Obituary: Frank Zampatori, 68
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Obituary

Obituary: Frank Zampatori, 68

Democratic and LGBT rights activist passed away at Capitol Hill East home earlier this month

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Frank Zampatori, obituary, gay news, Washington Blade
Frank Zampatori, obituary, gay news, Washington Blade

Frank Zampatori

Frank J. Zampatori Jr., a longtime D.C. resident and Democratic Party activist who became involved in gay rights causes in the 1970s, died April 15 at his Capitol Hill East home. He was 68.

Friends and family members said he died of natural causes believed to be linked to heart disease.

D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) said she and Zampatori became friends in 1978 when the two worked on then-Council member Marion Barry’s first campaign for mayor. It was a time when Barry became one of the first of the city’s big politicians to aggressively court the gay community for support.

Zampatori a short time later became a member of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, a local gay advocacy group, and worked on LGBT rights causes over the next 35 years. Bonds said he became a member of the D.C. Democratic State Committee in the 1980s and remained active in local Democratic Party affairs until the time of his death.

At the recommendation of LGBT activists, Barry appointed Zampatori in the 1980s to the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, making him the first openly gay person to serve on the alcohol regulatory body.

Antonette Russell, a friend and neighbor of Zampatori’s, said Zampatori also played a key role as a Capitol Hill East civic activist. In recent years, according to Russell, Zampatori closely monitored city plans for developing a tract of land where the former D.C. General Hospital was located to make sure development wouldn’t have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood where Zampatori lived.

“He monitored that closely,” she said, in a way that benefited the neighborhood.

Friends said Zampatori worked most of his career as an official with the U.S. Appalachian Regional Commission, a joint federal-state agency that coordinated economic development programs for the nation’s Appalachian region.

“He was a very active, very committed community person,” said Ron Collins, a retired D.C. government official and friend of Zampatori’s.

“He was on the front lines of the LGBT struggle when it wasn’t easy to be there,” Collins said. “We owe him a large debt of gratitude.”

A memorial service for Zampatori was scheduled to take place 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Pope Funeral Home at 2617 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E. After the memorial service friends and family members planned to “celebrate Frank’s life and share how he made such an enormous impact on the community” at Trattoria Alberto restaurant at 506 8th St., S.E., around 8:30 p.m., according to Russell.

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Obituary

Longtime LGBTQ activist, DC schools official Clark Ray dies

Arkansas native passed away at home on Saturday

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Clark Ray, gay news, gay politics dc
Clark Ray (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Clark Ray, a longtime LGBTQ rights advocate who worked for four D.C. mayors and most recently served as executive director of the District of Columbia State Athletics Association, died at his home on Saturday of unknown causes.

His friend, Peter Rosenstein, said Ray’s husband, Abrey Dubra, told him Ray passed away in his sleep and the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office, under standard procedures for unexplained deaths, was conducting an autopsy. The Washington Blade couldn’t immediately reach Dubra.

News of Ray’s passing, which first surfaced in Facebook postings on Saturday, drew dozens of messages of sympathy from friends and political associates who have known Ray through his more than 20 years of political and local government involvement in D.C.

Former Mayor Vincent Gray appointed Ray in 2012 as executive director for the then newly created District of Columbia State Athletics Association, an arm of the D.C. public school system that jointly works with D.C. charter schools and private parochial schools to coordinate school athletics programs, including high school sports competition in soccer, football, cross country track and other team sports.

In a statement released on Saturday, Mayor Muriel Bowser praised Clark for taking “extraordinary measures” during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the city’s student athletes and help the school athletics programs return to a safe place.

“We are heartbroken over the passing of Clark Ray,” Bowser said in her statement. “Clark was a loving father, husband, and friend who impacted so many lives and will be missed greatly,” the mayor said.

“For more than two decades, he served in a number of roles advancing recreation and athletics to build a sense of community,” the mayor’s statement says. “Serving four mayors, Clark’s legacy will include his tireless work to establish the D.C. State Athletic Association as well as the DCSAA Hall of Fame.”

Rosenstein said Ray and Aubrey had four adopted sons between the ages of nine and 21. The couple and their family lived in the 16th Street Heights neighborhood in Northwest D.C. Funeral arrangements were expected to be announced late Sunday or early Monday, according to Rosenstein.

Ray’s LinkedIn page shows his earlier work includes service from 2007-2009 as director of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and from 2006-2008 as senior director of strategy for the Greater Washington Sports Alliance. He served as director of external affairs for the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission from 2000-2004.

A native of Arkansas, Ray worked in the administration of President Bill Clinton as director of strategic scheduling and advance for Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore, in the Office of the Vice President, from 1997-1999.

The Blade will publish a full obituary on Clark later this week.

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Obituary

Kay Lahusen, LGBTQ equality rights pioneer has died at 91

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Kay Lahusen, gay news, Washington Blade
Barbara Gittings and Kay Lahusen at the 25th anniversary of Stonewall. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Kay Lahusen, 91, died in gentle hospice care at Chester County Hospital on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, after a brief illness. She was born in Cincinnati in January 1930 and as an infant was adopted and raised by her grandparents. After graduating from Ohio State University, she moved to Boston, where she met her lifelong partner Barbara Gittings at a Daughters of Bilitis picnic in 1961.

Kay and Barbara lived variously in New York, Philadelphia and Wilmington DE. They were gay activists from the early days of the Gay Rights movement in the US, marching openly in picket lines in Washington DC and Philadelphia in the early 1960s. Kay became known as the first openly gay photojournalist. Her photos documenting these and many later activities were printed in various gay publications including Gay (a national weekly) and The Ladder. Her photos are archived in the New York Public Library, which drew upon them for the 2019 book, Love and Resistance; out of the closet into the Stonewall era.

Kay researched and wrote the book Gay Crusaders (1972), which was published under her pseudonym Kay Tobin and with the addition of a male “co-author” (her friend, Randy Wicker) to help with its public acceptance.  The original research materials for that book are also archived at the New York Public Library.

Kay and Barbara remained activists throughout their lives. Shortly before Barbara’s death in 2007, they moved to Kendal at Longwood, Kennett Square PA. After Barbara’s death Kay continued to contribute to Gay history, giving many interviews, especially about their work with the American Psychiatric Association and the American Library Association. She collaborated in 2015 with Tracy Baim to produce Barbara Gittings, gay pioneer, a biography of Barbara which used many of Kay’s photos. She decorated her room at Kendal with dozens of photographs, and she would talk about her experiences as a gay activist at the drop of a hat, even regaling the nurses at Chester County Hospital with her story days before her death.

Kay is survived by Trusted Friends: Judith Armstrong of Hockessin DE, John Cunningham of Philadelphia, Ada Bello of Philadelphia, and James Oakes of Secane PA, and by the many, many friends, acquaintances, and admirers — too numerous to name here — who made up her chosen family.

Kay’s remains will rest in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington DC, along with her partner’s in a bench designed to express their love for each other and their dedication to showing that Gay is Good.  Due to COVID-19, a public memorial will be postponed.  In lieu of flowers, Kay would welcome your contributions to William Way LGBT Community Center,  1315 Spruce St, Philadelphia PA 19107  or to Kennett Area Community Service, P.O.Box 1025, Kennett Square PA 19348 for their local food cupboard.

Condolences may be left at foundsfuneralhome.com.

In December of 2019, the Philadelphia Gay News ran a profile on the 90th birthday celebration of Lahusen. She was asked, So visibility is one of the hallmarks of your life? 

In answer she noted; “Oh, absolutely. I enjoyed working on “The Ladder.” I tried to put wonderful women on the covers. That was very important, because before then we only had drawings on covers. We went against the American Psychiatric Association and succeeded in removing homosexuality from the mental illness allegation. I wasn’t at Stonewall, but I certainly admired it. I had a lot to say about it and write about it. I’ve had a terrific life. I think gay couples, getting back to that question, should get involved, and give it all they’ve got. It’s so much fun. Don’t you agree?”

You can read the entire interview here: https://epgn.com/2019/12/27/activist-kay-lahusen-celebrates-90th-birthday/

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Obituary

Kay Lahusen, LGBTQ equality rights pioneer has died at 91

Kay was the first out LGBTQ photo journalist, an author and partner of her beloved Barbara Gittings. They were pioneers in LGBTQ activism

Published

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Kay and Barbara at 25th anniversary of Stonewall (Photograph by Karen Ocamb)

By Mark Segal | PHILADELPHIA, PA – Kay Lahusen, 91, died in gentle hospice care at Chester County Hospital on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, after a brief illness.  She was born in Cincinnati in January 1930 and as an infant was adopted and raised by her grandparents.  After graduating from Ohio State University, she moved to Boston, where she met her lifelong partner Barbara Gittings at a Daughters of Bilitis picnic in 1961.  

Kay and Barbara lived variously in New York, Philadelphia and Wilmington DE. They were gay activists from the early days of the Gay Rights movement in the US, marching openly in picket lines in Washington DC and Philadelphia in the early 1960s.  Kay became known as the first openly gay photojournalist. Her photos documenting these and many later activities were printed in various gay publications including Gay (a national weekly) and The Ladder.  Her photos are archived in the New York Public Library, which drew upon them for the 2019 book, Love and Resistance; out of the closet into the Stonewall era.

Kay researched and wrote the book Gay Crusaders (1972), which was published under her pseudonym Kay Tobin and with the addition of a male “co-author” (her friend, Randy Wicker) to help with its public acceptance.  The original research materials for that book are also archived at the New York Public Library.

Kay and Barbara remained activists throughout their lives.  Shortly before Barbara’s death in 2007, they moved to Kendal at Longwood, Kennett Square PA.  After Barbara’s death Kay continued to contribute to Gay history, giving many interviews, especially about their work with the American Psychiatric Association and the American Library Association.  She collaborated in 2015 with Tracy Baim to produce Barbara Gittings, gay pioneer, a biography of Barbara which used many of Kay’s photos.  She decorated her room at Kendal with dozens of photographs, and she would talk about her experiences as a gay activist at the drop of a hat, even regaling the nurses at Chester County Hospital with her story days before her death.

Kay is survived by Trusted Friends: Judith Armstrong of Hockessin DE, John Cunningham of Philadelphia, Ada Bello of Philadelphia, and James Oakes of Secane PA, and by the many, many friends, acquaintances, and admirers — too numerous to name here — who made up her chosen family.

Kay’s remains will rest in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington DC, along with her partner’s in a bench designed to express their love for each other and their dedication to showing that Gay is Good.  Due to COVID-19, a public memorial will be postponed.  In lieu of flowers, Kay would welcome your contributions to William Way LGBT Community Center,  1315 Spruce St, Philadelphia PA 19107  or to Kennett Area Community Service, P.O.Box 1025, Kennett Square PA 19348 for their local food cupboard.

Condolences may be left at foundsfuneralhome.com.

In December of 2019, the Philadelphia Gay News ran a profile on the 90th birthday celebration of Lahusen. She was asked, So visibility is one of the hallmarks of your life? 

In answer she noted; “Oh, absolutely. I enjoyed working on “The Ladder.” I tried to put wonderful women on the covers. That was very important, because before then we only had drawings on covers. We went against the American Psychiatric Association and succeeded in removing homosexuality from the mental illness allegation. I wasn’t at Stonewall, but I certainly admired it. I had a lot to say about it and write about it. I’ve had a terrific life. I think gay couples, getting back to that question, should get involved, and give it all they’ve got. It’s so much fun. Don’t you agree?”

You can read the entire interview here: https://epgn.com/2019/12/27/activist-kay-lahusen-celebrates-90th-birthday/

Mark Allan Segal is an American journalist. He participated in the Stonewall riots and was one of the original founders of the Gay Liberation Front where he created its Gay Youth program. He was the founder and former president of the National Gay Newspaper Guild and the founder and publisher of Philadelphia Gay News.

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