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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Bakersfield campus loses one of their best

February 12, 2016

Respiratory Therapy Program-Director-Kerry Green and graduateThe Bakersfield campus is grieving for the loss of one of their greatest personal and academic influences. Respiratory Therapy Program Director Kerry Green passed away last week and left a vacancy in the hearts of so many.

“He always encouraged all of us to be the best we could be,” says SJVC colleague Brian Ruff, who knew Kerry for 10 years. “His advice was always just to stay calm and not internalize things or take them to heart. I am a much calmer person for his influence.”

Kerry Green brought every bit of himself to work each day. It was as though his first responsibility was to motivate and make others feel good about themselves and their accomplishments, and his second priority was to breathe life into his field of study for Respiratory Therapy students and their instructors.

“The impact he made in the respiratory community and his love and passion for helping others will not be forgotten,” says Sandy Felix, who graduated from the Respiratory Therapy program in 2013. “Even on my worst days, Mr. Green’s calm and gentle demeanor could always put a smile on my face. I am grateful to have had such a kind and loving human being guide me through my time at SJVC.”

Although Kerry had dealt with health issues for several years, his recent collapse and hospitalization were completely unexpected. Doctors were doing everything they could to determine the root cause of his health emergency, and family and friends expected him to pull through.

“The man always had a smile on his face, right up to the end,” says Brian. “Even in the hospital, he was trying to comfort everybody else.”

Bakersfield Campus Director Kelly Macy was one of Kerry’s strongest supporters. “Kerry was slow and steady. He steered the ship, and if we needed it (RT program) to go a certain way, he gently and slowly turned it that way.”

Brian had a keen appreciation for Kerry’s expertise in their shared field. “Kerry was one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever met when it comes to respiratory therapy. His care and concern for students and colleagues were unbelievable. He put the students first, and us ahead of him.”

Kerry always had an eye out for someone who needed a little help. “There were a million little things he did for others that added up,” says Brian. “He always had some kind of food, or a little extra money around, if he thought someone needed it. Or, if someone needed to talk, he was more than happy to be the one to listen.”

Perhaps no colleague was closer to Kerry than Larry Romero. They met when Kerry interviewed Larry for a Respiratory Therapy instructor position several years ago.

“Right from the handshake, he made me feel like an old friend,” says Larry. “That’s how comfortable Kerry made everyone feel. From that day on, we became great friends.”

Through the years, Kerry set the tempo, standard and attitude he wished his instructors to mirror.

“Watching him instruct and interact with the students had a great influence on how I instruct,” says Larry. “Kerry showed each student respect, and they greatly respected and loved him for it. As long as you showed the drive, he would gently guide you toward the best outcome.”

Kerry’s influence can be felt on all levels of his relationships – students, staff, faculty, friends and family. The lives he has touched are abundant and their voices eager to provide testimony of his generosity, professionalism and affection.

“I believe Kerry would want to be remembered as a humble servant that gave his all to meet the needs of others,” says Larry, who was with Kerry and his wife, Nancy, when he passed away. “He gave of himself and expected nothing in return.”

Kerry was the kind of leader who planned for everything.

“One of the things we had been fighting for really hard was to get interim positions assigned,” says Kelly. “As soon as he went into the hospital, it was important that he knew we had taken care of that so it would be a relief off his mind.”

Those plans are now in effect, as the Respiratory Therapy program stretches to fill an unfillable gap. “Kerry wouldn’t want us to sit around crying and just stop the world,” says Kelly. “He would want us to just keep moving forward.”

As difficult as that may be, all on the Bakersfield campus who knew Kerry will make the effort he would expect.

SJVC has set up a memorial website for those you would like to leave a message in memoriam:

A memorial service for Kerry Green took place on Feb. 11 at Olive Knolls Church in Bakersfield. The Bakersfield campus has set up a gofundme account to help Kerry’s family with medical and funeral service expenses during this most difficult time. “We are hoping to alieve as much financial strain as possible,” says Kelly Macy. “Any amount would be appreciated.”

To donate, please visit