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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Community mourns death of SSU alumni Vince Harper

    COURTESY // Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County on Facebook

    Vince Harper was a beloved member of the Seawolf community and is remembered for his years of service to Sonoma County.

    Sonoma County mourns the death of beloved Santa Rosa community member, 55-year-old Vincent Harper, whose death was announced online last week.

    Harper was a Sonoma State University alumnus, awarded with an SSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999, and was most known throughout the community for his work with local underprivileged youth.

    For almost three decades, Harper worked with Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County (CAP), an organization which, according to their website, works with “low-income families and individuals to help them achieve economic and social stability; to build community, and to advocate for social and economic justice.”

    CAP shared the news of Harper’s passing on Tuesday November 30, via Facebook.

    The post read, “We have just learned of the passing of our beloved colleague, community member and friend, Vince Harper. Like the entire community, we are trying to process this tragic loss. Vince was a pillar of strength and love for all of us and his passing leaves a deep void. He spent his entire life in service to others and we are so grateful for his heart, passion, and determination to make the world a better place. Rest in power, dear Vince. We all love you endlessly.”

    Community members flooded the comments section of the post with fond memories of Harper along with well wishes toward his family.

    One user, Lynda Hopkins, wrote, “Reading this news hit me like a punch to the gut. Vince Harper was (and I can’t believe I’m writing ‘was’) an absolutely amazing human being and leader in Sonoma County. His passion for empowering and lifting up others was unparalleled…He leaves a tremendous legacy throughout the County, and especially in Southwest Santa Rosa. I miss him. We lost one of our greats.”

    Another user wrote, “There have never been as many broken hearts in Sonoma County. Vince made all of us better people.”  

    While the exact cause of death is yet to be confirmed, Harper’s social media accounts show that he had been struggling with some ongoing health issues in the months leading up to his death.

    On June 30, 2020, Harper posted an update to his Facebook page saying he has been hospitalized and had one leg amputated above the knee, but the cause of the injury was not stated.

    According to the SSU Alumni Association webpage, Harper graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in Management back in 1989. After graduating, Harper began his career working with at-risk children and teenagers when he began volunteering at the South Park Youth Center in Santa Rosa in 1991.

    The following year, in 1992, Harper began working for CAP where, at the time of his passing, he was working as the Director of Community Engagement for The Community Action Partnership.

    Harper also served as a member of the Santa Rosa’s Community Advisory Board (CAB), for the last 10 years where he oversaw a variety of different programs

    According to Harper’s biography on the City of Santa Rosa’s staff directory page, Harper received numerous awards during his life including, the Sonoma County Jefferson Award, and PDI Hero Award.

    While details still remain largely unknown, CAP is planning on hosting a memorial to celebrate Harper’s life and achievements with the community who loved him on Dec. 16.

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