Ronald “Ron” Lloyd Coffey

Ronald Lloyd Coffey, 33, died in his Arlington, Virginia home on Monday, June 27, 1994, according to his friend, MJ Bienvenu. She said his death was caused by AIDS-related complications.

Coffey worked independently as a professional sign language interpreter in the D.C. area. Bienvenu said that “he interpreted on a national level, as well. He was really known all over the United States.”

Coffey was born to parents who were deaf. Bienvenu, who had been Coffey’s roommate for the past two years, met Coffey when he enrolled in a sign-language interpreting class she was teaching.

“One of the things in life that Ron wanted to see happen more than anything is the acceptance of deaf people as a unique linguistic and cultural group.” she said. “Ron knew this [was] hard for many people in our society for they have not had the opportunity of growing up or living in a deaf household as Ron did.”

Coffey had been working toward a master’s degree in teaching interpreting at Western Maryland COllege prior to his death. He held a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland for anthropology and an associate’s degree in interpreting from Gallaudet University.

Coffey’s nickname was “Ginger,” Bienvenu said he enjoyed New Wave music and traveling, especially to Provincetown, where he and his longtime companion, Roert Wasik liked to go.

Coffey also enjoyed dining out and often joked about his lack of cooking skills, she said.

Another interest of Coffey’s was softball. He began playing it with the D.C. Sports Association in 1985 and continued for several years

Wasik predeceased Coffey on July 24, 1992. Coffey is survived by two sisters, Carolyn Stiltner of Sterling, Va., and DIana Lusker of Centreville, Va.; and a brother, Jerry Coffey of Arlington. His remains were cremated and scattered at undisclosed locations, Bienvenu said.

A memorial service for Coffey is scheduled on Saturday, July 30, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Gallaudet University’s Ole Jim building at 800 Florida Ave., NE. For further information, call (301) 277-3944 (TTY) or (301)277-3945 (voice).

Anyone wishing to remember Coffey with a gift in his name is asked to consider the Bicultural Center Center, 5506. 

Source: Washington Blade | Submitted by Bob Rourke | Transcribed by Nanette Edwards

Yosuke “Yoke” Mihara

Yosuke “Yoke” Mihara, 43, a former D.C. resident, died Monday, June 30, 1997, of AIDS-related illness in Fukuoka, Japan, according to his close friend Bruce Grimes of Washington, D.C.

Mihara was born Feb. 6, 1954, in Fukuoka. He came to the United States in the early 1980s to study computer technology at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. where he received a bachelor’s degree, and he then went to take specialized computer training at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Mihara returned to Japan in 1995, after several years of living in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in the United States.

He is survived by his parents, Tadashi an Kimiko MIhara of Japan; by his American family, Don Clarke and Bruce Grimes of D.C.; and by his many friends.

Contributions in his memory may be sent to the Whitman-Walker Clinic, 1401 S St., NW, Washington, DC 20009.

Source: Washington Blade | Submitted by Bob Rourke | Transcribed by Nanette Edwards


Photograph of Yosuke submitted by Bob Rourke.

Jason Caradine

Jason Caradine was born on January 6, 1966, and passed away on June 20, 2012. He was a native of California and lived in San Diego. He loved spending time with his family, especially his nieces, whom he adored. He attended Gallaudet University and returned to California after Gallaudet.

Jason was fiercely proud to be gay, and loved the gay community in California. He is missed in the gay and straight communities.

Submitted by Ricky Taylor

Gregory Alan Clark

1978 Gallaudet Tower Clock yearbook. Gregory was a member of the Class of 1976.

If you have any additional information about Gregory, please submit it to Thank you!

Photograph Submitted by Bob Rourke with credit to Larry Baker

John David “Dizzo” Simmons

Sept. 17, 1976 – February 26, 2016

John contracted HIV/AIDS through unprotected sex and he died from pnuemonia & multi-organ failure. 

But he was so much more than just a statistic and a name. He always had this big, beautiful smile, and always came to school with a smile every day. He had a very sunny personality. He was the only male cheerleader on the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind cheer squad in my time, and in addition to his cheerleading skills, he was also the drummer – he was so good at keeping track of beats on the drum. 

He wasn’t a top student – he was more of a social butterfly – but he did manage to keep his grades high enough to stay on the cheer squad. He also was very good hair braider. 

After high school, he moved several times between Southern California, Atlanta, Sarasota, and Milwaukee. In fact, he was living in Milwaukee when he became seriously ill shortly before his death, and he decided to move back to Sarasota to be with his family so they could spent time together.

Source: Kerri Jansson | Submitted by Ricky Taylor

Gerry Garrison

1979 Georgia School for the Deaf yearbook photo of Gerry.

If you have any additional information about Gerry, please submit it to Thank you!

Photograph Submitted by Bob Rourke

Earl Dykes

Earl Dykes at CMRA’s 15th Anniversary Cruise in 1992. Photograph by Bob Rourke

(Submitted by Bob Rourke)

Dale Ice

1979 Georgia School for the Deaf yearbook photo of Dale.

If you have any additional information about Dale, please submit it to Thank you!

Photograph submitted by Bob Rourke

Michael Jovan Ryg

Deaf AIDS Victim Needs Help


I am a deaf man. A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with AIDS. At that time, I was a big, healthy 230 pounds – energetic, and working hard to support myself. I was determined to maintain my health and keep a positive attitude. Suddenly, about three months ago, the AIDS virus attacked my immune system. Since then, I have been in and out of the hospital many times. I weigh about 150 pounds now, and am “tied” to an IV machine that dispenses medicine twice a day. When I am not in the hospital, I have to stay home all day and depend on my friends and family to take care of me.

This disease is, of course, very painful and has left me weak and dependent. The feeling of being a burden on my friends and loved ones is almost as painful as the disease. Every detail of my life has become an expensive chore, from taking a taxi to the clinic when I am too weak to take the bus; to buying protein drinks to keep my weight up to paying for an interpreter for doctor’s appointments or AIDS support group meeting. My SSI check goes so fast! Even paying my PG&E bills (it is getting harder and harder to keep warm) is difficult. The one bright spot is that I am lucky enough to have my experimental medicine paid for by MediCal. When the drug is finally approved by the government, MediCal will probably not pay for it and I will have to buy the expensive drug myself.

I am not telling your readers all of this so they will feel sorry for me. As a deaf man, I am well-acquainted with pity, and I sure don’t need that. The simple truth is that I am very much in need of financial help.

It is not easy to ask for donations. But my deaf community has always been part of my support system, and I feel they will understand and respond to my need. Whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated.

I thank you, in advance, for your help.

Sincerely, Jovan Ryg

Make checks payable to Jovan Ryg. Send to 584 Castro Street, Suite 102, San Francisco, CA 94114

Source: DCARA News via Darol Nance | Submitted by Meredith Peruzzi | Transcribed by Nanette Edwards


Allen “Al” Williams

ALLEN WILLIAMS was born September 13, 1955


Allen graduated from the Talladasa School for the Deaf in Alabama and attended classes at Ohlone College in Fremont.

Allen was a native of Mobile, Alabama and came to San Francisco around 1978.

Allen departed this life on March 20, 1995. He leaves to cherish his memory: his mother Mrs Evelyn Williams Eaton of Mobile, Alabama; eight brothers, Shedd Graggs, Los Angeles, CA, Rev. McHery ( Lucy ) Williams, James ( Conquelo ) Williams, San DIego, CA, Herbert ( Arcola ) Williams, Thomasville, Alabama, McKensley Williams, Seattle, Washington, Boyza Williams, Curtis ( Natasha ) Williams and TImothy Williams; two sisters, Deborah ( Bobby ) Perine, Dianne Williams, Mobile, Alabama; cousins, Mrs Nora ( Booker T ) Cunningham, Chicago, IL and Bertha Anderson of Oakland, CA: uncles, eleven nieces, eleven nephews; three great nieces; a host of cousins; five God children; many devoted relatives; numerous friends and a very special friend, Jerry Lindsburg. 

Source: Darol Nance | Submitted by Meredith Peruzzi | Transcribed by Nanette Edwards

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