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Charles Lee Morris, 42; Gay Activist and Former Publisher of Newspaper

January 11, 1986|United Press International

DENVER — Gay activist and former newspaper publisher Charles Lee (Chuck)) Morris, believed to be one of the longest-living victims of AIDS, has died at his Denver home.

Morris, 42, who died Monday, was the former owner and publisher of The Sentinel, a weekly newspaper read mostly in San Francisco's gay community. He was a confidant of San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein and often was sought for political endorsements from such people as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Walter F. Mondale.

Although friends said Morris had been seriously ill since April, 1978, he wasn't diagnosed as an AIDS victim until 1982. He then helped found two hospice programs in California for gay victims of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Bill Strawn, a Feinstein aide, said the mayor often consulted with Morris on issues affecting San Francisco gays. "I would say she definitely listened to his advice," Strawn said.

Morris moved to Denver in the spring of 1984 to live in an apartment with Jim Swope, 35.

"He was a very brave man and he died with dignity," Swope said. "I'm going to miss him for a long, long time."

Swope said Morris was near death on several occasions and had left their apartment only three times since last July.

Dr. Charles Kirkpatrick, Morris' Denver physician and an AIDS researcher at National Jewish Hospital, said Morris survived four to five times longer than most AIDS patients. He said the average survival time is 12 to 18 months.

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