Remembering Seppo Kanerva—a Letter to a Brother, Friend, and Colleague

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Georges Michelson-Dupont
Seppo Kanerva
Seppo Kanerva

By Georges Michelson-Dupont, international vice president and manager of translations, Urantia Foundation, Recloses, France

Editor’s Note: Seppo was a man of service to the Urantia Book project and community. It started in 1984 when he undertook the translation of the book into Finnish. He was active in building the Finnish affiliate of Urantia Association International, worked as Urantia Foundation’s manager of translations, joined the board of trustees in 2001, and then served as board president from 2004 until his retirement in 2008. We all benefited from his contributions, his mentorship, and mostly from his friendship. Seppo, we wish you Godspeed as you progress on the mansion worlds. We are sure your charming self continues to delight those you interact with!

Dear Seppo,

After a full life of service, you have joined many of our brothers and sisters on the mansion worlds and continue your journey en route to Paradise. I would like to share some memories of our time together in service to Urantia Foundation and to the Urantia community.

I met you for the first time in Helsinki on the occasion of the creation of the Finnish Association in July 1989. This is where I learned that you had almost finished translating The Urantia Book into Finnish.

Then, sometimes with Richard Keeler, sometimes with Martin Myers, you came to visit us several times in Blennes, where we discussed the revision of the French translation and other topics of mutual interest with my father, Jacques Dupont. The conflicts between the Foundation and the former Brotherhood were among our concerns. You as well as we—my father, my wife, and I—had always expressed our loyalty and support to the Foundation, and we were so sorry to hear the criticism directed toward Urantia Foundation during all these tragic events and to witness their impact on the Urantia communities around the world. My friend, it was indeed a time of severe hardship and testing.

During this ordeal of difficulties, we wove strong bonds of brotherhood and intelligent cooperation. I remember that you loved the scallops that my mother-in-law, whom you called "Meme," used to prepare especially for you when you would come to our house.

In the summer of 1995, you, Richard Keeler, and I, along with Foundation employee Damian Bondi, put together and formatted the small vinyl cover version of the book in English, Finnish, Spanish, and French. We were proud of the result and were happy to be able to make the revelation available to truth seekers at a very competitive price.

Then we prepared together the two translators’ conferences in Paris in 1996 and 1997, which led to an acceleration of the translations, a better cooperation among the translators, and the beginning of a unified process. After the second conference you became Urantia Foundation’s manager of translations.

I remember that you spoke several languages—Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, and some French. In addition to the task of organization and coordination of the translations, you supervised the work of correcting the Spanish translation undertaken by a team of readers with great kindness and tact.

Finally, you became a trustee in 2001, replacing Kwan Choi. All of us, at the Foundation and in the Urantia movement, owe you a lot. I remember your silhouette, at the end of the evening after our meetings at 533, on the balcony of the Foundation, smoking cigarettes with a glass of wine in your hand, laughing out loud and making jokes. You had a great sense of humor, a communicative joie de vivre, and a strong sense of responsibility. Frankly, you were an inspiration to all those around you.

What will remain cardinal in my memory of our relationship is your loyalty, intelligence, kindness, and sense of compromise.

Goodbye and see you soon. I love you, my brother.


1991. Jacques Dupont, Seppo Kanerva, Richard Keeler, 
Georges Michelson Dupont
1991. Jacques Dupont, Seppo Kanerva, Richard Keeler, Georges Michelson-Dupont

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