By Delle Willett
Barry Price’s career of service to others began when he joined the Peace Corps after graduating from SDSU with a master’s degree, and from Indiana University with a doctorate in political science.
Price’s 35-year service career includes teaching at three Texas universities. He earned two Fulbright Fellowships to teach and consult on public administration in Argentina and Uruguay, and to teach and research in Nicaragua.
From 1970 to 1972, he was director of the Program Planning Department at San Diego County’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Now retired, Price has recently been elected president of the Hemlock Society of San Diego, succeeding Faye Girsh, founder of the society and its president since 2007.
As president, Price hopes to expand people’s thinking about how to leave this world in a more gentle, painless and dignified way than is presently the case for most Americans. He also hopes to be an advocate for pushing publicly funded hospitals and other care facilities to be more transparent with terminally ill patients about what their options are for leaving this world.
Price’s interest in the “right-to-die” movement is rooted primarily in his first-hand interaction with loved ones in the last stages of their lives.
“Seeing older friends and family members suffer long debilitating illnesses that caused so much pain and suffering as well as a complete loss of dignity, and contrasting those experiences with the gentle, painless death experienced by my dogs at the local vet provoked my interest and commitment to the right-to-die movement,” said Price.
“Just as importantly, I hope to push publicly funded caregivers to be supportive of patients who may choose to end their life in a gentle and dignified manner rather than suffering the pain and indignity that too often accompany debilitating, degenerative disease,” he continued.
Price’s writings on a wide range of issues from science and technology policy to political economy to international politics have been published in several professional publications. He is also a current member of the Allied Gardens Grantville Community Council.
Price is challenged with stepping into big shoes worn by Faye Girsh, who has been president of the Hemlock Society of San Diego since 2007.
Girsh, who received her doctorate in human development from Harvard University, founded the Hemlock Society of San Diego in 1987 and was its president until 1996 and again from 2006 to 2019. She is also past-president of the Hemlock Society USA, and past-president of the World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies.
She initiated the Caring Friends program at Hemlock, which became the Final Exit Network, where she serves on the advisory board. She is also on the board of ERGO (Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization).
“I am happy to turn over the reins of this respected organization to Barry Price, who will usher in our 32nd year with competence, passion and integrity,” Girsh said. “I will be happy to help him in any way I can and will stay involved in the right-to-die movement at the national and international levels. I am relieved and delighted to have Barry as my successor and know that he will make us proud of our continuing role in this community to provide education about choices at the end of life.”
The Hemlock Society of San Diego was founded in 1987 to educate the community about end-of-life issues and available choices. The society supports a person’s right to have choice, dignity and control at the end of life, consistent with the law and within their own values and beliefs.
The Hemlock Society of San Diego remains the only right-to-die group in the United States with free, public monthly meetings, newsletter, and website bringing the community the latest developments in thought, politics, and progress in choosing a peaceful death. For more information, visit hemlocksocietysandiego.org
—Delle Willett is a San Diego-based public relations consultant and journalist. Reach her at email@example.com.