Saturday, February 27, 2010

Memorial service today in San Francisco for Ben Gardiner, a pioneer in the gay rights movement

A memorial service will be held today for Ben Gardiner, a gay rights activist, actor, computer enthusiast and longtime fixture in San Francisco's Castro district.

San Franciso Chronicle reports:
Mr. Gardiner, who died last month of heart failure at the age of 88, was a key player in gay rights and HIV/AIDS issues, friends and family members said. He founded the first computerized AIDS bulletin board system in the nation, served as president of the now-defunct Stonewall Democratic Club, and worked on political campaigns, including those for former Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Mr. Gardiner was best known around the Castro for his trademark J.C. Penney coveralls and long, white hair and beard. He lived on Noe Street in the Duboce Triangle for nearly four decades and was a fixture on the tree-lined street, where he collapsed and died Jan. 23.

"Harvey (Milk) may have been the mayor of the Castro, but Ben was the unofficial mayor of Noe Street," said his longtime friend Edd Dundas. READ MORE
Today's memorial service will be from 1 to 4 p.m. at the California Pacific Medical Center Davies Hospital Auditorium at Duboce Avenue and Castro Street. The family suggests contributions to the Alano Club of San Francisco, 1748 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102, or the GLBT Historical Society, 499 Castro St., San Francisco, CA 94114.