Ronald G. Kershaw
(July 6, 1950 - August 14, 1991)
"Jesus more strongly condemned those who were attacking the sexual sinner than the sin itself. We easily forget Christ's challenge to bind up the wounds, heal the suffering, comfort those who mourn, and practice the compassion of the Good Samaritan. If AIDS is truly the leprosy of our day, then our response to it should reflect Jesus' charge to his disciples, 'freely ye have received, freely give.'"
--Ronald Grant Kershaw
The following has been adapted from The Affirmation Gayzette, September 1991:
Wednesday evening, August 14th, Ron died peacefully after a three month struggle with AIDS. His family and friends were with him when he died.
Born and raised in Idaho, Ron served as a Mormon missionary to France
before receiving his accounting degree from Brigham Young University
[in] 1975. he moved to San Francisco and began his auditing career
at Del Monte Corporation. In 1979, he became the Director of Internal
Audit for Consolidated Capital, a growing real estate syndicator.
Ron earned his M.B.A. In Real Estate from Golden Gate University in
1986, and eventually became vice-president of Internal Audit and a
partner at Consolidated. He left in 1987 to form his own consulting
firm, Kershaw & Associates, and spent the last four years working
as an asset manager with troubled savings and loan institutions, including
Eureka Savings and Loan and Coast Federal Bank.
Ron was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for being gay, and his
painful recovery from that experience prompted him to help in founding
the San Francisco Chapter of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons. He
served as its chapter director and treasurer, and counseled many lesbian
and gay Mormons in their struggles for self-acceptance. He later became
executive director of the national organization and served as its
treasurer until his death. Ron believed passionately in his work for
Affirmation and consistently represented the group at Gay Pride parades
and celebrations. He also worked for the change within the Mormon
Church, attempting to gain acceptance and understanding toward its
gay and lesbian members.
His devotion to community service expanded to include volunteer politics in 1986. His vision, compassion, and engaging style quickly distinguished him as a leader. In four short years, he rose from being a member of the board of directors of Concerned Republicans for Individual Rights to president of the California Republicans for choice and a Board Member of the LIFE/AIDS Lobby in Sacramento.
In 1990, Ron fulfilled a lifelong dream by running for elected office. His well-run campaign for County Assessor garnered him the San Francisco Examiner's endorsement in the race, one of his proudest accomplishments. Later in the year, he was elected to the Republican County Central Committee, a position he held until his death. That same year, Ron attended a White House signing by President Bush of Hate Crimes legislation.
Ron is survived by his partner of seven years, Craig Johnson, his
parents, Dr. and Mrs. H. W. Kershaw of Blackfoot, Idaho, his brother,
Gary Kershaw, and sisters Laura Goodwin, Carol Gardner, Debra Zern,
Teri LeBlanc, and Kathi Kershaw, many nieces and nephews, and hundreds
of friends and colleagues.
Following a private memorial service, a reception and celebration of Ron's life was held Sunday, August 25, from 4:30 - 8:30 p.m. at his home: 3533 21st Street, San Francisco. Donations may be made to the AIDS Emergency Fund, San Francisco, California.
Making Chapter Members Feel Welcome (Affinity, July 2006)
Please add your own tribute by sending an email to James Kent.
"Gay and Lesbian Mormons Gather in San Francisco." Sunstone Review 3:10 [October 1983], pp. 7-8.
"In Memory of Our Friends," San Diego Affirmation Newsletter,
September 1991, p. 3.
Kershaw, Ronald G. "AIDS,
Leprosy, and Disease: The Christian Response." Sunstone
12:3 [May 1988], pp. 6-8.
Affirmation Gayzette, September 1991.