Larry Lombardi: A Hero's Tribute
On February 1, our Queens Center for Gay Seniors (QCGS) program held a memorial service for Larry Lombardi, a beloved member of Jackson Heights’ LGBT community and a longtime QCGS member. More than 75 people attended the event, including Larry’s niece, who flew in from Georgia. Larry was the longtime board member and treasurer of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens and part of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, which runs the annual Queens Pride Parade.
It was standing room only when Council Member Danny Dromm, Larry’s friend of 27 years, stepped to the front to offer his goodbye. “It was a different era for gay people in Larry’s generation.” Fighting back tears, he continued “He didn’t have an organization like [QCGS] where gay people could get together and talk about their lives openly and freely.” Danny credited Larry and his friends for “making what happened in Queens happen.” He said, “Larry was instrumental in shaping our community into what it is today.”
Following Dromm was Deputy Leader of the New York City Council, Jimmy Van Bramer, another longtime friend. “Danny and I are elected officials today because of people like Larry Lombardi and all of you in this room. Simply being who you are, when it was much harder to do so, is what allowed us the space to accomplish what we have today.”
Ken Nugai, Larry’s friend of over seventy years, shared tales from their teenage years, then closed with a tender memory of their last days together. "I reminded him to drink his Boost since he was getting skinny. I'm not in great shape either, but we always looked out for one another in life."
Afterwards, a gathering was held at one of Larry’s favorite bars, Friends Tavern on Roosevelt Avenue. The owners bought a round for everyone in the bar and raised a glass to Larry’s life and legacy. True to form, Larry’s urn sat quietly on the bar, out of the spotlight. He never did miss a chance to have a drink with his friends.