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Norman L. Kreisman

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Kreisman, Norman L.
July 12, 1925 - Dec. 26, 2012
Norman Leonard Kreisman passed away on December 26th, 2012 at his home in Sarasota after a nine month battle with cancer. He was 87. A champion of mental health services in Sarasota, Norman mobilized influential others in the state to take action in alleviating the suffering of individuals and families, across all races and socio-economic classes, who were facing the effects of serious mental illnesses without adequate community resources to turn to. A 2-acre health care campus and inpatient crisis hospital at the not-for-profit community-based Coastal Behavioral Healthcare in Sarasota are named after him, not because of a large monetary contribution, but because of his extraordinary advocacy that led to the establishment of Sarasota's first and only publicly supported psychiatric emergency crisis center in the early 1990s. His efforts to promote mental health services in Sarasota continued on relentlessly for more than 20 years. Norman served three consecutive terms on the Board of Coastal Behavioral Healthcare and was honored with the title of Director Emeritus. When his daughter, Diane, accepted Sarasota's Sunshine from Darkness' first Diamond Award in April of 2010 in recognition of her courage, perseverance and humor in facing the challenges of mental illness, she told the audience that her father's "love affair with Coastal", which began because of her, continued on because he was the kind of human being who genuinely wanted to help others in any way he could. He was happiest when he was helping others. On July 28, 2011, the Mayor of Sarasota declared it Norman and Dorothy Kreisman Day and honored them with a proclamation for their advocacy efforts on behalf of those with mental health disorders. That day, their deeds were recorded into the Congressional Record in Washington, D.C. and Sarasota's Kreisman Center campus was renamed the Kreisman Campus for Integrated Health Care. Those who remember him know without a doubt that his legacy will carry on at Coastal Behavioral Healthcare because of the way he touched and inspired staff, volunteers, and patients alike to believe in his dream, that everyone facing a mental illness would be cared for with compassion, regardless of their ability to afford professional care and treatment. A veteran of World War II, he is survived by his wife Dorothy and his children Stuart and Diane. In honoring his wishes, the family will celebrate his life at a private ceremony at their home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, 1565 State Street, Sarasota FL 34236.

Published in Herald Tribune from Dec. 31, 2012 to Jan. 1, 2013
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