In Memory

William Fitzpatrick

William FitzpatrickWilliam G. Fitzpatrick died on May 9, 1992 in Seattle, Washington.

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03/18/09 09:08 AM #4    

Joseph Hornbaker

Bill was my best friend from 7th grade through college. I don't think I could have survived adolescence without him.

Most people don't know that Bill lived away from home the last six months of our senior year. In December 1978, Bill came out as a gay man to his parents. They told him to leave their home. I was there that night, waiting for him in my car, and drove him to a motel afterward, where he stayed for a few weeks. He lived with another friend until he started college.

Bill later reconciled with his mother, and they became close again. Bill died in his mother's arms in Seattle in 1992, from complications from AIDS.

When I struggled with my own coming-out in 1980, Bill was there for me, as I had been for him. When he graduated from UC, he moved to Seattle and became a founding member of the Seattle Men's Chorus. We lost touch, and I didn't find out that Bill had passed away until a year after he died. I was able, through the generosity of the Seattle Men's Chorus, to re-connect with Bill's mother, Sarah. She was very proud of him. I was very proud of him. And I miss him.

03/21/09 10:42 AM #5    

Lee Johnson

Joe, thank you for sharing. I guess growing up several of us, myself included, made fun of you and Bill because of our perception of the gay lifestyle. For that I must apologize. As I have grown older, and hopefully matured a little bit, I have learned "different" is not bad, it's just "different" and that's what makes the world go round.
I'm sorry for your loss of a dear friend, and of our classes loss of a truly good man who tried his best to make a positive impact on all of us.

03/24/09 04:52 PM #6    

Heidi Rahnfeld (Woods)

The backyard of my house edged the Fitzpatrick property. I was never close to Bill because we did not hang out with the same group of friends, but I always had a deep respect for his intelligence and perseverance because I knew things were not easy for him.

03/26/09 06:41 PM #7    

Joan Fleming (Mountel)

Thanks for sharing Bill's story with us Joe. I'm glad you had each other to lean on. I lived in the same neighborhood as Bill and rode the bus to school with him. I remember feeling bad for him when people made fun of him. I empathized with him being the outsider, because I often felt like one too. I had no idea things were so rough for him at home. Thank goodness most of us have grown up and have a different perspective now. Adolescence hasn't changed much. I teach art in a middle school. We still have to work on teaching tolerance and acceptance everyday in my school environment. We miss you Bill!

03/31/09 05:12 PM #8    

Heidi Rahnfeld (Woods)

I receieved an email from Bill's sister, Sarah that she asked to have posted:

"I just read all of your kind words about Bill and thank you for remembering and sharing the good things. Bill was a very passionate person and lived every day of his life to the fullest. My memories of Bill in school include most of you, especially Joe and those fantastic plays and musicals. Our family misses Bill dearly. I would like to add that Bill and both of my parents became very close several years before Bill passed away and ended up with a great relationship." Sarah Fitzpatrick Stout

04/12/09 06:29 PM #9    

Derek Ray

I too echo Lee's comments. Bill was a great class mate.

05/01/09 07:36 AM #10    

Cindy Davis (Eldred)

I have so many fun memories with Bill especially in Mixed Chorus with Mr. Wesp, and all the musicals at Anderson! He was always so fun to be with and could light up the stage! I thank you, Joe, for telling us Bill's story. I had no idea what was happening in his home during high school. I'm thankful his sister sent in a note about his reconciliation with his parents. God Bless him.

05/07/09 12:10 AM #11    

Cheryl Walters (O'Neill)

My first attempt at college was at UC. One day I was walking across the bridge at UC and there was a lot commotion. There was, I guess what you would call a 'gay rally' taking place on the bridge. There was some guy on the bull horn, that looked vaguely familiar. As I approached, out of curosity of the whole event, I saw the guy on the horn was Bill. I waved and he just kind of grinned that funny grin back. I yelled "keep it down up there" and he laughed. I think that he was both shocked and relieved to see a familiar face. It was my first exposure to someone I knew standing up for their rights. I was not shocked, but proud, and wondered how much courage it took to do what he was doing. Obviously more than any of us at the age of 19 or 20. I think he was a caring friend to those who were worthy of his friendship and died being accepted for who he was by those who loved him.

06/17/09 02:26 AM #12    

Mark Menter

Bill was a good friend in High School. One of the gang that I hung around with constantly. Invited over for birthdays, and the like. I'll never forget one birthday, we were playing a very friendly game of touch football in the back yard with my Dad as the two way quarterback. Bill did not catch a single pass - even a 10 foot lob when no one was guarding him. We had a good laugh about that, and "One, two, three - turn around." became kind of a standing joke between us.

The gang spent hours together. During Chorus (he had a nice voice) between classes - during play rehersals and hundreds of lunches. And there was never a cross word spoken in all those years - something I've really learned to appreciate in retrospect.

Bill always had the appropriate demeanor for the situation. Smiling in the good times, serious - but cheerful - when there was work to be done. He was one of those people who made things easier just by virtue of being there.

Specific memories have faded over the years, but I do remember the last time that I saw Bill. I was driving somewhere near downtown Cincinnati a couple of years after high school. I heard someone honking at me. I looked around to see Bill smiling that charactaristic smile, and waving maddly at me through the windshield of a truck. We were headed in different directions, so stopping and catching up was impossible.

Shortly after senior year, I learned of the trials that Bill had that year, and I wondered how he was doing. When I saw him on the road, even though it was briefly through a windshield, that smile and wave seemed to say it all.

He was doing just fine.

I was very sorry to hear that he had passed. I would have loved to have that opportunity once again. And maybe, this time - at the very least - stop on the roadway, and catch up.

07/04/09 08:59 AM #13    

Denise. Ratliff (Evans)

always friendly, always nice. Very, very talented.

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