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.


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 @ aol.com

(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)

Phillip Hildreth

Phillip Hildreth
May 1, 1958 – Aug. 2, 1991

Phillip was a beautiful deaf man who traveled a long road to share his last smiles with us.

Born in Jackson, Miss., and raised by foster mother Bessie Hildreth, Phillip attended the Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock, Ark. He lived in Atlanta for 15 years before coming to San Francisco for a better life and for services for deaf people with AIDS (nonexistent in Georgia).

He was a fun-loving “girlfriend” and could give a “snap” that would make anyone smile. He loved sports (Go Giants!), gossip (The Enquirer) and, of course, shopping.

We will miss him but know he is at peace. Born again in the spirit, he’s finally going home.

Donations in his name may be made to the St. Benedict’s Deaf AIDS Information Center.

(Source: Bay Area Reporter)

Garet Stark

Garet Michael Stark
Nov. 25, 1953 – Sept. 9, 1992

On Wednesday, September 9, Garet died at home. He had been living with AIDS.

A tireless runner, activist and advocate, Garet worked as the assistant director of Bay Area Communication Access. He held sign language interpreter certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Garet was extremely active in the deaf community and the Northern California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. He was one of the founders of the Deaf AIDS Center. He received the Bridge award from Deaf Services Network – North in 1990. Garet was an outstanding athlete, participating and winning medals at the Gay Games. He assisted the Names Project with interpreting, and he participated in civil disobedience during the 1987 March on Washington with the Queer and Present Danger Affinity Group.

He is survived by his other, Mary Combs, of New Jersey; his father, James Stark, of Florida; his sisters and two brothers; several nieces and nephews; and many friends.

A celebration of Garet’s life will be held on October 10 at St Benedict Center, 2891 Bush St., SF at 2 p.m. Contributions may be made to Deaf Services Network – North, Bay Area Communications Access, or the Northern California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

He will be sorely missed.

(Source: Bay Area Reporter)

* * * * * *

Founding Member of SFT&FC Dies
Garet Stark, 1954-1992

by Rick Thoman

One of the founding members of the San Francisco Track & Field Club, Garet Stark, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 9, due to AIDS complications. Slightly built and sporting trademark red hair, the soft-spoken but spunky Stark was also widely known and well-regarded as an interpreter in the gay community.  The loss of Stark, 38, along with another SFT&FC founding member, Alan French, earlier this year, has created a somber tone

for the impending 10th anniversary of the SF Track & Field Club.

Stark was one of the individuals instrumental in organizing and establishing the SF Track & Field Club following the first Gay Games.  He was always supportive of newcomers to the club, going out of his way to make them feel comfortable with their efforts and their progress.

Other interests and duties caused him to skip the 1986 Gay Games, but he came back in 1990 and help organize the middle distance runners into a viable force at the Vancouver Games.  He was a member of the gold medal-winning 4×400 open relay team at that event.

As a runner, Stark was determined and unrelenting in training and in competition.  In a show of his tenacity and competitive spirit, Stark went out hard and fast in the 1990 Gay Games 1500 meter run, although he was already battling the effects of the AIDS virus.  Leading the field in the first two laps, he wilted in the near 100-degree heat on the final lap, collapsing in a dehydrated clump as he crossed the finish line, fully feeling the effects of the sun, the disease and his hard-fought effort.

“He had that ‘never-give-up’ spirit when he was running,” said one of Stark’s teammates and admirers. “He was a winner no matter what place he finished because he always gave his best effort.  It was evident every time he ran.”

Stark was a great “giver” to the gay community, not only in his efforts with the track club but also with the gay deaf community.  He volunteered his time at innumerable functions and maintained a special sensitivity to helping the people he cherished as his “family.”

Friend and track teammate Nancy Frost described Stark as a “treasure” and “someone we’ll all miss, not just on the track team.”  Others saddened by his loss mentioned his smile, his support and his indefatigable spirit in describing the diminutive red-haired dynamo.

“The San Francisco Track & Field Club will celebrate its 10th anniversary, and we will continue on in the spirit of Garet and all the other members who have passed away – but it won’t be the same without them,” state team Co-Coach Frank Demby.

(Source: Bay Area Reporter)

Kent T. Mitchell

Kent T. Mitchell
December 21, 1987

Kent died at San Francisco General Hospital on Dec. 21.

Born in Oakland in 1943, Kent called San Francisco home for over 25 years. He was active in the deaf community and was a founding member of the Rainbow Deaf Society.

Kent, a gentle, loving man will be missed by his family and many good friends.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at the Hearing Society, 20 10th Street S.F. (between Market & Mission).

Contributions in Kent’s name may be made to the American Foundation for AIDS Research 9601 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

(Source: Bay Area Reporter)

  • Deaf AIDS Awareness