torch.jpg (3109 bytes)National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

 Kim Darrow
(1946 - 2011)

Photo credit: Joseph D. Sullivan (Newsday)
At Riverhead (NY) Supreme Court (8/29/06)

Kim Darrow was devoted to his clients and his work. He defended people against forced electroshock and forced drugging and fought for the freedom, rights and dignity of people who were labeled, confined, or mistreated in the name of psychiatric "treatment."  Kim was a brilliant and dedicated advocate with the unshakable conviction that his clients deserved the very best from their lawyers.

A regular presenter at NARPA's conferences, Kim inspired and touched innumerable people in so many ways. If you have memories of Kim you would like to share, please email NARPA at:


NY Newsday (3/27/11), Kim Darrow, lawyer for psych patients, dies

Advocate for mentally ill remains ardent activist, UB Today (Fall 1996)

Andre, Linda (2001), How do psychiatrists decide to use forced electroshock?  (

Bouchier, David (5/16/99), Take a Hike? That's Easy for You to Say, NY Times

Darrow, Kim L., and Feld, Dennis B. (2004), IOC in New York State: What Price RefusalNARPA Tenet 

Dowdy, Zachary R., Smith, Andres, et al. (2001), Newsday coverage of Paul Henri Thomas' Battle Against Forced Electroshock, (compilation of articles)

Lawrence, Juli, Sister Fights Brother's Involuntary Electroshock By State Hospital,,

Long Island Pine Barrens Society... and Kim Darrow v. Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission, Town of Brookhaven, NY Supreme Court, Suffolk County(Loughlin, J., 2/23/03)

MindFreedom International News (8/28/07), Another victory against forced electroshock: Simone D. wins!

MindFreedom International News (2/5/04), No More Forced Electroshock for 60-Year-Old New York Woman

Montero, Douglas (3/30/01), Mom in Tears as Docs "Treat" her Captive Son, N.Y. Post

Ziegler, Laura (1996), The Ballad of Kim Darrow (Crayolaphobia)


    The Peace of Wild Things

   When despair for the world grows in me
   and I wake in the night at the least sound
   in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
   I go and lie down where the wood drake
   rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
   I come into the peace of wild things 
   who do not tax their lives with forethought
   of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
   And I feel above me the day-blind stars
   waiting with their light. For a time
   I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

























































































In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to
NARPA (donations will be used for NARPA's scholarship fund)
and to the
Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference.

4-09-2011 1:15 AM -- By: Marilyn Verde,  From: MHLS  

I am so sorry to hear the news of Kim's passing.  He was a sweet and gentle man.  I am also fighting the battle of pancreatic cancer and hope to be as brave as he was.  God bless.

4-06-2011 -- By: Ed Novitsky,  From: Long Island  

April 4, 2011

In the Loss 
of Someone You Loved

May it comfort you

to know how much

your loved one meant.

To - The Family of Kim Darrow,

It was with deep regret that I read of Kim's passing in the newspaper. My deepest sympathy goes out to all of his family members.

Kim was not only my lawyer but he became a sincere friend as well. He won my legal case restoring my freedom, my house and my civil rights back to me. They had unfairly been taken away from me plus I was in no position to defend myself at the time. I will be eternally grateful to Kim for all that he did for me. I feel that I owe him a debt which I know I could never repay! 

Kim was an excellent and thorough lawyer in all respects. He really cared about helping people in need and doing the right thing and was what a lawyer should be and a great credit to his profession. He was a wonderful compassionate human being and will be missed by all who knew him. If the world was full of people such as Kim Darrow it would certainly be a wonderful place for all of us to live in!

May you Rest In Eternal Peace, Kim!

Ed Novitsky

4-04-2011 10:22 PM -- By: Timothy Koconas

Kim was a great guy and helped so many who others left behind ---- going to miss him very much ----

4-01-2011 5:07 PM -- By: Eric Burke and Karen Johnson,  From: Ridge, N.Y.  

Our dogs Heidi and Elsa introduced us to Kim, our neighbor, over twenty years ago by running down the street into his yard. Dogs just know.

If it hadnít been for that encounter we may have never come to know this most open-hearted, comfortable person with an easy laugh and a love of people, nature and all of life. He was a sensitive soul who possessed great awareness and humility.

Friendship came quickly with Kim and our doors were always open to each other, like family, as we shared our daily lives for years and years to come. He will be missed more than we can ever say. We loved him dearly.

4-01-2011 2:55 AM -- By: Leeling Ho

In a spring day of 1990 I met Kim and his former long time girl friend at Blydenberg Greenbelt office. They just bought a house in Ridge. As the Chinese saying, "Relatives live far away are not as good as neighbors who live close by". We have been friends and neighbors since.

Kim is a very kind, patient, sincere, caring, honest and loyal friend. He loved nature. He enjoyed life and always kept the gathering joyful and relaxed. I enjoyed hiking with him and often he was the lead. His desire to share his knowledge of plants, birds and fungus were so genuine and sincere. If there were some plants or birds he didn't know, he carried field guides to help identified them. I always wondered how many books he brought in the napsak. He walked in moderate speed, so everyone would be able to appreciate the time and enjoy nature in PineBarrens.

In the 90's, Kim, Ray, Mindy, George and a few other Greenbelt members would hike every Wednesday after work. We painted the trail markers and picked up the garbage in the Rocky Point, Ridge, and Riverhead areas. For many summers, Kim lead the wild blueberries festival hike. One year, I was late and came with a box of store-bought blueberries and beer to their home in Ridge. I helped with the food preparation but then the crew came back with bags of wild blueberries.  There was always plenty of homemade gourmet food and a variety of beer, wine and soda in a big bucket with ice. It started around 9am and lasted into the evening when the last person left their home. We made the blueberry ice cream in the old fashion way. Of course, blueberry shortcake, blueberry jam, and blueberry muffins. It was a wonderful day and I still remember the happy time and Kim's words and laughs. After one visit at North Shore hospital in this March, I promised to have a blueberry day in my house this summer if Kim would make it.

Kim and I went to the annual wine tastings at the University of Stony Brook. The highlight of the event was a wine auction. Kim frequently bought vintage bottles and shared the tasting with friends. Kim makes an ordinary gathering became very special. He wanted friends to enjoy life and have a good time even when he was very ill. Even in his most uncomfortable days, his sense of humor still made people around him laugh. One time I went to see him and Denis was there. He said, "let's go to the diner to grab a bite".

I always loved Kim as my adopted American brother and family. He has been there whenever I needed a friend to talk. I moved to Nassau county in 1997 and was not able to participate in the greenbelt hikes, but we met for dinner after work in the City occasionally. Later on, he worked in Mineola office and I work at Great Neck area, we did lunch from time to time.

In 2008, I met Sherry for the first time and attended their wedding in 2009. I was happy for him and Sherry because they seemed happy together.

On March 24, I stopped by after work and let him know I would be going home to see my family.  He said "Good bye, Leeling". I said, "See you Kim, take care". That was the last time that I spoke to him. It was difficult to imagine this world without Kim. But I also know he will be always around and encourage me to live every day to its fullest.

3-31-2011 10:27 PM -- By: Michael Sabourin,  From: Vermont  

 I have always been one to live in denial when people pass away and certainly this will be the case again; as there is no admitting such a feat as Kim's passing; I will always think of him as alive in some manner if not at least in my head.

I have not had the opportunity to spend alot of time with Kim. Though when the opportunities where there he was a welcoming and kind person.

I did get to witness  some of his and Sherry's early relationship and admired that he was able to capture the heart of someone he loved.

My deepest sympathy to Sherry and Kim's family,

Michael Sabourin

3-31-2011 5:31 PM -- By: Bobby Torkova,  From: New Jersey  

 I am so saddened to hear of Kim's passing.  Besides being a very kind and caring person, he helped me out at a difficult time in my life. Rest in Peace.

3-31-2011 3:27 PM -- By: Shirley Routten-Gellis,  From: Hampton, Virginia  

Dear Sherry,

So many have written to you here about how gentle Kim was, how fair, tolerant and honest -- "a peaceable man" as you so aptly describe him. I, too, saw these wonderful traits in Kim, but my fondest memory of Kim is seeing him experiencing joy.  It was during the trip to North Carolina where you and Kim would be married in just a few days.  It was late at night and we had miles to go.  Kim was driving.  There was a full moon. We were listening to steel drums, the music creating mystery, beauty and magic out of that warm spring night. I remember the two of you so full of expectation and promise and the joy we all felt as we sped through that romantic and glorious Carolina night.

I know you have a great store of beautiful memories. I hope this is among them and that all your sweet memories of Kim will keep him close to you.

Love, Shirley

3-31-2011 12:50 PM -- By: Stephen Buckser,  From: San Ramon, CA  

I first met Kim in a Consciousness Raising group that started at his home in 1973. The group met for many years and through it I had the good fortune of having Kim as a friend. He was one person that didnít really need his consciousness to be raised. He was always sensitive to and cared about people and issues. He loved and cared about the environment. We held most of our meetings on Friday evenings, the next day he would be making trails so walkers could enjoy the Long Island landscape. I only wish he had more time to do the things he enjoyed and cared about.

3-30-2011 -- By: Michael Perlin,  From: New York Law School  

We have all lost a friend, and ally, and a wonderful human being. The world is a sadder place without Kim's presence.

My friend, we will meet again someday/on the avenue...

3-30-2011 -- By: Thomas Rhodes Hawkins and Sylvia Carter Hawkins,  From: Raleigh, NC  

Among Kim's many virtues, he had a kind, natural way with children. A friend has a wonderful, happy memory of her son being worried about bears while on a walk in the woods, and Kim taught Johnny the words to Teddy Bear's Picnic -- Kim knew all the words -- and they sang it stalwartly and loudly, to let the bears know they were coming. Kim explained that with fair warning, the bears would stay away.

We shall not see his like again.

3-30-2011 -- By: Rebecca Madson,  From: NY/St. Louis  

Uncle Kim was my godfather. He was a presence at every big event in my life as far back as I can remember - birthday parties, my confirmation, and not long ago, my graduation from college. One thing I remember fondly is all the cards and postcards he sent me over the years. Always handwritten in his beautiful penmanship, little notes from different travels and places he had been and seen that he wanted to share. I'll always remember one of the moments that I first felt like an adult - I went to hug Uncle Kim and realized I was taller than him. When I took up Italian my senior year of college, he promised me a trip to Italy once I completed the course. Well, I ended up dropping the class after a week, and I always regretted not getting to travel with him. He always talked with such passion about traveling and wine and getting to see new and beautiful places. I thought of him often when I finally made it across the pond this past fall to Paris, and sent him a postcard from my travels. I will miss him greatly.

3-30-2011 -- By: Gail Darrow Ross,  From: Charlotte, NC  

I've known Kim all my life and most of his.  I couldn't have had a better brother.  We were as different as night and day, but I don't think we could have been closer.  We have been together through births, marriages, and deaths.  Ed, Emily, and Rachael loved him as much as I.  When I last saw him earlier this month, it was hard for him to speak.  As I sat at the foot of his bed, I felt him looking at me, so I smiled and waved.  He smiled and waved back, and we both knew what the other meant.  Kim, I love you.  "Till we meet again."

3-29-2011 -- By: Lesley De Lia ,  From: MHLS  

The last time I saw Kim says it all about Kim the lawyer and Kim the man. Of my 30 years of many memories, it will be my fondest memory of my friendship with Kim.

On January 29,  2011, just a week or so before Kim entered hospice, he dragged himself to a small gathering at my house of friends from the office who really wanted to see him. He brought with him several of his most cherished  bottles of wine. At the end of the evening, he and Sherry were the last to leave. All of the bottles had been opened and drained except for one. Kim spotted the last bottle as he was putting on his coat, looked back at me and sheepishly asked if he could take it home... adding with a smirk..."I'd like to see how this one will taste in 10 years".    

That moment showcased the optimistic attitude that pervaded everything Kim did. It is everything I learned from him in a snapshot and why I am so grateful to have had the privilege of his friendship for 30 years.  

3-29-2011 -- By: Sidney Hirschfeld,  From: MHLS 2nd  

Aside from his always needing to borrow a tie or sport jacket from me for a last minute court appearance, what I remember most about Kim was his courage and his dedication to principle. These characteristics not only earned him the admiration and respect of his clients and associates alike but hundreds of loving and devoted friends, of which I am proud to be one.

3-29-2011 -- By: Ben Intonato  

I remember being very young and Kim taking me for a hike in his backyard.  

He seemed to be smiling at things the rest of us couldn't see.  It was extremely special, and connected to nature. 

3-29-2011 -- By: Lynn Tinnie,  From: MHLS  

Kim your kindness and generous heart will be missed by me and my husband.  Be one with nature.

3-29-2011 By: Sheldon Rosen

Kim - the perennial optimist.  His kindness, intelligence, wisdom, passion sincerity and boundless enthusiasm has enriched my life and the life of so many others. He is, and will be, sorely missed.

3-29-2011 -- By: Emmie Gunn,  From: Charlotte, NC  

Kim, you were a very special man. I knew you from Gail and meet you several times over the years. When I came with my friend Emily to New York you were my savior. My wallet got stolen and when we meet up with you for a day of sight seeing and eating you gave me money to return home on. When I got home the first thing I said about my trip was that you had saved me and helped me settle everything with the police report. Thank you so much. You will be greatly missed.

3-28-2011 -- By: Laura Ziegler,  From: Vermont; before that, NY

Long before meeting Kim I'd heard he was one of the handful of live wire MHLS attorneys who acknowledged the utter injustice of psychiatric justice. I think I first met him in person at a public forum on psychiatry and human/civil rights organized through Peacesmith in 1989.  At some undefinable point, we became friends.

My favorite memory of Kim is from a protest hike sometime around 1990. Our group walked the trail behind Kings Park Psychiatric Center overlooking the Long Island Sound, and at a high point Kim lifted his hand and declared the place a state park. Years later, it became Nissequogue River State Park. 

I remember his unfailing kindness and decency to his clients, his sensitivity to how relentlessly they were trampled on by the courts and by their keepers. Kim treated them with respect, relating to them as equals, and stayed in touch with some of them many years after they were no longer clients. I remember his tireless efforts on their behalf and how he would toil over legal filings at the office in the middle of the night. I remember his anger at the big injustices and disgust with the petty tyrannies.

I remember him on the ward at the Pilgrim State, at the cramped dingy MHLS office on the grounds and later, the big main office in Mineola. Kim standing in courtrooms: that small travesty of a court on Pilgrim's grounds, the pink-walled Special Part at the Brooklyn Supreme Court, the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals. His big courtroom voice loudly projecting in those hollow places. Always he showed the same courage and perseverance in the face of official injustice and cruelty and stupidity.

I remember him cross examining Paul Henri Thomas' psychiatrist, saying: "So you've damaged his brain, you've damaged his liver..." A red faced Judge Hall screamed at Kim from the bench, "You should be ashamed!" 

I remember him calling the night before the U.S. began bombing Iraq in 2003 to tell me he'd found something in international law that might help stop it, and asking me who to contact.

I remember Kim speaking about going into private practice after he retired, and working on the same issues in New Jersey and Connecticut as well as New York. I remember him saying, deadpan, "I could be the scourge of three states."

I remember Kim in love, like a parched person who'd found a clear spring and would never be thirsty again. I remember him on his wedding day, standing with Sherry before the minister on a sunny deck in Chapel Hill, the two of them gazing into each other's faces and a giant bee hovering nearby. I remember the two of them walking in winter coats, tucked into each other, leaning together in an unthinkingly perfect fit.

I remember Kim's dogged, stoic eating when his illness or the chemo for his illness made eating so crucial and so hard to endure. I remember walking with him around a Baltimore block on a cold November day, Kim pushing past his own pain and weakness to investigate historic architecture tucked among the modern. I remember him struggling to his feet, and with the aid of a walker and the physical therapist, walking as far as the door of his last hospital room.

Kim fought to protect us from violent intrusions on our liberties, our bodies and our minds. The world is a more dangerous place without him. I feel this in a very personal way, since for the past nineteen years Kim was my alternate health care agent -- someone who could literally protect me from psychiatric drugs and electroshock if I couldn't protect myself.

When I still worked for a law clinic and was spending a lot of time at Pilgrim State, I asked Kim how he dealt psychologically with the oppression and trauma saturating that terrible place. He replied that he tended to be intensely focused on whatever he was doing -- so that when he wasn't on the job, his life outside Pilgrim displaced what he encountered there. He wrote to me once about his work with MHLS, that "hope springs eternal."

When I said goodbye to Kim I told him I'd think of him when I was in the woods. I will. But I'll also think of him when it's necessary to speak loudly and clearly in places of corrupt power, or when kindness and infinite patience are needed, and not there. May he spring eternal.

3-28-2011 -- By: Mary Madson

Years ago Kim received some tiny trees from the Arbor Foundation.  He brought  a birch to us and my husband Jim planted it.  He named it Horace.  "Horace"  is now taller than my house and doing well.  I will think of Jim and Kim whenever I look at Horace.

3-28-2011 -- By: Lucio Cristofano,  From: MHLS 2nd  

I have worked with Kim for over 16 years; He was soft spoken and very friendly to deal with. Even on those rare occasions when he was upset he kept his calm. He was a great advocate for his clients, and they were lucky to have someone like Kim represent them. If there are courts in the after life I'm sure Kim will be in there continuing his work.......

3-28-2011 -- By: michael neville,  From: MHLS - Brooklyn  

Kim was a friend, a colleague and a tremendous inspiration to me in the battle to defend and expand the rights of people alleged to be in need of psychiatric treatment and confinement.  His tireless dedication to this cause was inspirational.  On behalf of the many, many clients he served and the lives he touched here in Brooklyn, I extend an abiding gratitude. It was a true honor and privilege to have known him.

3-28-2011 -- By: Gerry Kaplan,  From: MHLS  

After reading all the wonderful comments about Kim, what more can one say. He was a perfect representative of the Mental Hygiene Legal Service. He gave his all when representing a client. A dedicated, bright advocate, admired by his peers.  He will be missed.

3-28-2011 -- By: Jack Finkenberg,  From: Open Space Council  

You always had a good story Kim and you loved the music. I always enjoyed your company.

3-28-2011 -- By: Rosie,  From: MHLS  

Kim was my hero in his battle against this horrible disease!  Sherry, you are a very brave woman standing by his side in his fight against pancreatic cancer. I will always remember dancing with him at our MHLS holiday parties and sitting across from his office and admiring his dedication to our clients. I remember him coming to work covered with ticks from one of his hiking trips and thinking, boy he really loves this place!  Well, he did and I'm sure he will be sorely missed! I know I will miss him even though I didn't work with him any more and will always remember him!

3-28-2011 -- By: Rachael Ross,  From: Charlotte, NC  

When I was a kid, I wanted  a very specific doll for Christmas that was sold out everywhere in Charlotte. Kim found one in New York and got it for me. He was a person who cared about important issues like patients' rights and environmental preservation, but he also cared about small things, like his then eight year old niece opening an Oopsie Daisy doll on Christmas morning.

He was the best uncle to me. He was fun and funny and caring.  He was always happy to dance with me at weddings and he always found ways to entertain my family, like when he performed his own version of card tricks.

Once, when I was a senior in high school, Kim surprised my mom by visiting us for her 50th birthday. That weekend I was cheering at my school's football game. I remember having to tell the girls on the squad it was time for another pyramid because my uncle, standing on the sidelines with his camera, wanted another action shot. That's how he was. He loved his family and supported us, even if that meant taking cheerleading pictures. 

I love him and I will miss him. We all have memories of Kim, and those memories along with the integrity in which he lived his life and the genuine compassion he had for others, will continue to be an inspiration.

3-28-2011 -- By: Kyna Darrow-Barr,  From: Howell, NJ  


Thank you for always being a source of stability and comfort in my life. Thank you for always helping me to choose the right path. You taught me commitment to family, joy in discovery of something alive in nature, the magic of the sky and the peacefulness of knowing you have always done the best you can. You believed in my abilities so strongly that I believed I could achieve any goal. Thanks for your gentle words and kind hugs.

I feel joy in knowing you are free from your disease and are able to enjoy the unending beauty and peace in your next journey. I feel your presence everyday.

I weep for my loss yet I am able to enjoy your comfort and joy as you continue to be a source of stability in my life.

I love you with all of my heart forever.

Love always and completely,


3-28-2011 -- By: Hope Jackson,  From: MHLS (co-worker)  

My memories of Kimba (my nickname for the hiker/advocate for Pine Barrens acquisitions and caretaking) are filled with smiles and sunshine.  Kim is an inspiration to us in the way he lived his life...  he worked hard and long to help those less fortunate than himself. 

Kim's courage through this illness was amazing. We who loved him and worked with him felt involved in his struggle as he wrote paragraphs of updates  to let us know what was going on.  It helped us to be able to feel his thoughts during this challenge that turned ordeal and demise.  We were grateful that he let us "in"  to hear the story, to allow us to  share in his struggle in some small way.

Kim and I shared a love of the music and artists spawned in the 60's and we laughed at a song sung by Pete Seeger, called In Dead Ernest.  The words to this song depict how Kim felt about death, when we talked about it, years ago. 

Knowing Kim made an impact on my life because his actions and demeanor taught me about integrity and ethics and above all, kindness.   Kim is a spirit who lives within my heart and helped me - in his subtle way, to become a better person. He also joked and dismissed my fears about being a less than perfect mother. Kim is all about joy and living life in the most positive way that you can.

I drove out  east yesterday, because I just had to honor Kim in some way, walking on the Pine Barren path seemed to be a simple yet heartfelt way of doing so.


I don't think I ever had the pleasure of meeting you.  I am grateful that Kim felt "complete" with you by his side. If I can ever be of any assistance to you in any way at all, please don't hesitate to call on me. Love and Peace be with you,

Hope Jackson from Central Islip office, MHLS.

3-28-2011 -- By: Debbie Beyhl,  From: MHLS  

Always had a smile on his face.... One of the bravest people I ever met.  Always fighting for a great cause. He will be missed but never forgotten.

3-28-2011 -- By: Nora Renzulli,  From: MHLS Staten Island, NY  

Kind, thoughtful, warm, open hearted, multi-dimensional, empathetic, intelligent, and understated--Kim was a great lawyer in the true meaning of the word.  He applied his formidable talent and time to the pursuit of fairness and justice for his clients regardless of the state of pariahhood they inhabited. In the illustrated dictionary of my mind, Kim's image is indelibly linked to "good man." My life was enriched by knowing him and working with him and I mourn his loss. 

3-28-2011 -- By: Sara Farrell,  From: Ridgewood, New York  

Sherry, I am extremely sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of working with Kim, but only for a short time. Kim was always so friendly and so sweet. When I heard of his illness, I kept him in my thoughts and wished for the best after each of his updates. It seems to me that he lived his life the way many people only wish they could, by making a difference. He is sorely missed and I will keep him in my thoughts always.

3-28-2011 -- By: Karen Blumer Madigan,  From: Shoreham, LI, NY  

Kim is one of my dear-heart friends, always ready to help, with spirit and verve, lending his knowledge to our many never-ending legal challenges for Open Space Council, of which he was a distinguished board member for decades, enjoying fine (and other) wine, and other fun-filled endeavors. Annually he and I would pledge ourselves to meeting at the Breslin recovering 100 acres of pine barrens in Yaphank to track how incredibly well it was self-restoring, and annually we would laugh as we got there separately but not together. I will remember him fondly as I continue the track. Kim's spirit endures.

Note: not enough room in place of origin above:  Shoreham, where pine barrens meets the Appalachian oak-hickory forest, dominated by chestnut oak -- not found everywhere on LI. That for you, Kim.

3-28-2011 -- By: Emily R. Powell,  From: Raleigh, NC  

Kim was my uncle. He was one of the kindest people I have ever had the honor of knowing and was so blessed to be his niece. Whenever we would all go visit my grandfather (Kim and my mom's father), I would often go on walks/hikes with Kim. He would always have orange flavored vitamin C tabs for us in the morning. LOL One time when he visited my home was for my daughter's first birthday. He identified a tree along our driveway for us which was very helpful because the berries are poisonous. My son puts everything in his mouth so this will be very helpful. Jack, my son, and I inherited the Darrow skin tone much like Kim.  We are the pale ones in the family. Kim will be missed so much.  He was always so good to my sister and me as well as my children after they were born. I wish my kids would have gotten to know him better, but we have pictures and memories.  Miss you, Kim. -Em

3-28-2011 -- By: Cathy A Levin,  From: National Empowerment Center, MA  

I am sorry for your loss. I did not know Kim Darrow but it is terrific allies like him who do good work in the mental health field. I appreciate his efforts. It makes a difference in my life, the lives of my friends and the work I do in mental health advocacy myself.

3-27-2011 -- By: Laura Van Tosh,  From: a free place  

Sherry, I am sending condolences about a man I never met , but who indeed made an indelible mark on this world. Since learning of his death, I have read about him and his great work for disability rights. We should all plant a tree like you plan to peace and in the spirit of freedom.

3-27-2011 -- By: Tina Minkowitz,  From: Chestertown, NY - & psych survivor movement  

I can't remember when I first met Kim but was aware of him as the most gentle of the MHLS attorneys in the special litigation and appeals unit who were the ones fighting with full dedication to free our people from commitment and forced drugging and forced electroshock.  Kim often struggled to get his words out and to be heard, and he was very careful as an attorney to be accurate in what he was saying.  He cared a lot about his clients' freedom - he knew they deserved it and hated when the system took them back in spite of his efforts.  He once told me why he hated "therapeutic jurisprudence" - "because everybody is trying to do therapy on my clients, I'm the only one who doesn't do that to them."  

Kim supported my work on legal capacity in the Disability Convention.  He was very clear that even to say that legal capacity depended on whether a person's wishes could be understood, would be a loophole that would be used to invalidate the choices of people with psychiatric labels. Later I also heard from him about cases where guardianship was sought for abusive reasons.  

Kim's love for Sherry opened up a new dimension in his life, from what I could see.  I never was close to Kim as a personal friend but I have been friends with Sherry for many years and could see how they came together with such ease and joy and comfort. Fighting the cancer became their joint expression of love for each other, to get to a place where they wouldn't have to fight any more and could enjoy life in their new home and wherever they might travel.

I would like to believe that Kim is now free in spirit, his gentle presence being felt everywhere he touched the earth, people he loved and most especially Sherry, and in the movement of psychiatric survivors and allies.

3-27-2011  -- By: Steven Periard 

I only knew of Kim Darrow. He had a great reputation as a crusader for the civil rights of people like me who are diagnosed with a mental illness. my first reaction was sadness at the thought of losing such a valuable ally, but I believe his influence will continue to be felt for years to come and I take comfort in that.

3-27-2011 -- By: Sherry Darrow

When I used to say "You don't know how much I love you", he used to respond with some indignation, "Yes I do!", meaning simply my love must be as deep and true as his for me. I only meant, sweetheart, that to my unending surprise, it was far far beyond anything I could have imagined. To which he would reply, in his peaceful accepting way, just goes to show the unsurprising limits of human imagination. I want more time, can't help it, I need more time. Just one blessed hour, to rest on one another's shoulder, and sigh, and feel the pure peace of perfect companionship. After so many dark days, to feel the sun on our faces, together, to feel the air move over us, together, to gradually become aware of the rustling leaves, then the birdsongs, then the limitless sky, and back to the sweet sweet weight of your body against mine.

He was traumatized by a difficult transition when he was a boy, from a small school in his hometown, Collins Center in western NY, where everybody knew him, to a larger one where a put-down applied to him was, incredibly to me, "Decent Darrow". It was meant meanly and he felt that - he was smaller than other boys, and bookish, and visibly distressed by unkindness.  Though a peaceable man, personally shaken by conflict, all his life he felt called upon to fight for the right of vulnerable others to be let alone, to live their lives as they themselves choose. 

Above all else he loved the woods, the little things, rooted and footed, that lived there, and the quiet endurance of trees. My greatest hope is that he will become the one we plant with him, a white pine native to this island he made his home. I hope he will grow tall enough to see far far away, to welcome and shelter the little birds, to know the changing seasons that so excited him, to continually shed all trouble and sadness till pure being is all that remains, tree consciousness, whatever that is. I'm sure it will feel very familiar to Kim, the gentlest, sweetest-natured person I ever knew, who grew in this troubled world a purer, wider, more sheltering love than can be imagined.

"Keep a green tree in your heart, and perhaps a singing bird will come"

3-27-2011 -- By: Myra Kovary,  From: Ithaca, NY  

Dear Sherry,

I can only begin to imagine what you are going through and hope that a few words from a fellow survivor can bring you some comfort.  I didn't know Kim personally but have heard wonderful things about him from dear friends of his who I am lucky enough to count as dear friends of mine.  I'm sending my heartfelt condolences and wishing you strength and peace for your journey in the the days ahead.   In solidarity, Myra 

3-26-2011 -- By: Lester Cook,  From: New York  

Dear Kim,

I had the honour and pleasure of meeting you one time at the Esmin Green Vigil and I remember you were a good warm hearted soul who cared deeply about people. You will surely be missed  by the psychiatric survivors community.

3-26-201 -- By: Mary Dezso,  From: Westport, Connecticut  

Peace be with you at this difficult time.  Saying goodbye is an endless ordeal with no real end. Diana called me from the Hospital (we have been dear friends since 1979) and expressed her helplessness at helping. I know the feeling. May you have only the joyful buoyant memories of a lifetime together and that you will be together once again but this time with no pain, no tears, and no separation. God bless you now and always!   Sincerely, Mary Dezso

3-26-2011 -- By: Juli Lawrence,  From:  

Sherry and friends,

My deepest sorrow for your loss, and the loss of one remarkable man.

His work against forced treatment was so important, and will live on.

What a gift he was to us all.

Juli Lawrence

3-26-2011 -- By: Daniel Hazen,  From: New York State  

Sherry I send my condolences. I am thinking of you, many warm meditations to you. I remember hearing Kim present at my first NARPA conference and thinking how fortunate we are to have such a person fighting with/for us. I will cherish the moments of standing with him at the UN celebrating the CRPD and standing vigil at the Esmin Green Vigils.  He shared so much and I am grateful to know such a person. Much love to you.  Daniel

3-26-2011  -- By: Susan Stefan

I am grieved and still unbelieving. Kim was so tenacious and persistent and unflagging, decade after decade, fighting against outpatient commitment and ECT and fighting for rights and dignity of people who were locked up, I  thought he would still be filing cases long after the weaker ones among us had flagged and faltered. He fought this so hard, and we were the more fortunate for having the extra time to appreciate him. A good man who gave of himself continually for others, someone who really personally knew the people he fought for and was loved by all of us who benefited from his work and his life.

3-26-2011 -- By: George Badillo,  From: Sound Beach, New York  

My condolences. He's a wonderful man, a great advocate and public defender and  one of kindest human being I've ever met. He will be missed.

3-26-2011 3:43 PM -- By: celia brown,  From: Bronx, New York  

Dear Sherry,

My condolences to you. I'm thinking of you. I was honored to know Kim, he was a wonderful person and supported the rights of users/surviviors of psychiatry. 



3-26-2011 2:12 PM -- By: Darby Penney,  From: Albany, NY  

I'm so sorry to learn that Kim has passed. He was a remarkable and dedicated advocate who worked tirelessly for the rights of people with psychiatric labels. He will be sorely missed.

3-26-2011 -- By: George Ebert,  From: Sterling  

Sherry,  I am sorry for your loss. Kim gave us all so much by his work. The world is becoming a better place because of his effort.    George

3-26-2011 -- By: Grace Nichols,  From: Albany, NY  

I only knew Kim through his reputation and the respect and gratitude our community has for him. Thank you for your bravery and love, and for the way you modeled how we should be there for each other. I am so sorry for your loss.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to NARPA
(donations will be used for NARPA's scholarship fund)
and to the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference.


  Above are from the Guestbook at the memorial website at You may add your comments there and/or email NARPA at narpa[@]  or  narpa[@]