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In Memoriam

Longtime LGBT rights champion, former PFLAG president Elinor Lewallen dies

Monday, September 17, 2012

Elinor Lewallen, a longtime champion of equal rights for LGBT people, and President of PFLAG National in the late 1980s, has died, the organization announced Friday. She was 93.

Lewallen was a resident of Denver, Colo., and continued to attend local PFLAG meetings long after her tenure as National President had ended. As recently as last month, she attended a meeting of PFLAG Denver, where the members there celebrated her 93rd birthday. At the event, in support of her excellent work over three decades, the Office of the Mayor of Denver proclaimed June 3, 2012 Elinor Lewallen Day.

Elinor Lewallen

Jean Hodges — PFLAG National Vice-President, Chairperson of the PFLAG National Regional Directors Council, and a longtime friend of Lewallen — recently spoke about the beloved leader’s accomplishments to Out Front Colorado, a Denver-based newspaper serving the LGBT community of the Rocky Mountains.

Hodges said, “Elinor personifies the legacy of caring and support of the founders of PFLAG National. Her compassionate and consistent contributions over the years that support LGBT persons and their families have been my guiding light as I have grown into PFLAG leadership.”

PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby echoed Hodges sentiment, saying, “Elinor couldn’t help but fill a room with love. She understood the power of family acceptance and the need for societal affirmation, and she helped to pioneer PFLAG’s mission of support, education and advocacy as the critical path to achieving both. In getting to know her daughter Janet in this past decade, it is clear that the legacy she leaves started in her own family.”

Lewallen’s accomplishments as a civil rights leader had been previously recognized by the community. In May 2012, the Rocky Mountain Arts Association (RMAA) selected her as the recipient of the Robert Moore Community Award, recognizing Lewallen as a local and national PFLAG and civil rights icon.

Said PFLAG National President Rabbi David M. Horowitz, “So much of our of work today is possible because of pioneers and true champions like Elinor. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn her loss, and we celebrate the tremendous achievements she made throughout her life. ”

A celebration of her life will take place later this month. To learn more about those plans when they are finalized and Elinor’s place in PFLAG history, click here.

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24 more reader comments:

  1. awww may she RIP she will be greatly missed <3

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:53pm
  2. Aaw. ]: <3

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:53pm
  3. R.I.P

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:54pm
  4. so sad.

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:55pm
  5. It was a wonderful thing she had done, may she rest in peace.

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:55pm
  6. RIP Miss Lewallen, The LGBT community will miss you and never forget all your trail blazing hard work!!

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:56pm
  7. What an awesome Lady. R.I,P.

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:57pm
  8. Oh. No. I’m deeply saddened by Elinors passing. Thanks for fighting the good fight when others wouldn’t/couldn’t/weren’t ready. Rest in peace and thank you very much!

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:59pm
  9. Awesome lady. So sad, she will be greatly missed.

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:59pm
  10. Beautiful woman. Sleep well, Ms. Lewallen.

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:00pm
  11. *dislike*

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:05pm
  12. <3

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:07pm
  13. May she rest in peace

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:14pm
  14. Rip

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:15pm
  15. :’( Thank you ! RIP

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:19pm
  16. RIP

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:24pm
  17. Bless her compassionate soul! This woman loved her family.

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:37pm
  18. RIP…

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 8:37pm
  19. may she rest in peace

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 9:12pm
  20. Bless her soul <3 RIP

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 9:16pm
  21. R.i.p.

    Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012 at 10:03pm
  22. My condolences to the family and friends of this very special lady.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 4:29am
  23. R.I.P. dear

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:28pm
  24. R.I.P. Elinor, our dear dear PFLAG ally

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 4:46pm