Remembrances

Judicature, November/December 2010 | Go to article overview

Remembrances


Dick Perrault and Al Sobel - A passion for the work of AJS

Two great men died within days of 'each oilier in November. In common they shared a passion for the work of the American Judicature Societv. I was honored to serve with them for two years as President - at a time when AJS was battling for survival in ihe world of a nonprofit organi/ation in hard financial times for itself and its supporters. These two men are the short answer to the question: how did AJS survive?

These two men are also the answer to a hosi of other good questions. Questions like whether a nonprofit organization can maintain its sense of purpose and its sense of humor in hard times. With Dick and Al, we were able to do both. Questions like whether a nonprofit can expand its horixons and vision when others might counsel contraction. Our work in the field of criminal justice answers that question.

My memory is crowded with images: Dick betting Dwight Opperman that Dick conici quit smoking - and collecting; Ai betting that AJS could move from Chicago to Drake University and commue to enjoy a national reputation at Dwight Opperman's alma mater - and succeeding.

All of these men's accomplishments seem today so unquestionable and so right. Il is hard to recall or to know what a struggle these two great men endured. They have made AJS what it is today. Those of us who served with them will never see AJS as anything other than "theirs."

These men were blessed in another way. They both are survived by phenomenal wives. Ida Perrault and F.layue Sobel were and are as much a part of AJS as their husbands were. On reflection, I now think that it may be more due to their grace and patience that AJS is what it is today. Even on our most tumultuous days, these women preserved the civility that has come to characterize AJS. We are blessed to have F.layue and Ida still today so closely connected so the mission of justice in America. We will miss Al and Dick, and we will cherish our days ahead with Elayne. Ida, and the family they all worked so hard to mold.

Larry Hammond, President of AJS, 2003-2005

Remembering Richard Perrault

Dick was a great man in the history of AJS. He did more to promote the Society than any other person since the Founder. He guided many Executive Directors through rough times and took over that position when we were especially stressed one year. He corrected die problems and set up new procedures which serve us well today. I remember him fondly and gratefully.

Dwight D. Opperman, Distinguished Lifetime Director of AJS

OnK those who worked closely with Dick over the years (Ji rough rhe many challenges knew how much he contributed to AJS. There are many others whose names are more famous but none who contributed more in good limes and bad than Dick.

Hon. Robert Utter (Ret.). Chair of the AJS board, 1991-1993

I first met Dick Perrault when I joined AJS many years ago. He encouraged me to become active in the Society and he was a mentor to me, as he was to so many other AjS volunteers. Dick was always there when AJS needed him; in 2006. he agreed to return as acting executive vicepresident, and he worked diligently with the search committee to find the perfect replacement. Dick Perrault's professionalism, dedication, and extraordinary service to A[S would fill volumes, but perhaps more important, his personal characteristics, his integrity, and his personal warmth marie him a ven' special person whose legacy will be remembered for generations to come.

Neal R. Sonnett, President of AJS, 2006-2007

Dick Perrault was a tireless force behind the scenes at AJS, He had a broad institutional memory and an energetic interest in our long-term welfare. The volunteer leadership of AJS comes and goes but Dick was always there to provide insight into our history and to help us to not repeat mistakes. He was discreet but. I suspect, all knowing. His good humor was disarming. …

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