Bob Kouns, CVU Co-Founder, Passes Away


April 29, 2004

Bob Kouns, one of the founders of Crime Victims United, died today at age 73. Bob battled prostate cancer for the last several years.

Bob Kouns, along with his wife Dee Dee, joined the Portland Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children in 1980, after their daughter Valerie McDonald was abducted in California and never heard from again. Her remains were identified in 2002.

Through their involvement in POMC, they became aware of the horrible state of criminal justice in Oregon at that time. Victims of violent crime routinely received no respect and often little justice from the criminal justice system, a system which failed miserably at holding criminals accountable and protecting decent citizens.

Bob and Dee Dee, along with other members of Parents of Murdered Children, created Crime Victims United in 1983 to work for crime victims' rights and a more balanced criminal justice system. For the next 14 years, Bob was a leader of the group, serving as president and in other capacities. Even after retiring in 1997, Bob was as an invaluable advisor to the group.

In 1984 Bob led the effort to get a victims' rights measure on the ballot. Measure 8 was narrowly defeated. In 1986 another measure, Measure 10, was advanced and passed, putting victims' rights in Oregon law. Both times CVU members personally gathered tens of thousands of signatures to bring the measures to the voters.

In 1996, Bob was the main author of Measure 26, which recast the founding principles of criminal justice in Oregon as protection of society, personal responsibility, accountability for one's actions and reformation. Measure 26, the culmination of 12 years of effort, passed handily and has had a profound impact.

Bob was involved in many other ballot measures, including the 1996 and 1999 measures that put victims' rights in the Oregon Constitution. The necessity of putting these rights in the Constitution became clear after criminal defense attorneys used the courts to nullify the voters' will expressed in Measure 10.

Bob, working in close partnership with his wife Dee Dee, personally helped hundreds of victims of violent crime navigate the choppy waters of the criminal justice system. At a time when survivors were reeling from the most devastating loss, he brought expertise, wisdom and comfort.

Using his vast experience, sound moral compass and penetrating intellect, Bob made a huge contribution toward the mission of Crime Victims United - to create a more balanced criminal justice system, one in which the interests of victims and law-abiding citizens were accorded due weight. He advanced this mission through testimony before the Oregon Legislature, by working with virtually every criminal justice agency in state government, by participating in ballot measure campaigns and through appearances in the media. He was an eloquent spokesman and compelling advocate.

We believe that no one has made a greater contribution to the State of Oregon than Bob Kouns. His selfless and tireless work for the benefit of all law-abiding Oregonians was an inspiration. We loved him and will sorely miss him.

Dee Dee Kouns has requested that people who want to make a contribution in memory of Bob make a contribution to Crime Victims United. Please see our contribution form. Please note on the form that the contribution is in memory of Bob.

The Kouns family will hold an Irish wake for Bob on May 22, at the Charbonneau Country Club, 32000 SW Charbonneau Drive, Wilsonville, from 6 PM to 11 PM. You are welcome to attend.

Victim, Author, Friend - Terri Jentz Remembers Bob Kouns

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