Saturday, January 12, 2013

In Which January 10th is Declared Paul "Doc" Berry Day in Honor of My Father

 My father's friends are pretty amazing. He has chosen them wisely over the years. In July of last year, one of them, Josh Reppun, asked me to help him and a few others nominate my father to be a Living Treasure by the Hongwanji Buddhist Mission, which designates certain denizens of Hawaii to be thus every year.

So I edited a document lauding my amazing father's many wonderful qualities and achievements. He's an educator, a filmmaker, a writer, an advocate for sustainability, a deep thinker, a problem solver, a great friend, father, brother, uncle.... I could go on and on.

But the Hongwanji Buddhist Mission did not select Dad to be a Living Treasure, despite the fact that he is eminently qualified. (Not that I'm biased!)

A photo of Dad from awhile back:

Who cares? Everyone in Hawaii knows and loves Dad. During his years as a teacher at Punahou, at UH, as a board member of many charities, as an op-ed writer, as a legislative witness, as a pot-stirrer and trouble-maker for lazy thinkers, Dad has met and talked to just about everyone in the state. A bunch of his students from Punahou started a fellowship in his name to teach teachers about issues of sustainability. He's that kind of guy.

So Dad's friends made their testimonial about him into a book and threw him a surprise "Living Treasure" party. About 100 folks showed up. Including Neil Abercrombie, the governor of Hawaii, who declared January 10, 2013 to be Paul "Doc" Berry Day.  Here's the proclamation:

And here's video of part of the governor's speech:

Dad was given many leis, as is the custom in Hawaii. Here he is with Liz Foster, who was my creative writing teacher in high school, and a good friend to us both.

And here he is in a moment of genuine laughter and delight.

Here's video of one of his friends listing his many roles in life:

And here is part of Dad's typically humble and funny speech.

I wish I could have been there. I was in spirit, of course. And I'll be back there soon to see him and my mother - who although she may not have as wide a circle, rivals my father in the depth of her integrity and her contributions to society.

I'm a lucky daughter.


Angelica R. Jackson said...

That is so great! We often don't get to give that kind of recognition during the person's lifetime (though I don't see why not).

TD's Ramblings said...

Thanks for writing about your Dad, Nina, otherwise I wouldn't have known. He was my best friend when I was in Hawaii, a great teacher and guy, and always interested in his students, in causes, a gadfly in the best sense of the word. TD

MåїÐ»-(¯`v´¯)-» said...

That is wonderful! Congratulations to your dad! :D