This article originally provided by The Charleston Daily Mail

June 18, 2007

Galperin remembered as strong advocate

A former state legislator and environmental advocate has died.

Si Galperin Jr. 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 causes 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 Virginia."

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 2004 interview.

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 in 1988.

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 West Virginia Citizen Action Group and Common Cause.

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 recent days.

"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 heck of a 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 said.

Galperin is survived by his wife, Maureen Supcoe Galperin, two sons, several stepchildren and their families. Barlow-Bonsall Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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