Help Nikos Diaman (Diamantidis)

Update posted by Aaron Sachowitz On Nov 24, 2020

Thank you to everyone who donated to help my father. I have been meaning to post an update since I returned from Greece, but been so distracted with everything that I've put it off time and again. I was able to rush the process of getting Nikos cremated in Greece, something apparently that only became possible about a year ago, as cremation is forbidden by the Greek Orthodox Church and that is the official religion of Greece. Prior to late 2019, they would export bodies to Bulgaria for cremation! Still, I was able to have him cremated in Greece and received the necessary paperwork and clearance to bring his ashes back with me to the US. Getting all of this done during the week I was in Athens ate up the majority of the donations. I have them here in my house. In the next few weeks I'll be cleaning out Nikos apartment, donating many things, while also keeping what I can so that my family can weave him into our everyday lives as we see a piece of his artwork, use a favorite knife, or clip on his leather fanny pack. Wish me luck, he lived in that apartment for more than 40 years, so there's a lot crammed in there.


Given COVID, I have decided to hold off on a memorial service for Nikos. Instead, I am hoping to have a celebration of his life next November 6th, which will be right between his birthday, November 1st and the day of his death, November 8th. More info forthcoming (I've saved a record of all the donations so can email everyone). The leftover funds from donations that haven't been spent on his cremation and the costs associated with traveling to Greece (though mostly that was covered by airline miles) will be saved for this memorial party so it can have the kind of spread Nikos would be proud of. In the meantime, this great obituary was written for the Bay Area Reporter: https://www.ebar.com/news/news/299125

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Aaron, Thanks-you for all you have done for Nikos. We all appreciate it. Please consider donating any writings, photos, videos, etc. that relate to Gay history and Nikos’ life as a Gay man to the SF LGBT Historical Society or the Hormel Center at the SF Public Library. If you need any help please feel free to contact me. Much love to you and your family.

Joey Cain

Update posted by Nov 25

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I live down the street and can help some if you need it. Thank you for all you have done and are doing. Hugs!

Jokie Wilson

Update posted by Nov 25

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Thank you so much, Aaron. Bless you for taking such good care of Nikos’ remains and of his estate. It is clear why you meant so much to him. I am sure there are many LGBTQ history collections, from the Smithsonian to that in SF Public Library, that will find many of Nikos’ writings and videos of value. It sure would be great to get some of them up before they get sequestered away in a collection. I am sure some of my fellow GLFers who contributed to the fund have thoughts as to which places are best, should you wish to go that route. Love to you, jason

Jason Victor Serinus

Update posted by Nov 24

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Update posted by Aaron Sachowitz On Nov 08, 2020

With great sadness I write that Nikos has passed here in Greece. I got a call from the hospital at 3:30am (5:30pm Pacific) letting me know. I am very grateful that I was able to visit him twice since arriving here on Friday. Even though it was for only 10 minutes each time, I got to touch his shoulder and speak to him. I hope that he passed knowing he was not alone. It seems like he hung in there long enough for me to arrive--and, not to make it political, and for the defeat of Trump to be recognized. I'll spend the next few days trying to organize his affairs here in Athens before returning back to the US. I plan to have him cremated here, and will then transport his ashes back to San Francisco where, despite his love for Greece, I think he would have preferred to have his remains, close to the community he built and lived in for so much of his life. I will see if the Proud Seniors of Greece want to hold a socially distant memorial here for him as well, since he was an honorary member of that group.

Thank you all for the support over the last few weeks, it's been very helpful to me know how many people were impacted by my father over the years, and how wide and deep his network of friends and family extended. He will be greatly missed, but I know his memory will serve as a blessing for all of us.

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Nikos came into our family over 15 years ago when he found that he had a son from his sperm donation.. He was proud to be Aaron’s dad and the field of genealogy became a subject of great interest to Nikos for the rest of his life. He was the grandfather of three girls, Roque, Mélika, and Octavia. Roque is 9 and old enough to remember him, but the twins are just over 2. I feel blessed that Nikos was part of our family and he will be missed so very much. May his memory be for a blessing,

Nikki Sachs

Update posted by Nov 09

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This is just heartbreaking - I’m so sorry. Can’t help but think about everything Nikos has meant to you and what a sacred story this is. May his memory be a blessing.

Abigail Donahue

Update posted by Nov 08

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Tears still flowing as I read your words Aaron and all. Special was/is Nikos, he was steadfast in our friendship, I’m happy that he called me the day before he left for Athens, I didn’t even think it could be our last goodbye. Farewell and good journey from here on my friend. Keep us posted for any memorial, Aaron, bless you, prayers for Nikos.

stefen STEFEN

Update posted by Nov 08

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We are so sad to have lost our friend and a man we admired and respected immeasurably. To be able to be friends with such a person was a blessing and it hurts all the more to think that we won’t share laughs with him now, only memories. i can hear his voice. I miss my friend. Take care of yourself, Aaron, and thank you for all you have done and for keeping us informed at this very difficult time.

Jim Cruz-Youll

Update posted by Nov 08

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So sad to hear. Nikos will be greatly missed here in San Francisco. I pulled on of his books off the shelf to read as a memorial to him. Thank-you so much Aaron for all that you’ve done for him. I know how much it met to him to be connected with you. If you need any help planning a memorial here in SF please feel free to contact me.

Joey Cain

Update posted by Nov 08

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Nikos was a loving friend for half a century of my life in New York City, San Francisco and Mexico. He was a trailblazer for multiethnic LGBT+ human rights, a pioneer Gay journalist and originated the concept of LGBT+ oral history documentaries. Hasta pronto, hermano Tony. Roberto Camp Yucatan Mexico

Roberto Camp

Update posted by Nov 08

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My condolences Aaron. May his memory be eternal and spirit everlasting in our hears. Ζωή σε μας.

Harry Portellos

Update posted by Nov 08

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Aaron, I’m so glad for you that you were able to see Nikos before his death. You were a dutiful and loving son and are to be lauded for that. As an old friend of you dad, I thank you for that. Nikos would have been touched. He had a big heart. My thoughts go with you at this time. May they be ones that remind you of happier times. Dennis Siple

Dennis Siple

Update posted by Nov 08

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I have no words to express my sadness about the loss of my friend Nikos. I’m glad you were there with him.

Joan Kramer

Update posted by Nov 08

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Thanks Aaron for all you’ve done for your Dad! He loved you so much! Warmly, Ron Auerbacher

RON AUERBACHER

Update posted by Nov 08

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Update posted by Aaron Sachowitz On Nov 07, 2020

I made it to Greece midday Friday and took a taxi to Nikos’ apartment. After cleaning up, I went to the hospital. I was only allowed to visit with Nikos for about 10 minutes—the ICU has a no visitors policy but they let me in because I had come all the way from the US. He looked gaunt and fragile hooked up to all the machines. I touched his bare shoulder while I was there so he’d have contact and talked to him so maybe he'd hear my voice and know I'd traveled there to be with him. I played a recording of my twin daughters singing him happy birthday in Spanish until the nurse told me I couldn’t use a cell phone inside the ward.

I also spoke with the doctor, who told me that Nikos’ condition continues to deteriorate. He has kidney failure, and his kidney function continues to decrease. His blood pressure fluctuates and without support would collapse. They take him off sedation every few days to see if he will start breathing on his own, but so far he has not, so he is still on a ventilator and sedated along with pain medication. They told me to be prepared that he may not make it through the weekend, and that while they have not given up hope, it is unlikely that he is going to recover. I feel sad, though I don’t think it has really hit me yet.

Greece started a COVID lockdown this morning (Saturday) so now I can only leave the apartment with permission from the government. I will try to arrange another visit to the hospital today or tomorrow, but since I didn’t think I will be allowed back in to visit, I will likely just end up sitting in the waiting room outside the ICU in case there is a change in status. The doctors said they would call me each afternoon around 2pm to give me a status report, so I will wait today for that and then see about going for another visit.

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Aaron, so glad you’re there with him. So glad he had a birthday song. Still hoping for a miracle.

Joan Kramer

Update posted by Nov 07

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Dear Aaron, The love and gratitude of so many of us in GLF is with you in the days ahead. Please please take good care of yourself, and keep the faith. We hold you in our hearts. jason

Jason Victor Serinus

Update posted by Nov 07

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Oh, dear Aaron. Our hearts are breaking here in San Francisco. Nikos is so special to us. This does not seem real. Please, if there is anything we can do from here to help you, let us know. And if you need to use any of the money that was donated for your own travel and self care, please, please do so without reservation. Nikos has always been so proud of you and though we have never met, I am so glad you are there with him. I’m writing through tears.

Jim Cruz-Youll

Update posted by Nov 07

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Warm hugs from across the pond. I am lighting a candle for you both and keeping you in my prayers. O:)

Jokie Wilson

Update posted by Nov 07

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I’m so sorry to hear this Aaron. Your father is very special to a lot of people. For me, helped me connect me to family I didn’t know I had here in the US and in Greece. I got to speak to him via FaceTime a couple of years ago but sad that I may not get to meet him in person. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and Nikos today and the days to come.

Harry Portellos

Update posted by Nov 07

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Update posted by Aaron Sachowitz On Nov 04, 2020

Hello to all the generous supporters. I spoke with Nikos' doctors on Tuesday morning about his condition and consulted with some doctors here in the US as well. Unfortunately, it seems he has continued to deteriorate, and is being kept alive only though serious medical intervention at this time. Recovery is not out of the question, but seems to be getting increasingly unlikely, and I have been bluntly told that I should be prepared for him to not recover. I have therefor decided to book a flight to Greece as soon as possible to hopefully get to spend some time with him and see how I can help in person. I am still hopeful that these generous donations will get to be used on Nikos' recovery, but I am also trying to come to terms with the reality that I may have to spend it on funerary arrangements instead. Please keep Nikos in your hearts and prayers in the next few days and wish me a safe journey to see him in Athens.

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Best wishes for a smooth time of it as you accompany Nikos through this part of his journey. Hugs! O:)

Jokie Wilson

Update posted by Nov 05

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Praying for Nikos, please get yourself back here to Califa my dear. Be well Aaron, give him my love.

stefen STEFEN

Update posted by Nov 05

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May you be safe Aaron & I’m hoping that Nikos will sense or hear you being with him. Warmly, Ron Auerbacher

RON AUERBACHER

Update posted by Nov 04

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Happy Birthday Nikos💞Que le vaya bien.

Joan Kramer

Update posted by Nov 04

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Update posted by Aaron Sachowitz On Oct 29, 2020

Around midnight SF time/9am Thursday in Greece I was finally able to talk briefly with a doctor in the ICU of the Laiko hospital in Athens, where Nikos is recovering from surgery. They have stopped the sedation for Nikos and are waiting for him to wake up from his medically induced coma. He's taking longer to wake up and be responsive then they would like, so they can't yet start weaning him from the ventilator. They are worried about this, but his vitals (blood pressure and oxygen, liver function) seem good, which is encouraging. This means he is still in critical but stable condition and so I am worried but still have hope. Thank you all for your support.

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Thanks for the update Aaron. For the last 4 decades, Nikos has been a very active participant in the Radical Fairy community here in San Francisco and the West Coast. I sent out the call for donations to various RF lists and it looks like folks are helping out. I’ll pass along your update.

Joey Cain

Update posted by Oct 29

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jim fouratt

Backed with $50.00 On Nov 09, 2020

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Hasta luego to a friend for many decades. Roberto Camp Donna Gottschalk Larry Kovacs

Roberto Camp, Donna Gottschalk, Larry Kovacs

Backed with $150.00 On Nov 08, 2020

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Anonymous

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Nikos, it's an ax in the fire, come on back to us.

Joan Kramer

Backed with $100.00 On Nov 02, 2020

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I hope Nikos is not suffering and is getting better daily. He's a great guy. I've read several of his books. Thanks for taking this all on.

Terry (Hammer) Cavanagh

Backed with $25.00 On Nov 01, 2020

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Aaron Sachowitz

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Nikolas Lemos

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