From: Mark Arthur Zumbach 
Newsgroups: triangle.motss,soc.motss
Subject: Richard Dieteman
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 14:05:09 -0500

I wrote this Monday, March 25, 1996 10:02PM

I'm at work having a real hard time concentrating.  Over the weekend I
lost another friend.  Richard Dieteman died early Sunday morning, March
24, 1996. Richard had been living with HIV for as long as I have known
him (since September of 1987).  He figured he was infected sometime in
the early 80s - - - because he tested positive not long after the blood
test was developed. Richard was the first person I ever knew, who told
me up-front that he was HIV positive.  His antibody status was almost
like a "red badge of courage," he wore proudly.  Still, it hit him
pretty hard in 1994 when he was diagnosed with AIDS - - - I think it hit
us all pretty hard.  So many of us, Richard included, believed that he
was one of the ones who would never get sick - - - if anyone could beat
this disease it was going to be Richard. After the diagnoses, Richard
lost some of his fighting spirit, and again had to fight many of the
inner demons he thought he'd concurred.  He slid painfully back into
alcohol and substance abuse, and found it difficult to maintain his
friendships and relationships.

After he moved home to Wilmington NC, Richard rejoined AA - - - The 
organization to which he said he owed his life.  He reconnected with his 
god, and in some ways, I think, to his mother - - - who had died in
1988. Richard made a long journey back to spiritual health and
well-being.  His holy journey was a tragic one though, because as he
reclaimed his faith, logic, brightness and humor, his physical health
was slipping away.  This last fall and winter were punctuated by his
many trips back to the hospital. Richard survived many, many illnesses.
He survived many of the treatments, that often seemed crueler than the
infections and conditions they were supposed to be healing.  He finally
succumbed to death this weekend, when a bout with pneumonia proved more
than he could handle.

Richard led an extremely colorful life.  He overcame much family
hardship and tragedy to accomplish real important work.  Some of his
most significant gains were made here in RTP, NC, with his work on the
National AIDS Hotline.  He began work with ASHA in 1987 as an
Information Specialist, when the National AIDS Hotline first opened in
North Carolina.  He was later promoted to Supervisor, during the
national "Understanding AIDS" campaign.  A longtime survivor of HIV, he
was well known for his openness and humor about his status.  He worked
as long as his health would permit, taking leave in 1994. Richard will
be remembered  at ASHA for his enthusiasm, dedication, love for life,
and fighting spirit.  He will be greatly missed by those of us fighting
this epidemic.  I'll miss his dead-on honesty and his ability to 
see through bull-shit, no matter how dressed up it is.  I'll miss his 
passion, his rage and the sweet tender side of him that always seemed so 
delicate and fragile.  The world is a much lonelier place this evening.

Mark Arthur Zumbach
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