Died. John Paul Barnich, 63, Texas’ first openly gay city court judge, died February 2 from diabetes-related complications. Appointed to the court by Mayor Lee Brown in 1999, Barnich served on the bench until October 2007 when he resigned due to failing health, according to the Houston Chronicle. Founder of the Bar Association for Human Rights and frequent defender of gay rights and HIV-related cases, Barnich was also on the board, for four years as its chairman, of the AIDS Foundation Houston. (See also “In the Beginning,” March 2009 OutSmart.)
Died. Martin Delaney, founder of Project Inform in San Francisco, an HIV advocacy/education organization, died January 23 at his home in San Rafael, California. Best known for his leadership in the fight against HIV and AIDS, Delaney educated and counseled tens of thousands of HIV-positive individuals and their caregivers about how to treat HIV.
Died. Randall E. “Randy” Rash died in Saint Luke’s Episcopal Hospital on January 2 following a brief illness.
Died. Marie Mariano, registered nurse, veteran, and friend to many, died Christmas Eve. Marie was born in Idaho in 1921 and began her professional life working on the railroad before finding her ultimate career in nursing.
Del Martin, a respected founder of the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and feminist movements, died on Wednesday, August 27, at UCSF Hospice, San Francisco, California.
Died: LISA ANN TROIANO, 49, died unexpectedly on July 30, 2008. Lisa will be remembered for her radiant smile, her love of children and animals, and her adventurous spirit. A gifted entrepreneur, she had recently opened Home Sweet Home Etc in Old Town Spring. She is survived by her partner, Kristi Brown of Spring; her parents, Richard and Judith Troiano of The Woodlands; brothers, Mike Troiano of Houston; Rich Troiano of Canfield, Ohio; and Jeff Troiano of Penngrove, California; sister, Marianne Troiano of San Antonio; nieces, Brandie Troiano of Canfield; Dolores Ann Troiano of Penngrove; and countless bereaved friends. Interment was August 2 at Forest Park The Woodlands. Please also visit www.mem.com to view Lisa’s guest book and photo gallery. A celebration of life in Lisa’s honor is scheduled Oct. 4 at Jimmie’s Ice House, 2803 White Oak Drive.
DIED Clara Charlotte Koepsel, born August 26, 1931, to George and Viola Lewis in Santa Fe, New Mexico, passed away peacefully on June 24, 2008, in Katy, Texas. A Houston resident for nearly 30 years, Clair, as friends called her, was a highly visible and active presence in Houston’s gay community, specifically due to her association with AIDS Foundation Houston, Hollyfield Foundation, and numerous other organizations. She leaves a legacy of countless friends though her volunteerism. Clair is survived by daughters Monika Menczer and Michelle Luna, and by four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A rosary and memorial service was held June 30 in the Chapel of Heights Funeral Home. A celebration of life honoring her memory was later held at the Heights-area home of Neil Sackheim.
Died James Grant Beam, 46, on May 4, after a brief bout with cancer. Beam was a psychology teacher at St. Pius X High School in Houston. He had previously worked for 23 years in the Fort Bend Independent School District as a world history and government teacher. He was well known for his contributions as a student council and cheerleading sponsor. Beam is survived by his life partner; parents, James and Donna Beam; sister, Claudia Gampher and her husband Donald; sister, Amy Urbina and husband Luis; brother, Michael Beam; and nieces Amanda McCulley, Alexis Pentecost, and Rainea and Hannah Urbina. A funeral mass was held on May 8 at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart.
Legendary business and philanthropic leader I. W. Marks passed away at the age of 73 on February 27.