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Frank Newman; Laguna AIDS Activist


LAGUNA BEACH — Frank Newman, a founding member of several Orange County gay and lesbian groups and a campaigner for AIDS education, died last week of AIDS-related complications at the St. Edna Nursing Center in Santa Ana. He was 49.

Newman, a longtime Laguna Beach resident who was also involved in environmental and preservationist groups such as Village Laguna, was described by family and friends as relentlessly committed to the gay community as well as his city.

He served as co-chair of Laguna Outreach, a nonprofit group providing education on gay issues, between 1983 and 1987, and continued to be active in the organization until he became seriously ill, said his brother, Fred Newman of Irvine.

Newman also helped set up Laguna's AIDS Education Task Force, Orange County's first such group, and co-founded the Orange County Federation of Lesbian, Gay and Feminist Organizations. He also worked with the Elections Committee of the County of Orange, which supports candidates who advocate for gay and lesbian rights.

Newman, a marketing consultant, was known for his wit and integrity, family and friends said. They also described him as a gourmet cook who had painstakingly restored an inn.

"He was in up to the ears all the time--didn't know any other way to operate," Fred Newman said of his brother.

Most of all, Frank Newman was dedicated to his community and to educational issues, Fred Newman said.

"I think that he lived and breathed it, and I think he felt a great sense of satisfaction, not only when successes occurred," but when he brought people with disparate views together, Fred Newman said.

Newman also worked as a consultant to the National AIDS Information and Education Program of the federal Centers for Disease Control.

"I think he was extremely proud of the work that he did for the CDC," Fred Newman said.

Christopher Prevatt, co-chair of the board of directors of the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center of Orange County in Garden Grove, said Newman's "contributions to this community are well recognized and he's going to be sorely missed. He was very valuable in bringing together different groups in the community."

Newman is survived by his mother, Ruthe Streeter of Santa Cruz; his stepmother, Anita Newman of Aptos; his sisters, Donna Streeter of Santa Cruz and Carol Howten, of Watsonville; and Fred Newman.

The family asks that memorial gifts be made to the AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County or to Laguna Shanti, an AIDS organization that Newman supported.

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