I was informed by a friend tonight that a former co-worker had died. I had lost touch, as had my friend, and he discovered the information a few weeks after the fact. What was a weird bit of synchronicity was that I had thought of this person today. I was watching a couple episodes of Newsradio, and I was thinking about how I still miss Phil Hartman…and I remember the day I was at work with the co-worker and my friend (who was also a co-worker) and we heard the news of Hartman’s death. We were all bummed out because it was all so senseless and tragic. When my friend saw the story story about the death of our fellow co-worker, he thought of this moment.
Our friend and co-worker, Bill Clarke, was one of the nicest guys to work with. He always took the time to comfort people when support was needed. He always stepped up to the plate to help people out. He was kind, funny and full of joy. He is definitely one of the people I can credit for challenging my views of gay men, and chipping away at my firmly held notions of what it meant to be gay.
His genuine love for people was unmistakable. In 2004, it turns out he channeled that into nursing-and when the bridge collapse happened a couple years back, he hopped on a bike and went to help the injured. I didn’t know that until I read his obituary. But that he showed that kind of courage and compassion does not surprise me at all.
He died suddenly in February. I hadn’t spoke to him in about eight or nine years. I wish that wasn’t true. He was a good person to know. He had many qualities I wish I had. I’m glad I had a chance to know him though. And my heart goes out to his loved ones.