John Edward Hardel

July 10, 1950 – April 8, 2018

John passed away peacefully on April 8, 2018 surrounded by his friends and family.

John was the youngest son of Edward and Mary (Jakus) Hardel.  He was born in Winnebago, Wisconsin.  He was a 1969 graduate of Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan, Wisconsin. He then went on to NTID in Rochester, New York. His employment history was vast and notable. He worked for Berlin Chapman in Berlin, WI; IRS internship in Boston, MA; Merrill Lynch in Rochester, NY; Lawyers Coop in Webster, NY; AT&T in Boston, MA; American Express in Phoenix, AZ; and Usher Syndrome Coalition, Boston, MA. John also spent many hours Volunteering his time. He served on the committee and executive committee of the Rochester Area task force on AIDS; He was a certified peer educator for people diagnosed with HIV through the NYS AIDS institute; He was a certified HIV/ AIDS trainer; he served on the AIDS Garden Committee; he taught sign language; and he was a member of the Consumer AIDS Committee at Trillium Health.

John came from a very large family that he loved to talk about. He was the youngest of 3 children, an Uncle, Great Uncle, and Great Great Uncle.

His older Brother Joe Jakus ( Bernice) of Henrietta, NY and their family; Alan (Kris) Jakus of Hemlock, NY; Steve (Mary) Jakus of Irondequoit, NY and their children Erica and Jessica; Pamela (Tom, deceased) Bertolone of Henrietta, NY and their children Jacqueline and Mathew; Julie Jakus of Henrietta, NY and her children Joshua and Jacob; and Jackie Tebeau of Henrietta, NY and her son Zachary.

His older sister Jane DeBot- Garzone (Tom, deceased) of East Rochester, NY and her family; Brian (Kennetha) DeBot, of Rochester, NY and their children Dana (deceased), Kenneth, Sarah, Jessica, and Arika; Craig DeBot of  East Rochester, NY; Annette (Tim) Herlihy of Oshkosh, WI and their children Timothy Jr., Tianna, Taelynn, Tiernan, and Tanner; Danelle ( Joe) Jarvis of Brockport, NY and their children Joseph, Thomas, Tyler, Aydien, and Michael.

He had many Great great nieces and nephews.

John was an active member of Rochester Recreational Club for the Deaf. He was a part of DEAR. He loved to played cards there, especially Oh Hell and Euchre.

A memorial was held at RRCD, On May 6, 2018.

Donations may be made in John’s name to either the Isaiah House or Trillium Health Deaf Services.

(Submitted by Ed Kelly)

Michael Ray Henson

September 23, 1974 – November 29, 2018

Michael Ray Henson passed from this life on Thursday, November 29, 2018 in Austin, Texas.  He was born on September 23, 1974, the son of Elvin Ray and Joyce Berry Henson.  Michael lost his mom in a tragic accident when he was very young and was later blessed with having Vicki Coats to help raise him. 

Michael graduated from Douglass High School in 1993, and then attended Austin Community College where he gained an associate degree in sign language and interpreting in 2007.  He thoroughly enjoyed his life in Austin and made many friends there that he considered family, as well.  Michael loved being around people and devoted himself to his community in Austin.  He spent many hours with his friends, who nicknamed him “Hey Hey”, camping and sitting around the campfire enjoying the company of others.  Although Michael was outspoken and sometimes loud, he was compassionate and would help anyone who needed it.  Michael absolutely loved drinking coffee, a passion he likely got from his dad. 

His favorite place to be was on Lake Travis or the Guadalupe, when he had a chance.  Michael was known to be an ever-present attendee at the church in downtown Austin on Saturdays and Sundays.  He also adored his chihuahua’s Riley and Nikki.  Michael will forever be remembered for his happy smile and big blue eyes.

Michael is survived by his father, Elvin Ray Henson and wife, JoBeth of Nacogdoches; Vicki Coats, who loved him like her own son, and her fiancé, Ron Springfield of Nacogdoches; siblings, Brandi Byers Hightower and husband, William Greer of Seabrook, Chris Henson of Nacogdoches and Tina Dee Long of Douglass; nieces, Madeline Byers of Seabrook and Christa Henson of Jasper; nephews, Landon Byers of Seabrook, Brandon Asher of Nacogdoches and Cason Lane of Douglass. 

He is preceded in death by his mom, Joyce Lynn Berry Henson.

A memorial visitation was held on Monday, December 3, 2018 at Laird Funeral Home.

(Submitted by Rebecca Trotter)

Note from Rebecca: “Michael Henson was from Nacogdoches, TX but lived a good part of his life in Austin. He died on Nov 28 and was an interpreter.”

Juanita Greggs

March 20, 1959 – January 10, 1998

Juanita Greggs, the daughter of William Stewart and Annie Greegs was born March 20, 1959 in Brooklyn, NY. She departed this life on January 10, 1998.

She attended J.H.S. 210 and later Erasmus HIgh School. She received her high school equivilency diploma and a degree in auto mechanics a few years later at job corps in Oneota, NY.

Juanita was always the life of the party. She gave good advice and was there when anybody needed her. She tried to counsel and encourage young people, she was an inspiration to all who were privileged to know her.

Juanita was also known in her younger days as Nita or Boogie. She is survived by her parents, her step mother Bernice Steward, her brothers Aaron and Victor Carl Greggs, her 3 sisters Valerie Rodney, Marie Greggs and Ages Ellerby, as well as 3 stepbrothers: Broderick and the twins, Uncle Alonzo, Phillip and Nathaniel, 3 aunts Juanita, Louise, and Rozlynn, 2 brother-in-laws David and Dillion, 2 special-in-laws Barbara and Angie, 3 very close cousins Diane, Shanda, Arlene as well as 14 nephews and nieces, 1 great nephew and many other loving cousins, family and friends.

(Submitted by the Rev. Deacon Dr. Gene Bourquin)

Note from Rev. Bourguqin: “Juanita passed away around 1998 and was about 32 years old. Juanita was born sighted-hearing and became deaf and blind due to HIV virus medications.”

Harry Woosley, Jr.

Harry Woosley, Jr.Harry Woosley, Jr.
August 20, 1941 – March 2, 2018

Harry Woosley, Jr., affectionally known as “Auntie Abbe”, died on March 2, 2018 at the age of 76. He was Deaf, proudly gay and was one of our community’s early HIV/AIDS educators. Harry founded the Deaf AIDS Project in Baltimore, Maryland in 1990.

Harry was also Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf’s second President, serving from 1981-1983.

Leather was one of Harry’s many passions and he was a long-time member of the Leather community and a Lifetime Brother Emeritus of the Baltimore Leather Association of the Deaf (BLADeaf).

The following is Harry’s official obituary:

Harry Woosley, Jr., 76, passed away peacefully at Frederick Memorial Hospital on March 2, 2018.

He was born on August 20, 1941 in Danville, Kentucky, the eldest son of the late Harry Thomas Woosley, Sr. and Ermal (May) Woosley. He leaves behind a brother, John T. Woosley (Carolyn), formerly of Adamstown and currently of Columbia, South Carolina, and their sons, Clint and Jesse (Marisa) Woosley and Harry’s great-niece Sierra and great-nephew Sage, all of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Harry was educated at the Kentucky School for the Deaf, Danville. In his 20’s, he learned to be a leader and served as a pastor with the Church of Christ in Michigan, before entering the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York, then graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. As a leader, he held the distinction of having served two non-successive terms as president of the NTID Student Congress. He loved acting, and performed for the NTID Theater in A Streetcar Named Desire, Romeo and Juliet, and School for Wives. He had a major role in Celebration. After his graduation, he was employed by the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick as a residential counselor for five years before moving to Baltimore to be a counselor, then social worker, for Family Services Foundation. Over time, he became a strong advocate for deaf individuals with HIV and AIDS and founded the Deaf AIDS Project to further awareness among the deaf population. He relocated to Frederick a number of years ago. His favorite pastimes were doing intensive reading and genealogy.

A private service was held at the Resthaven Memorial Gardens in Frederick, MD.


See also: A Tribute to Harry by Ricky Taylor

Mark D. Kemmerer

November 8, 1959 ~ January 10, 2018 (age 58)

Mark D. Kemmerer, age 58, of Dormont (part of the Pittsburgh metro area), Pennsylvania, died from HIV-related complications on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Mark was the son of the late George and Nancy Kemmerer; brother of Judith K. Murphy, David L. Kemmerer and Craig A. Kemmerer. He is also survived by 1 niece and 3 nephews. No Visitation. Services Private. Arrangements entrusted to the Leo J. Henney Funeral Home, Carnegie.

(Submitted by Bob Donaldson)

Julio Nunez Genao

Julio Nunez Genao
July 15, 1955 – July 14, 1989

Julio Genao died Friday, July 14, at 2:15 a.m. of AIDS at Coming Home Hospice. He was deaf, short, and very cute.

He was born in the Dominican Republic and had many friends. We didn’t all know each other but we all knew Julio. He had some amazing qualities. Committed and tolerant beyond most human thresholds, he was tenacious, feisty, and sustained an independence that was remarkable. Always underlying this captivating being was a loving, tender man. We all knew and felt it, and it’s what attracted us all.

Everyone who had the privilege of knowing this little man, this big sweet presence, knew this. We all were blessed with something extra: a bit of magic perhaps; a special form of light. For a time we had this precious moment called Julio – the little gestures, his own style of sign – and then he left as quickly as he came. When the dancer disappears, only the dance remains.

Thank you for sharing your dance with us, beautiful boy. Thank you for the sweetness you brought to our hearts.

(Source: Bay Area Reporter)

John McBride

John McBride
February 15, 1997

On February 15, John McBride’s soul left his body to begin what he believed would be his next journey. He was 34.

Since moving to San Francisco in 1983, John’s energies and talents were spent working for and with the deaf communities and the gay and lesbian communities. As a sign language interpreter, he quickly rose in the ranks of interpreters to become both nationally and internationally recognized.

John spent years as a tireless advocate in the struggle to bring AIDS awareness and education to the deaf community. His commitment to this work began in 1985; his efforts to make sure the deaf community was not overlooked stretched from the United States to Canada and as far as Brazil.

John’s passions, talents, humor and love are but some of the gifts he has left us with to help heal his loss.  he is survived by his mother, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, and his loving international family of friends.

Donations may be made in John’s name to:  NorCRID John McBride Memorial Fund, DGLC and The Deaf AIDS Project. A memorial will be held April 12. For information e-mail to Hopeberry @

(Source: Bay Area Reporter / Photo of Hope and John via Drago Renteria)

Patrick “Bad Puppy” Saatzer

Patrick “Bad Puppy” Saatzer
March 17, 1961 – August 7, 1994

At four in the morning, his family watched him lovingly to his last breath at home in Beaumont, Texas. Patrick’s free spirit was now truly free from his body in time to join us at the Dore Alley Fair on August 7, 1994. Oh, how he loved leather events as much as he loved traveling, wild roller coasters and sports. His family even dressed him in a brand-new Astro jersey shirt for the funeral. Patrick’s heaven is filled with deaf and leather folks whom he loved very much.

Patrick was well-known for his work as a barback at the Edge. He also co-founded the Northern California Leather Association of the Deaf and helped raised several thousand dollars for AIDS service agencies, especially for the Deaf AIDS Center. It is now not the same without his wonderful spirit and enthusiasm. He will be missed by his family, relatives, and friends.

In order to enable his friends from all over the world to participate in Patrick’s memorial service, it will be held during Leather Pride week (September 18-25) in San Francisco. Please watch for an announcement. Please make donations out to the Deaf AIDS Center, c/o University of California Center on Deafness, 3333 California Street, Suite 10, San Francisco, CA 94143-1208.

We love you and will miss you very much! – Phillip C. Rubin (Mr. Deaf International Leather) and Sam Feliciano.

(Source: Bay Area Reporter)


Samuel Feliciano

Samuel Feliciano
April 17, 1957 – Feb. 14, 1995

Enough is enough! When will AIDS stop killing our deaf friends?

After being in a coma for one month, our loving friend Sam Feliciano, passed away from AIDS-related complications on Valentine’s Day in Boston. Throughout his life Sam loved to check out different cities. He eventually fell in love with San Francisco. He became a wonderful, invaluable asset to the deaf gay community here. He was active with the Rainbow Deaf Society (a club for deaf gays).

Sam also loved to cook dinners for his friends, plan many social get-togethers for them, and entertain them with his creative drag clothes and remarkable acts.

On the serious side, Sam worked with an interpreter agency (BACA) in San Francisco. He also was a social director for the Rainbow Deaf Society for three years. His spirit and love will always remain in our memories.

Sam was cremated in Boston. His ashes will be present at the memorial service that will be held at St. Benedict, 1801 Octavia Street, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Call 550-9449 (Voice) or 255-7528 (TTY) for more information.

(Source: Bay Area Reporter)

Billy “B.J.” Petrie

Billy “B.J.” Petrie
Nov. 9 1946 – March 10, 1991

Known to his friends as B.J., Billy Petrie died quietly at UCSF on March 10 from complications due to AIDS. He was 44 years old.

Born in Saginaw, Mich., Billy later attended St. Rita’s School for the Deaf in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduating in 1966.

After moving to San Francisco 11 years ago, Billy found favor in the South of Market area. His leathermen friends, both old and new, will miss Billy, his sense of fun and adventure.

Billy is survived by his son, Jay; his parents, William and Jean; and seven deaf brothers and sisters. Thanks so much to Darol, James, Jay and John for their help during and after Billy’s illness. Their support was invaluable.

Contributions in Billy’s memory may be made to the Deaf Community AIDS Project, P.O. Box 1606, SF 94101.

A memorial service will be held at St. Benedict’s Church, 2869 Bush St., on April 4, at 7 p.m.

(Source: Bay Area Reporter)

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