Coll Perske lit up every room he walked into with a smile, a laugh, and a playful joie de vivre that was uniquely his own. With a fascinating blend of never taking life too seriously mixed with his love for knowledge, reading, and mastering languages, Coll was a beautiful man with many layers.
The son of international educators overseas, Coll was born in Belgium, graduated high school in Bulgaria, and lived in Italy, Greece, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and Thailand with his parents and sister before attending college in the United States. While at California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB), Coll discovered his passion during a class on marine mammal behavior and training. Mixing his love for animal training with the real-life application of protecting our ports and waterways, Coll spent his career in San Diego with the Navy’s Marine Mammal Program. His joy of travel, love for the water, and passion for the animals led him to excel in his career at a very young age.
Outside of work, Coll had many passions. His core value of volunteerism (“If I’m not volunteering in some way, I’m not doing my part as a human being”) led him in his efforts as a Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, a role he enjoyed tremendously. He was a man of many passions who loved basketball, Shakespeare, his family, dressing up in costumes, scuba diving, his beloved dogs, playing practical jokes, and life in general. He was goofy, impatient, and hilarious, all while being the most stubborn person you would ever have the pleasure of meeting. He was generous and kind. Playful and reliable. He was many things all wrapped up into a handsome young man who left the world too soon as a result of a tragic work accident at the age of 29.
He is remembered and loved every single day by his fiancé Jenny, his parents, sister, nephews, and his dear friends. We are honored to have his name tied to the beautiful work that will come out of the Resilience Center, and we look forward to the impact it is bound to make for all those who grieve a spouse or partner.
In the words of Coll’s favorite poem, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should…With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”