Robert Nathan Fain

May 23 1987

Age 44, Houston, NYC, AIDS

Below, descriptions from various sources

   

Robert Nathan Fain (December 24, 1942 - May 23, 1987) was a writer and an AIDS education advocate who died of AIDS in Harris County, Texas. He was entertainment editor at the Shreveport Times in the late 1960s. He was also one of the founders of the @GMHC and author of many articles on AIDS in the early 1980s. . Larry Mass, who was a co-founder of @gmhc wrote:- . "Nathan was the first person I knew of to die of cancer of the kidney, in association with HIV. But more tragic were the circumstances under which he died. Nathan came from Nacogdoches, Texas, where his family owned the regional press. They were wealthy, well-connected, conservative Christians and virulently homophobic. When they discovered that Nathan had AIDS, they abandoned him and left him to die alone in a small-town Texas hospital bed"

Member of a noted publishing family in East Texas. Noted writer and early AIDS education advocate. Among numerous accomplishments was entertainment editor at the Shreveport Times in the late 1960s between Welton Jones and Jim Montgomery. One of the founders of the GMHC, formerly Gay Men's Health Crisis. Author of numerous articles on the health crisis affecting gay men in the early 1980s, finally a victim of the condition he helped foster understanding of in the general population. He appears on Panel 2, Block 00815 of the AIDS quilt.

Robert Nathan Fain, was scion of an East Texas publishing clan that controlled the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel. He was a member of a powerful and prominent publishing family in East Texas. His father was Victor B. Fain, who headed the Texas Press Association 1961-1962 and was involved with Lone Star State publishing more than 60 years.

The younger Fain, who professionally used his middle name, penned the column Intermission, which like Jones and other following editors can be reviewed on local library microfilms. After less than two years at The Times, Fain left to pursue a brief career as an independent journalist before moving to New York City where he entered the national scene in a big way, becoming the health writer for The Advocate, perhaps the nation’s premiere gay publication. He was in on the ground floor of covering what then was the breaking news of a mysterious malady affecting (then) mostly gay men, and today is known as AIDS. He was one of the six founders of the action group the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Sadly, Fain also was one of the first victims in the initial wave of deaths that afflicted the gay community in the 1980s. He returned to his native Texas to be close to his family in extremis and it was in Houston where he died May 23, 1987, age 44. He was one of the first names to be added to the national AIDS Quilt, on Panel 2, Block 00815.