Join Email List | About Us | AMERICAblog News
More about: DADT | DOMA | ENDA | Immigration | Marriage | 2012 Elections

Oklahoma Gay Activist Stephen Eberle passes away

| Reddit | Tumblr | Digg | FARK

Oklahoma has lost a visible and important gay rights, AIDS and progressive rights activist in the death of Stephen Eberle. Sadly, I never got to know Stephen that well, but I did know and respect his incredible reputation. The Equality Network reports:

In Memoriam - Stephen Eberle (1955-2011)

Stephen Eberle, a beloved member of The Equality Network's Board of Directors, passed away on August 5th. He was 55 years old.

Stephen Eberle was born and raised in Albany, NY and graduated Texas A&M University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, the family business. After college, he moved to Tulsa and began a 16-year sales career with the Vaughan Seed Company selling to greenhouse and garden center accounts in Kansas and Oklahoma. His career then shifted to animal protection serving as Executive Director of the Washington County SPCA in Bartlesville for two years. This led to volunteer work in animal protection legislation and successful campaigns to outlaw cockfighting, bear wrestling, and horse tripping in Oklahoma.

In 1998, Stephen lobbied for a grassroots effort to increase state funding for prescription drug assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS, and in 2009, led a grass roots lobby effort for animal protection in the Oklahoma Legislature. Stephen served as Director of Environmental Programs for the American Lung Association of Oklahoma for three years and began training as an Environmental Consultant, providing environmental consulting and education to homes, schools and businesses through the University of Tulsa and Oklahoma State University. At the time of his death, Stephen was the Community Food & Gardening Coordinator for Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa, working to provide food security and eliminate food deserts in Tulsa. He was instrumental in the passage of legislation establishing healthy corner stores programs throughout Oklahoma. Between careers, Stephen taught varied curricula from kindergarten to college.

Stephen's tireless and impassioned dedication to community service was truly extraordinary. He volunteered for over three decades with nearly 50 different not-for-profits in Tulsa, primarily fundraising and serving on boards. He raised thousands of dollars and worked thousands of hours for organizations including the Tulsa AIDS Walk, Resonance, the Tulsa Global Alliance, and the McLain High School Foundation.

Stephen had a boundless capacity for helping others, be they LGBT, the poor, those living with HIV/AIDS, children, or animals. It is impossible to calculate the impact he left on our community and the countless lives he touched. He is survived by his mother, siblings, and an extraordinary network of friends.

Thank you, Stephen, for your loyalty, your humor, and your commitment to building an Oklahoma where everyone is equal. We will forever miss you.

With great sadness and respect,
The Equality Network Board of Directors
It is important to honor and remember those who have made a difference, and to use their memory to inspire each of us to do more for our community. Rest in peace, Stephen, your community already misses you.

blog comments powered by Disqus