Yesterday I had been up for a few hours, when I heard some sad news. Stu Smith had passed away from cancer on Monday night. I decided to wait until today to write about him, hoping I would have information on memorial plans, but I simply had to write about Stu. Although I have never written about him before, he was the kind of person this blog is all about. He was a giver! His heart was bigger than San Francisco. His smile lit up every room. His soul will be with us forever.
He was known for his love of community and his love of hamburgers (on yelp he was called "Burger Guru"). Stu was involved in so much for the community here in San Francisco. His life of volunteering included time with Saint Anthony's, Tin Pan Alley, the Positive Resource Center, San Francisco Firefighters Toy Drive Program, the San Francisco Publicity Club, the Castro Country Club, and Applied Aquatics Institute. He was currently serving as president of the Board of Shanti. He also wrote a column for the Bay Times. Oh yes and he had a couple of cable television programs.
Stu Smith had been HIV-positive for 25 years and had suffered heart attacks, had bone disease and osteoarthritis, but none of this really slowed him down. He kept giving and giving and giving. Even his advancing years didn't stop him. He was well like all around town and seemed to always be willing to lend a hand.
How wonderful that this man was recognized too. For his volunteer work at Shanti, he was awarded The James C. Hormel Community Spirit Award a few years back. He also received The Mugsy Mareclino Award for his advocacy for accessible transportation services for the disabled. Last year, Stu was awarded the KQED Local Hero Award for leadership and advocacy within The LGBT Community. Talk about making a difference in this world - that's what Stu was all about!
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adjourned its meeting yesterday in Stu's memory. Last night candles, pictures, and flowers sprung up at a spontaneous memorial at 18th Street and Castro in San Francisco, but that is just the beginning of the tributes. His husband William David Earl says more formal arrangements are being planned. Rest in peace Stu and thanks for all you did!