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Obituaries: Damien Grey

by BAR staff

Damien Grey
Damien Grey  

December 5, 1961 - April 21, 2018

Damien Grey died peacefully April 21, 2018 at Maitri hospice in San Francisco, after a long struggle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 56.

Born in Montana, raised in Oregon, Damien moved to New York City in 1982 and studied briefly at the Cooper Union, but his rich knowledge of art, literature, poetry, and classical music was largely self-taught. He came to San Francisco in 1987, became an early advocate for medical marijuana, and co-founded the Temple Whores, a band that played on Castro sidewalks during the darkest years of AIDS.

He is best known as a poet and impresario, who threw legendary literary salons where he would read absurdist verse in signature resonant baritone, and present macabre puppet shows as the Puppet Fister.

A wanderer on the road less traveled, he was an intrepid adventurer. Once he fell ill, his herculean endurance became a model to all - he outlived life expectancy by a decade. Even at his darkest hour, he remained gracious, witty, and charming. But his greatest gift was his loving heart, a refuge of compassion to so many friends. His favorite trope was, 'We're here to lift each other up, not put each other down.' Hear, hear! He is sorely missed.

There will be a memorial as part of the Urban Beltane Celebration Tuesday, May 1, at 1 p.m. at 1433 Haight Street in San Francisco.Click here for details

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