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  • Peter H. McCusker

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  • Peter H. McCusker passed away June 8, 2013, after a long battle with a brain virus. Peter was born January 21, 1955 in Red Wing, Minn.
    He was Red Wing Central High School Valedictorian for the class of 1973 and went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls with a major in business and minor in physics.
    Peter is survived by his partner of 30 years, Mark MacDougall; his mother, Ruth McCusker; and cousin, Gabriele Lubach.
    Peter lived in Minneapolis, Minn. and West Hollywood, Calif. before settling in the Rogue Valley 25 years ago.
    He spent many years working as a postal clerk for the U.S.P.S., but his real passion was in other pursuits. He was an amateur astronomer and had an avid interest in a variety of sciences, ranging from evolutionary psychology to astrophysics.
    Peter was also author of the book From Dweeb to Adonis The Complete Guide to Manly Excellence.
    Beyond science Peter had an interest in the arts. He and his partner, Mark, opened and managed Ignition Gallery in Ashland for the past seven years. Peter also handcrafted men's beaded chokers as a side business.
    Peter was a lifelong advocate for LGBT Rights and Human Rights. In 1985, when the city of West Hollywood became the first government entity in the United States to offer Domestic Partnership Registration to its citizens, Peter and Mark were one of a handful of couples to register on the first day. At the time of his death Peter and Mark may have held the record for longest legally recognized gay couple in the United States.
    Peter went on to help the organization Couples L.A. arrange a mass gay wedding in Washington D.C. in conjunction with the Gay Rights March on Washington in 1987. Over 2000 couples exchanged vows on Constitutional Ave.
    In the Rogue Valley Peter was a volunteer for the Southern Oregon Lambda Association, Southern Oregon Men's Outreach, The Human Rights Coalition of Jackson County, The Lambda Community Center Association, the LGBT Caucus of Southern Oregon, and Southern Oregon Pride.
    Peter was also willing to put his face and name out in the public for the issues that he fought for and was featured in the Mail Tribune in a gay marriage article in 1996, and a living with HIV article in 2001.
    Peter, a man of steadfast perseverance, outlasted many of the organizations he volunteered for; despite the fact he fought a 23-year battle against a variety of HIV-related illnesses and HIV drug side effects. There were many hospital stays and eight years of kidney dialysis. Through it all, Peter seldom complained but instead lived life fully.
    No services are planned. A celebration of life may occur at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Basic Rights Oregon, Southern Oregon Pride, or The Nature Conservancy.
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