Obituaries: Jack Lasner

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday January 3, 2024
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Jack Lasner
Jack Lasner

December 20, 1927 — December 16, 2023

Jack Lasner, who become an unlikely celebrity in his 90s when he was profiled in "Conversations with Gay Elders," a 2017 documentary featuring several older gay men and their reminiscences about how gay culture changed during their long lifetimes, died in San Francisco on December 16, 2023. He was 95, although he often claimed to be younger.

He passed away in his sleep in his Castro district home three days shy of his 96th birthday, according to his longtime friend and caregiver, Peter Golbetz.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on December 20, 1927, Jack witnessed some of the world's greatest highs and lows. A World War II veteran, he participated in the liberation of Nazi death camps, as a German-English translator for the U.S. Army. And as an accomplished mountain climber, he ascended many of the world's highest peaks on four continents.

After moving to San Francisco in the 1970s, Jack worked for many years for the San Francisco Unified School District, teaching chemistry at Lowell High School.

He was an accomplished athlete, and continued to work out daily at the Castro Fitness SF gym until the COVID pandemic. He remained in extraordinary physical condition until his 90s, and at the gym he was often seen bopping along in an exercise class with gymgoers young enough to be his great-grandchildren. Jack was frequently recognized on the street and was well-known in the Castro for his sex-positive libidinous attitude, complaining in the documentary's most quoted line that the closure of the notoriously sexually active steam room at Fitness SF was "the worst thing ever."

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