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    Spontaneous Gathering in Memory of JP Leddy, GGBA President

    BT 5.5. 1-32_Page_09_Image_0006By Dennis McMillan

    An assemblage of nearly a hundred friends of Jon Paul “JP” Leddy gathered on April 27 at Castro & Market Streets aka “Hibernia Beach”/the Bank of America corner, dedicated to LGBTQ makeshift memorials. Leddy had been found unresponsive in his home the prior Monday evening by concerned Golden Gate Business Association board members after he failed to appear for a Board of Directors’ meeting that he was scheduled to lead. His death appears to have been from natural causes.

    JP was appointed by the Board of Directors to lead the Golden Gate Business Association in November 2015. Founded in 1974, the Golden Gate Business Association is the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the first business organization founded by LGBT entrepreneurs. Under JP’s leadership, GGBA grew its base of members and sponsors, hosted multiple gatherings and events for the LGBT business community, and received recognition from community organizations. The San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations recognized the GGBA on April 7, 2016, as Advocacy Organization of the Year. On April 20, JP Chaired the GGBA’s 2nd annual Power Lunch program, where he delivered a moving address about the power of personal, social and economic freedoms championed by the GGBA.

    The improvised memorial site was festooned with bouquets, candles, and a large color photo of JP. A sign proclaimed: “Dedicated father, grandfather, passionate volunteer to many causes that were dear to him, a community champion who gave selflessly beyond measure and a friend to so many who will now have to heal from this tremendous loss. He was our Prince.”

    GGBA Vice President of Communications Jackie Cuneo and GGBA Board Member Dawn Ackerman sponsored the gathering, noting that JP would be overwhelmed to see so many friends there. They called the announcement a shock and a great loss to all of the community. Castro District Supervisor Scott Wiener called JP “one of those fixtures that was so involved everywhere that will be hard not to have around.” He said that at the next San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting they would be adjourning in his memory. “God rest his soul,” he concluded.

    Will Roscoe worked with JP at Openhouse for senior LGBT housing for two years, calling him “the best coworker you could have who brought whole new communities together.” GGBA Past President Anna Damiani said it was a terribly sad occasion, but heartwarming to see so many true friends gathered. Interim President Paul Pendergast, Past President Robb Fleischer, and Treasurer Jay Greene also expressed their thoughts and memories.

    Leddy’s housemate Steve Gaines said JP was “my favorite roommate ever” and noted it was a tragedy, but that JP had passed peacefully in his sleep. Various other GGBA board members spoke, along with members of the Imperial and Ducal Court System, with which JP was heavily involved. The gathering dissembled, but not before giving a loud round of applause and cheering for JP and a big group hug in the spirit of his unconditional love.

    On May 6, a Celebration of Life for JP Leddy will be held at The Patio Café, 531 Castro Street, San Francisco, from 6 pm to 9 pm. A GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/2eqj7n6k) has been set up to help JP’s family fly to San Francisco from Guam and across the country, and to cover funeral costs. Any excess funds will be divided equally and donated among JP’s favorite charities.