Two months ago, we lost a dear friend, Tim Morrison. Since his death, he had been memorialized and remembered as a kind-hearted, caring friend by his partner of 10 years, Steve Remer, his family and his friends across the country. On Friday evening, our local community will celebrate his life over a meal as a way to give thanks to the friendship Tim gave us during his time in the Twin Cities.
We have plenty of memories of Tim. I know we will share those memories tonight. I’m sure that are stories of Tim that will be bantered about the dinner table – too numerous to recount on here.
My story began before even meeting Tim. It came about when Ron Suresha published a collection of his interviews with the bear community in 2002 called Bears on Bears. The interview Tim was involved regarding something he shared a few other gentlemen at the time: Post-Beardom. He arrived at the point where the Bear community could meet his needs at the time the interview was conducted.
However, he ended his part of the interview with this statement:
"I want to point out here that things are different for men who are in larger cities that are in better touch with the gay community in general. I still see Beardom as a potentially positive thing for someone out in the middle of nowhere who might have a very limited view of what it means to be a gay man. I would hope that he has the fortitude, however, to take what he can from it. To realize the possibilities that exist beyond that identity, and to not let a narrow segment of any community dictate his behaviors, like and dislikes."
I am not certain when this interview was conducted. Nor I am uncertain the timeframe around when he first met Steve in Northern California. Yet, this quote certainly resonated at times when I began to question my place and identity within gay male culture and the bear subculture. I knew that I had to meet this intelligent young man since there was a form of connection between us in our thoughts about the culture we identify with.
What I found interesting with the connection I had with Tim was our shared experiences in the Bay Area – despite never crossing paths. As I left for my brief time in Long Beach prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Tim arrived from the St. Louis area to settle into The City.
About four or five years ago, I finally met Tim here in The Cities. We often shared many war stories of San Francisco life. Admittedly, I spent an equal amount of time in The City without being a resident there (I lived in San Rafael, then Concord, in the nine years I live in that area). I will admit his stories were better. Not because he lived within the 49 Square Miles of Insanity That is The City and County of San Francisco, it was because Tim was a part of the scene.
In the meantime, we hung out some bar nights, Movie Bear film showings, even caught a film together (though Steve was supposed to be with us). Tim’s passion for all things Disney, early 1980s Goth and Industrial music, Hawai'ian shirts (and flannel ones, too), Tiki motifs and Mai-Tais counterbalanced the one thing that kept life interesting for him: His heart.
Throughout the time I’ve known Tim, he lived with a heart defect that required a defibrillator to help maintain his coronary health. A couple of years ago, when I had to spend some time at Regions Hospital in St. Paul due to a heart scare – Tim was there. It was true when any of us had to deal with coronary issues that Tim would be there in support through it. It was his way of giving back to us who were going through what is truly a fraction of his life. With Tim being there – he helped eased our pain while he dealt with his own.
But, we lost him. That loss hurt those of us who knew him, his spirit and the friendship he left behind. His legacy made us think about our own mortality. Still, some evenings aren’t the same without Tim around.
Thank you, Tim, for everything. We will always remember you.