It's not often that a Denverite who most locals wouldn't recognize is the subject of a feature obituary in the New York Times. But that was the case for Rodger McFarlane, 54, who died last Friday in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
McFarlane, who committed suicide (he suffered from a variety of painful and debilitating health issues), served as executive director of the Denver-based Gill Foundation from 2004 to 2008. But prior to that, he was among the most effective figures in the fight against AIDS, serving as the director of Gay Men's Health Crisis during the early '80s (read the organization's heartfelt tribute here), executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and president of Bailey House, which helped homeless people with AIDS find housing.
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I only had the opportunity to speak with McFarlane once, in an off-the-record conversation a few years back, and he came across as extremely intelligent, witty and passionate -- qualities that are in short supply these days. He may not have been a celebrity in Denver, but the city was better for the time he spent here.