project was inspired by a much larger one developed
by the San Francisco
GLBT Historical Society and the
Bay Area Reporter,
using obituary data from the newspaper.
We thank them for allowing us to consult with them, and for
providing guidance for our own project.
The time span chosen
focuses especially on 1982 through 2000, which reflects
the main AIDS crisis years. The data begins in 1976, and it is planned
the years covered in the future. While the majority of individuals
in the data base
have died of AIDS, we do not intend to infer that to be the case if
it is not mentioned
in a specific listing, nor is the sexual orientation implied to be
GLBT. For many of
the listings, the tag word "AIDS" has been added, so that
the internal search
engine can find it, but again, only for those listings that state
the individual died
of AIDS, or imply that by requesting donations be made to an AIDS
Comments & Observations About the Data
Data was scanned from
the magazine This Week in Texas (TWT),
and other publications, such as Montrose Voice, Houston Voice,
Outsmart, Texas Triangle, and others, from holdings at various
Houston archives, including Gulf
Coast Archive & Museum,
The Botts Collection,
and the private collection
of JD Doyle.
Special thanks to Dr. Brian Riedel for advice along the way,
and to Roger Ritthaler for contributing additional research.
This project was developed
by JD Doyle, who is a long time member of
Houston ARCH, and is a local historian. Since 2000 he has produced
radio show and website Queer
Music Heritage, and questions on this project
can be directed to him at email@example.com.
Also, while we aim for no errors,
this is a mountain of data to process, so if you find mistakes, please
let us know.
Other listings of AIDS
deaths can be found at The
Also, see Digital
A note about TWT: the
statewide publication began in 1975 and for decades
has been a much loved part of gay culture in Texas. This was especially
so during the "AIDS years" when as a community service it
obituaries. It was the sad routine of many people during that time
they picked up a copy of the latest edition to go immediately to the
back section to see if people they knew had died. We again thank TWT
for graciously allowing use of the obituary images on this site.
As stated above, the Texas Obituary
Project is directly inspired by one
done in San Francisco, by Tom Burch, and I want to specifically thank
him for his work. He is a long-time member of the San Francisco Gay
Men's Chorus, and he can be seen talking about the SF data base in
incredibly moving documentary called "Singing Positive,"
filmed first in
1995 with a sequel in 2009. The 43-minute film can be viewed at
Site and he describes the project for a couple minutes around
19:20 mark. I was in contact with Tom Burch, and also Dan Liefker,
who gave me invaluable early advice.
Brandon Wolf wrote an excellent
article about TOP for the March
2014 issue of Outsmart
always gratifying when an "out-of-town" newspaper notices
so I was delighted to have been interviewed for a Dallas Voice story.
site link to story
And, also in
the Montrose Star, 5/7/14
April 29, 2018, the Houston Chronicle ran a story on my work with
the Texas Obituary Project,
and I could not be more pleased. In January the writer had interviewed
me for at least a couple hours,
and the photographer took about 600 photos. Then she did more research,
with my help contacting
Jacqueline Kiffe, of College Station, for whom my site had a particular
impact. And she worked in
other aspects, but I could not have been more surprised when she told
me it was scheduled to
run on the Front Page. As in, The Front Page! How often in a life
does that happen?
It's such an extensive article that I've placed it on its own page.
Read the Article
comments on the article: I think Monica did an excellent job in fleshing
out the human side
of how people sometimes react to my website. I will state however,
that while the main impetus
for the project was the AIDS crisis, that is not the sole focus. I
encourage submissions of
obituaries for any LGBT person living in Texas, for deaths by any
causes. Also, it shoud be
acknowledged that I would only notate someone's death as due to AIDS
if the obituary indicated
that, or if I had personal knowledge. I estimate the true number of
AIDS deaths would be double
what search results on the site would indicate.