Friday, July 10, 2009

[In Memoriam]: Joe Holt is gone

[Updated: Please see bottom of this post for a reaction from Joe's nephew and info on donations]

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Jack Random sent out the following remembrance July 9th 2009 on the Bay Area Bisexual Network (BABN) chat list after receiving word that longtime San Francisco bisexual activist and a webmaster for BABN Joe Holt had passed away. Joe had suffered from multiple myeloma.
Hi all,

I just got a call from Jon Spinner who got the call from Indiana that Joe Holt died today at the hospital in Terre Haute at about 10:30 am PST. He had just finished a dialysis treatment and died peacefully in his sleep with little or no pain.

Last Sunday Jon and I helped (or at least stood around helpfully) as his father and a couple of other family members loaded Joe on a medical transportation van to get him to SFO for the flight to Indiana where he was born. After consulting with his doctors and his family Joe decided that was where he wanted to be for this last week of his life so that he could see his brother, other family members and several old friends.

For those of you on the list [ed. note BABN Chat list] who may not have met Joe he was the person who set this list up years ago, hosted it from the server at his house and moved it to when he became too tired to admin it directly. He was also the mainstay of the bi community who made sure that we had a booth at Pride and Folsom for the last 7 or 8 years and was one of the first people to organize a bisexual contingent in the Pride Parade over a decade ago. I cannot begin to list all the myriad little things that Joe has done for our community and community members over the years. Just say that whenever we needed him he was always there for us and I don't think that it's too much of a stretch to say that the bisexual community as it exists in the bay area would not be nearly what it is today if hadn't been for his efforts.

Jon and I are discussing a memorial for Joe and if anybody has any suggestions or wants to be involved you should let one of us know or just post to this list. I'm sure we will be pulling that together in the next couple of weeks. Joe donated the graphical materials from his occasionally terrifyingly graphic website to the Center for Sex and Culture just before he got too weak to think clearly and I'll probably be using those to put together some kind of slide show for the memorial. If anyone else has any memorabilia of Joe, especially pictures of him wearing clothes or reminiscences that I could record please contact me.

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Here is an edited response sent to the Bay Area Bisexual Network from Joe's nephew:

Hello BABN. My name is Eric..., and I am Joe's nephew from back in Indiana. I joined the list tonight so I could say thanks for all the kind comments posted about Joe over the past few days. Before his passing, I did not know he was part of this group -- but after reading the list archives and other things on the web about BABN, I am really proud of the work he did for your community over the years.

While looking through the list archives, I saw a post from Joe just after the election where he actually mentioned me on the list. He said, quote: "My queer nephew is over the moon that he finally lives in a blue state. There was big partying in Indianapolis last night.". I got a huge kick out of that, and I laughed loud enough to bring my significant other in here from the other room to ask what I was laughing about. :) Even after his passing, he can still make us laugh and smile!

Joe was a great son, brother and uncle -- and I can clearly see he was also a great friend and peer. He had the greatest sense of humour and it seemed like when he was home visiting he was always cracking a joke and making his family smile and laugh. He is certainly already missed, by not only our family -- but by his "family" in San Francisco as well.

In regards to donations, ... he was a huge proponent of the EFF and the ACLU, so I am sure either of those groups would meet his approval. At his service here in Terre Haute, information was posted regarding donations to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. The address given was: 383 Main Ave. 5th Floor, Norwolk, CT 06851. They also have a website which accepts donations, located at:

Again, thanks for the kind words about Joe, and I hope everyone out there that knew him can find the time to celebrate his life. Drink some wine, eat some cheese, tell some funny stories, and laugh -- I have a feeling he would probably approve.