Victor A. Rodriguez

  • Wednesday May 25, 2016
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Victor A. Rodriguez

May 21, 1932 �" May 15, 2016

We say farewell to a special and dear friend, Victor A. Rodriguez, also known as Rod and Roxie. He was a fun-loving humanitarian and great cook, who loved the theater, opera, ballet, and symphony. It was an honor to know him.

Victor was born in Manhattan May 21, 1932, and left this earth for Paradise May 15, 2016.

During his young working life he was employed as a fabric and clothing buyer for various department stores, who sent him throughout the world to represent them as Mr. Victor.

Rod was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War era and was employed during the mid-1980s and 1990s serving cocktails at the famous landmark Castro bar in San Francisco called Elephant Walk.

During those years, when AIDS was taking the lives of so many gay men in the city, Rod and his longtime partner, Tom Ritzenthaler, decided to take action against the deadly disease. Rather than using their savings to travel, the two men gave monthly parties and invited people with AIDS and friends to attend.

The parties were first held in their apartment at 18th and Dolores streets and later at the homes of friends who had gardens. As hosts, Rod and Tom cooked nutritious monthly meals of turkey, ham, chili, and all the trimmings. At the parties money was also collected to be distributed to the AIDS Emergency Fund. At a time when people with Kaposi's sarcoma lesions were deemed unwelcome in some of the bars and restaurants of the Castro, Rod and Tom's home was open to welcome everyone.

Volunteering was a natural for Rod, and as a librarian at the Mission Dolores Elementary School he was able to interact with the children. Two large binders Rod has filled with letters from the kids attest to their fascination with this older man who brought them so much fun and laughter, along with a love of literature. The New Conservatory Theater in San Francisco was also a place where Rod was to demonstrate his love of theater as a volunteer.

Rod will be missed by his caregiver and longtime friend, Michael Marinaro and his husband, Chris Naughton; by his extended family Rita Rockett and her two sons, Nikolao Samuelu and Michael Molina; Rita's sister, Tina Mattucci, and by many others in all walks of life, including Carla Soussa of Bronxville, New York, and John Rocos and his wife, Mary Richards-Rocos, of the Palm Springs area. We thank the San Rafael Health and Wellness Center for assisting Rod during the last three years of his life, as well as Continuum Hospice Care.

Rod's ashes will become one with the Pacific Ocean soon, but his spirit and the spirit of his beloved partner, Tom, will live on in the hearts and minds of their friends and loved ones for many years to come. If anyone is so moved, we suggest a donation in their name to the AIDS Emergency Fund in San Francisco.