It is with a profound sense of personal loss that the family of former Senator Charles H. Percy announces his death on Saturday, September 17, 2011, at the age of 91.
He loomed as large in his private life as he did in his public one.
His determination to overcome odds, to help others, to persuade decision-makers to actions he believed were important showed us how much can be achieved through the inspiration of a single man.
The energy and enthusiasm he brought to everything in his many-faceted life encouraged us to rise early and to embrace each day's opportunities for work and fun until late at night, and buoyed us up when we flagged. His courage in the face of devastating adversity made us braver and taught us resilience. His insistence on a balanced perspective in his public life, (calling himself "fervently moderate"), helped us understand it is both possible and preferable to live in a world without partisanship.
He led by example with his self-confidence, relishing the company of people who challenged and informed his thinking, including his outstanding business and Senate staff. He provoked animated discussions around the dinner table and roared with laughter at Capitol Steps skits at his expense. His voice was strong and deep, and it filled and warmed a room.
He taught us humility and respectfulness as, win or lose, he would show up at the Chicago Loop the day after each election to thank the voters. He taught us generosity, as he tried to help others as he'd been helped along the way. He taught us how powerful unconditional love can be.
He went through life with his arms flung wide. He welcomed all who wanted to accompany him on his journey, celebrated the victories with them, and supported and comforted them through his own difficult times.
He unreservedly believed he would be joining the loved ones who had gone before him, and in the face of such conviction we cannot but believe he is having the joyous reunion he had longed for.
We also believe he would want to thank extended family, friends, colleagues, and compatriots for so enriching his life. We will all miss him.
The family will be holding a private service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in the name of Charles H. Percy to The Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park (P.O. Box 3653, Washington, D.C. 20027) or WETA (3939 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206).