Phil and I dated for almost a year in 1989 after working together in ACTUP and on other various Gay/Lesbian interests. Although our relationship was often tumultuous, I remember him fondly and always admired his tenacity and honesty. Few black politicians, entertainers, or public figures were (or still are) openly gay (and openly HIV+). Reed dedicated his life to public service and he shall be sorely missed.
Reed was most happy when at his family summer home on Martha’s Vineyard where he and his twin sister spent many happy summers as children with their mom, who was of German descent. I recall him proudly showing me around the island in August of 1989. In the afternoon setting sun at Gay Head, we walked through a narrow pathway towards the water where his family had beach access- also which was adjacent to Lillian Hellman’s property. He told me about the time he had seen her there just staring out at the sunset as we were. I don’t think I have ever seen him living in the moment and full of life as I did that afternoon- except perhaps at various political rallies. Coincidentally, Reed was in Berlin the week the wall came down and that was also thrilling for him.
In 2000, we shared an oncologist which I told Phil officially made us alter kakers. Reed struggled with multiple myeloma to which he ultimately succumbed (and complications of pneumonia). I am glad he lived long enough to see Barack Obama win the Presidency. There will be a memorial for Phil Reed at the Riverside Church, Thursday December 4th from 6-8PM. More details below:
The family and friends of Philip H. Reed invite you to attend a memorial service celebrating Philip’s contributions to his community, his city and his country. Please join us at the Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive between W. 120th and W. 122nd Streets, on Thursday, December 4, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Philip’s family has requested that anyone wanting to honor Philip’s memory should make a contribution in his name to any of the following organizations:
The Callen-Lorde Health Center
356 W 18th St
New York, NY 10011
The Metropolitan Community Church of New York
446 W 36th St
New York, NY 10018
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
383 Main Ave 5th Floor
Norwalk CT 06851