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VERA BEAUDIN SAEEDPOUR FORT PLAIN, N.Y. - Dr. Vera Beaudin Saeedpour passed away suddenly on Sunday, May 30 in upstate New York where she had moved recently from Brooklyn, N.Y. She was 80 years old. Vera Marion Fine was born in 1930 in Barre to the late Harry and Gertrude Fine. She raised five children in a house on Shelburne Point, designed by her first husband, architect Marcel Beaudin. In 1968, inspired by the late Burlington plastic surgeon and family friend Bernard Barney, she packed up her four youngest children, age four to eleven, and embarked on a yearlong odyssey to Israel to "discover" her "Jewish roots." Dr. Saeedpour began attending the University of Vermont at age 40, and proved an exceptional student, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and a membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to earn a Master's Degree in Philosophy in 1973, then moved to New York City to complete a doctoral program in Education at Columbia University's Teachers College. In 1976, she met her second husband, Homayoun Saeedpour, a Kurd from Iran. An unsuspecting question from him about a definition in Oxford's English Dictionary in which Kurds were described as "predatory" led her to write a research paper entitled "Killing Them Softly," prompting Oxford and other major dictionaries to revise their definitions of the term. In 1981, following Homayoun's death from leukemia, Dr. Saeedpour began her "Kurdish work" in earnest. She founded The Kurdish Program under the auspices of Cultural Survival, a publication of Harvard's Department of Anthropology. The program was designed to raise awareness of Kurdish culture and operated out of a Midtown office where Dr. Saeedpour worked as the Executive Assistant to Manhattan real estate developer Seymour Durst. By 1986, Dr. Saeedpour had established the Kurdish Library (the first in the Western Hemisphere) on the parlor floor of a corner brownstone in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights. The Kurdish Museum followed in 1988. Prior to the first Gulf War, which represented a milestone in raising American awareness of the Kurdish issue, Dr. Saeedpour led Jalal Talabani, the current president of Iraq, on a lecture tour to major universities and to Washington, D.C. to meet politicians and the press. Dr. Saeedpour's letters to the editor were published numerous times by the New York Times, and most recently an article about the Kurdish Library appeared in the "Habitats" section of the Times entitled "The Home as Cultural Refuge." Her scholarly publications, The International Journal of Kurdish Studies and Kurdish Life are part of the collections of leading university libraries internationally, including Harvard, Yale, and her alma mater, Columbia University. Dr. Saeedpour is survived by her brother, Max Fine; five children, Marc, Paul, Rebecca, Adam and Jeb; and two grandchildren, Jonah and Aaron. Memorial services will be held in New York City in late July and in Burlington in early August. For more information, visit www.

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Published in The Burlington Free Press on Jun. 5, 2010.
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18 entries
May 29, 2020
I have concluded that Vera was a martyr for truth and justice. Martyrs never die. They live in hearts and minds as she lives in my heart and mind. Rest in peace on this tenth anniversary.
Vale Vera! Great thinker and teacher!
Eziz Bawermend
January 25, 2018
I was deeply saddened to learn that Vera has passed. As a co-founder of the investigative magazine CovertAction Quarterly, we were priviliged to publish a powerful article she wrote titled "Conflicted Kurdistan" in 1995. As was her trademark, she never flinched from telling the truth about her tortured land. She was always far ahead of the curve. May her soul rest in peace.
Louis Wolf
January 1, 2015
I greatly admired Vera's work on behalf of the Kurdish people. She was a pioneer on this subject in the United States -- energetic and indefatigable, bringing into being the kurdish Library in her home in Brooklyn, a unique and invaluable research institution.
Jon Swan
July 27, 2010
Vera was my long time friend, and my role model. I have always had respect and great admiration for her; she was truly one of the most remarkable women I have ever met in my life. My deepest condolences to her family, Rebecca I am truly sorry for the loss of your mother. May God bless her soul.
Chiman Zebari
July 27, 2010
Vera was my long time friend, and my role model. I have always had respect and great admiration for her; she was truly one of the most remarkable women I have ever met in my life. My deepest condolences to her family, Rebecca I am truly sorry for the loss of your mother. May God bless her soul.
Chiman Zebari
July 23, 2010
I have always had a great admiration and respect for you cousin Vera. My deepest condolences to family and friends grieving your loss. May you rest in peace.
Elissa Levine
July 20, 2010
Vera is my first cousin, but in my mind she is the sister I never had, as his her brother the brother I never had. We were raised together as children and were as close and stayed as close as any siblings could possibly be. I love her very much, as does my wife, Inez. We will miss her more than words will ever say. Am so glad that we got to visit each other the past year. Our sadness is that we are not able to attend the memorial. Our thoughts will be with Vera, her children Marc, Adam, Paul, Rebecca and Jeb, along with her brother Max.
Max Levine
June 13, 2010
I worked with Vera in the l early '80's at the Durst Organization. She was an inspiration. We had long conversations about our graduate studies, her background, her late husband, Judiasm, and the Kurds, of course. We last emailed back and forth some months ago. I was so sorry to read of her passing. My condolences.
Alice Kellman
June 12, 2010
I am deeply saddened by the news of Vera's passing away. May she rest in peace which eluded her in this troubled world of ours. She was a truly fearless champion of truth & justice, if there ever was one!

I hope & pray the Kurds will some day name an airport and/or a university in her honor.
My condolences to her family and friends.
Eziz Bawermend
June 10, 2010
I am a longtime friend from the SHS class of 1948.I dearly loved your Mom .She was a special Lady. We spent many happy hours together.
Laura Biggs
June 10, 2010
A great loss, my condolences to her family. May God rest your soul in peace.
Newroz Meho
June 9, 2010
Vera was a fireball. At once the Kurds' staunchest defender and harshest critic, there was no other voice like hers. She was eccentric and relentless, but also principled and kind. She was a mentor and a friend to countless Kurdish people and Kurdologists. The world has lost a terribly important figure. I miss her very much.
Diane King
Diane King
June 9, 2010
Vera has done so much for the Kurdish people. We will always be indebted to her.

We truly have lost a real friend.

God rest her soul.
Amanj Yarwaessi
June 6, 2010
June 6, 2010

Vera loved lilacs and we love Vera. Our family will be planting three lilac trees in her name in Greenfield Center. One at our home, where her beloved cat Ruby Tuesday has come to live with me and my husband Jack; the others five minutes away, where Franky, a desperately weak cat we rescued from the Brooklyn streets,now lives with our daughter Margot,next door to our son Zack and his daughter Cora Mae.
Vera's delightfully overgrown Dickensian garden was the neigborhood sanctuary for homeless and discarded cats. It was just one among untold ways in which this "old lady in the kichen" -- as she always referred to herself-- performed daily acts of kindness, some small and intimate and others of lasting global impact and importance.
The resounding record Vera left will continue to be felton many levels. Long ago she found a permanent place in my heart, and for that I am eternally blessed.
Mary Ann Lynch
June 4, 2010
Paul, Wendy and the entire Family,

We share in both your loss, as well as the celebration of a life lived with great purpose. May the essence of Vera bring you buoyancy through the toughest of weather, and may the resulting sunlight be a reminder of the love that continues to surround you in your family, friendships and communities.
Lianne + James Cospito
June 3, 2010
To Rebecca,
I am so sorry to hear of your mother's death. I will keep you in my prayers.
Kim Hemminger (Jessen)
June 3, 2010
Jack Lynch
June 3, 2010
To my greatest teacher and will be with me every second, little mother, and in the face of life's injustices, I hope you'll give me words. Love, love, love...
Rebecca Beaudin
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