From a posting on SCA-West, March 19, 2013:
"I just minutes ago recieved word that one of our old, old, old timers died last night around 6:00 P.M., Sir Houri the Savvage, (Birell Houri Vaughan). I knew Birell first as one of he gaggle of squirley kids from Berkeley High who frequently inhabited my kitchen in the 60's when I lived on Alcatraze Ave. on the Berkeley/Oakland line. He was one of the energetic young who helped me with the first two ever SCA feasts, for 12th night 4 and 5.
Birell was Squire to Count, Sir Stephen du Loraine and as such a member of House Chaous. He went on to become a world class photographer. Evedentally he had been batteling severe heart problems for several decades. He told me that his heart valves were from a pig. He was living in the Salt Lake aria. We had talked on the phone periodically since I first re-entered the SCA 4 years ago.
Being adopted by Berkeley intelecturalls, Birell never felt at home in the black community, and was not compleatly comfortable in the main stream white community. The SCA was the community where he felt at home.
Gawd, the memories that are flodding back at this very moment - all those grand kids of so many, many years ago - where does the time go.
In the words of Pink Floyd: "...no one told me when to run - I didn't hear the starting gun, and all at once then years have passed..." Only in our case it's more like 40 years... sigh." -- Mistress Geradine of Toad Hall
"I am so sorry to hear this news. I have many fond memories of Birell/Houri from the SCA days, when we were young teen whippersnappers, and he was one of the liveliest. He will live on in my heart." -- Astrid of Hawk Ridge
"I knew Sir Houri only slightly, but he was one of those who helped develop our Imitation Middle Ages as an organization that takes all kinds of weirdos and misfits. I'd have stayed longer myself if I had the social instincts to bring a household together; once Sir Bela lost interest, it was a solo effort for me, and after a couple of tries I found the labor was too great for the rewards." -- Karina of the Far West
"I too will miss Birel/Sir Hourai:
He was part of the collection of young whippersnappers (the pre-college age gang of adolescent early SCA (A.S. I-IV) - who now form the the majority of the Olde Phartes' cadre) - who included Hourai, myself and my lady Patrice di Coeur Fidel, Silvanus Andearg, Argo Ardal Verkaysc, Cathea Verkaysc (they were SCA 'siblings'), James Greyhelm, Earl of Morris and Thumas O'Connaire among others (please forgive any omissions or name-spelling errors).
In A.S. mumble, Hourai was my first sparring/practice partner. He was best know for his mercurial temperament, thundering, powerful blows (you could tell that he was on the field - by ear) and his assertion that he wasn't black - just afflicted with a very large freckle.
His memory remains." -- Kevin Perigrynne
"I wasn't one of the east bay whippersnappers, but otherwise qualify ... Biril and I took great joy it trying to hit each other as hard as physically possible, whenever possible. I think he was a student at Berkley High School (am I right here Phil?) I was from across the Richmond Bridge in San Rafael...the only Marin kid at the time, squired to Duke Henrik. I remember when I met him his girlfriend, Sarah I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and one of a very few who could calm him down once he was fired up. Geraldine makes a good point. I know he was conflicted outside of the SCA with regard to race, after all, it was Berkley, circa 1968, but within the SCA and on the field we were all the same...I had the good fortune to correspond with him in recent years since my re-entry. He in fact helped me sort out my memories with regard to a few things, among them being the MGC. I hear he was an absolutely fearless extreme downhill skier in his later years...no surprise there... Rest in Peace Sir Houri..." -- Stephen Black Eagle
"I am very saddened by this news, and share these thoughts of those who have already spoken about him. I do have some vivid memories of Birell. We were friends for awhile, and paled around a little. I was never sure what he was going to say or do at times. One time at a local SCA event we were both attending, he approached me and asked if I wanted to go out drinking afterwards. I said yes, and he said "Hey, let's go in our SCA garb..." I paused for a moment, and then agreed. It was a rather interesting evening to say the least...The popular 'Pickup bar' (my opinion of course) Zacks in Sausalito and the Black Oak in Larkspur/Kentfield were not prepared for us that night to be sure. I remember folks at both bars asking what we were all about, and once Birell said to my surprise "Oh, we're just in drag tonight..."
Fun, energetic, and sometimes very surprising, he once gave me a big hug and said "I think you're a brother in disguise..." I laughed and hugged him back...
So many good memories of those early SCA years.
Yes, R.I.P Sir Houri...I will join Blackeagle in a toast to his memory." -- Richard of House HAVN
"I all too slowly noted his absence of facebook posts. I did not know if facebook's system had stupidly unfriended me as it at times has done for other friends. In perusing his pages I sadly realized it was not a facebook goof, but that this wonderful person had left this terrestrial realm.
I had not understood his SCA ties, nor how far back they dated. Not SCA myself, I've had the wonderful experience of acquaintance with denizen of different kingdoms. The passing of the Houri is a sad loss.
anyhoo, (a term I adopted from the Houri)...
On my way out from behind the Zion Curtain in Provo/Salt Lake, Utah, I secured work at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Birel and I became roommates in these tiny employee cabins north of the tourist areas. He worked in many positions... chef, sous chef, cook, younameit for the guest restaurant at the North Rim Lodge. I worked the grocery store/employee--guest beer bar. 3 months at 8,400 foot elevation, way isolated from the world, though we would see the South Rim 12 miles across -- just a big hole in between.
To his Son Elijah...
"So sorry. Only last night I figured out why I wasn't seeing posts from Birel. I thought the facebook system had stupidly unfriended me from yet another friend.
Your Dad and I were roommates, working, at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon the summer of '86. I, a Texan, was introduced by Birel, a Vaughan, to the blues of Stevie Ray Vaughn. May the two of them be playing in a beautiful Blue(s) Heaven.
We loved cycling, photography, jazz and blues, and shared having heart conditions.
Your dad was one close, beautiful, funny, uplifting, zany, loving person in our crazy world.
Also being Norwegian, the burning boat of the Viking warrior on his page would befit him."
Birel's parents were Half&Half, and Profs at UC Berkeley. I believe a theater in SF is named in honor of his father.
Some rude folks at the North Rim asked me how it was to live in the same space as a black man. I responded that I don't see color. I see people. Birel was GOOD people. These SOBs weren't.
Birel related to me his growing up with black and white parents. The love totally overshadowed the skin tint difference. So much that other folks could learn, if their lives were more than just skin-deep." -- Paul R. Miller
(Note, if you would like to add a memory of Houri, please see the link below ...)
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Fall Crown Tournament (September 22, 1968, AS III)
Fall Crown Tournament (September 22, 1968, AS III)
March Crown Tournament (March 23, 1969, AS III)
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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).