Casey Fay Berrian died Jan. 8 after a long battle with addiction at age 40.
Nikolas Kostenko, Berrian’s friend, said she was “a very special girl who never gave up on herself or her sobriety, even though she struggled so hard to remain sober. She was a determined woman and came back to AA every time with conviction to learn. She always had an attitude of honesty, openness and willingness and desperately wanted to figure out how to live a sober life. She was a brilliant artist, funny as hell and fiercely loyal to those she let in her inner circle.”
Kostenko said Berrian’s best friend was her dog, Toby Roo, whom she “loved more than life itself.”
“She prided herself in her individuality and never conformed to the norms of society. I oftentimes saw her for the beautiful individual she was and though she couldn’t see it herself, a light shone from her that others bathed in and appreciated far more than she could ever possibly comprehend,” Kostenko said. “Her demons were plenty and powerful with a very complicated personal history and a past that would bring the strongest of us crumbling to our knees. She, however, persevered time and time again, slowly trying to piece the shattered fragments of her life together and build a promising future.”
Lori Vogt, another friend, said that Berrian, who was bisexual, was “full of life” and noted her work in the recovery community.
“She entertained her friends with creative, funny thoughts and told it to us straight when we needed to hear the truth,” Vogt said. “Time spent with Casey always included laughter, adventure and deep inquiry. She helped people struggling with addiction in rehabilitation centers, homeless shelters and hospitals. She shared with them her life story, which was filled with challenges, determination, hope and gratitude.”
Another friend, Erin Rogers, said Berrian was “beautiful, smart, fiery, sarcastic, hilarious, kind and would have you believe her tough exterior when instead she was fragile, poetic, warm, compassionate, loving and sometimes sad.”
“She reached innumerable people in her life and helped so many of us just by being her unique self,” Rogers said.
Marcelle Hawn echoed Rogers’ sentiments.
“She had a fighting spirit, was hilarious and walked to the beat of her own drum, and she was a badass with a big heart who would do anything for the people she was close to,” Hawn said.
Berrian is survived by her dog Toby Roo, her mother Julie Marin, her father Bruce Berrian, her brothers Wayne Marin Jr. and Hayden Marin, her aunts Cheryl Fariss, Nancy Bohnfack and Cathy Casillas and many cousins, friends and sponsors.
A celebration of her life will be held 1 p.m. Feb. 4 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. In lieu of flowers, individuals are encouraged to donate in her memory to Prevention Point Philadelphia at http:/ppponline.org.