This article originally provided by
June 18, 2007
Si Galperin, former state senator, dies
Si Galperin Jr., a longtime activist and state legislator from the 1960s to
the early ’80s, died Sunday of complications following a stroke. He was 75.
Friends and colleagues of Galperin remembered him Sunday as a staunch
Democrat who continued to lobby for environmental issues until recently.
“He was always a champion of liberal causes and dedicated to the land and
people,” said former Rep. Ken Hechler, D-W.Va.
“I’ve known Si ever since he was in the state Senate,” Hechler said. “He
joined other people in banning strip mining in a number of counties in West
Simon Hirsch Galperin Jr. was a lifelong resident of Charleston. He attended
Stonewall Jackson High School and Cronbrook Academy and earned a B.A. degree in
business from Washington and Lee University.
He joined the family business, Galperin Music, after serving in the Navy
during the Korean War. But during his military service he found his real
vocation, an interest in government, he told Gazette reporter Sandy Wells in a
He entered politics shortly after the assassination of President John Kennedy
and was first elected to the Legislature in 1966. He served two terms in the
House of Delegates and two more in the Senate.
Galperin ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1980 after the death of John
Slack, losing to John Hutchinson. He also lost a bid for Kanawha County assessor
Following his years in the Legislature, Galperin worked with the state
Association of Realtors and the Real Estate Appraiser Licensing and
Certification Board. But he continued to lobby for environmental and
open-government causes with groups like the W.Va. Citizen Action Group and
During the 1980s, WVCAG gave out an annual Si Galperin Award to honor those
who opposed special-interest legislation.
Former WVCAG Director Norm Steenstra, now the group’s legislative
coordinator, said Galperin’s death was not unexpected, as he had been ill in
“I don’t think there was a more decent and honorable man in politics than
Si,” Steenstra said. “I was lucky enough to work on the Clean Elections bill
with him. During this past legislative session, he was still quite active. He
was just a heckuva guy.”
Galperin also opposed mountaintop removal mining in his later years, Hechler
said. The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition gave him its Laura Forman Passion
for Justice Award three years ago for those efforts.
“We will miss him as a strong advocate of environmental protection,” Hechler
Galperin is survived by his wife, Maureen Supcoe Galperin, two sons, several
stepchildren and their families.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Barlow-Bonsall Funeral Home at
1118 Virginia St. East in Charleston. The funeral service will be held at 3 p.m.
Tuesday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment
Center, 1701 5th Ave., Charleston, WV 25312 or Social Action Committee at Temple
Israel, 2312 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25311.
To contact staff writer Jim Balow, use e-mail or call 348-5102.
Click here to read Galperin's obituary.