter to President Bush (click here), Keith sent a similar letter to President Obama in July 2009.
From: Crowley, Jeffrey S. Jeffrey_S._Crowley@who.eop.gov
To: DAC4VA@aol.com; Dale, Kareem A.
Subject: RE: Attn. Jeffrey Crowley, Kareem Dale - Re: President Obama et. Eugenics Apology
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 20:15:37 -0400
Thank you for contacting us. We will take your suggestion under consideration. We appreciate hearing from you.
Jeffrey S. Crowley
Director, Office of National AIDS Policy and Senior Advisor on Disability Policy
The White House
From: DAC4VA@aol.com [mailto:DAC4VA@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 3:27 PM
To: Crowley, Jeffrey S.; Dale, Kareem A.; DAC4VA@aol.com
Subject: Attn. Jeffrey Crowley, Kareem Dale - Re: President Obama et. Eugenics Apology
Jeffrey / Kareem:
We tried to get former President Bush to acknowledge eugenics but unfortunately he ignored our many requests. Would you please see that this request gets to President Obama or at least give us another contact if need be? This would further enhance the Obama legacy and perhaps take some attention away from our reeling economy by providing some positive news at this time. Thank you for your time.
D A C
Disabled Action Committee
14405 Artery Ln#11 - Dale City, VA 22193 - U.S.
Phone 703-878-1737 - Email DAC4VA@aol.com
July 13, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
I'm writing to request that you make an "official" nationwide apology to all of the past 'eugenics' victims still living throughout the United States. Virginia became the first state to offer an official state apology on May 2, 2002, followed by Oregon on December 2, 2002, North Carolina on December 13, 2002, South Carolina on January 09, 2003, and California on March 11, 2003, with Minnesota soon to follow.
As for background California led all other states in forced sterilization's with Virginia following 2nd. It's time for the U.S. to apologize and recognize all eugenics victims of which many are still alive to bring a sense of closure to this issue just as you did on June 19, 2009 regarding the slavery apology. Incidentally, none of the slaves are/were alive for that apology, whereas, hundreds of eugenics victims still exist today.
It would only be fitting to ask Senator Mark R. Warner of Virginia who issued the first state apology to eugenic victims to join you in your statement.
All of the eugenics apologies evolved from the focused effort of two people who initiated this movement from Virginia. Phil Theisen from Lynchburg, Virginia and Keith Kessler from Dale City, Virginia. We were the force resulting in state legislation being passed to finally remember past eugenics victims. The apologies were also the cumulative result of 3 decades of investigative press coverage.
We are not asking for any form of remuneration or financial reward but simply an acknowledgment of the horrible forced sterilizations upon people in 33 states from circa 1900-1985. It's time to put this entire issue to rest and apologize to those individuals still left living that had to endure the foolhardy practice of eugenics from the past and live that nightmare yet today.
These individuals of all races who were once deemed unfit for society are made up of past war hero's to current day nurses. It's only fair that you as President declare a National Day of Acknowledgment and apologize for the mistakes made by past leaders.
Eugenics became the focus of an exhibit in the United States Holocaust Museum in 2004. As President of the United States it would be your honor to acknowledge, in this timely manor, all of those from every walk of life who went through the horrible legacy of eugenics.
Keith Kessler - Founder of DAC (disabled Action committee)
14405 Artery Ln#11
Dale City, VA 22193
**Some people grin and bear it. Others smile and change it.**
NOTE: Enclosed is the House Resolution offering a "regret" in 2001, followed by Governor Warner's official state "apology" for eugenics on May 2, 2002.
HJ607 - Virginia General Assembly - 2001 Session
Apology of Governor Mark R. Warner on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia on the 75th Anniversary of the US Supreme Court Decision in Buck v. Bell Decision