Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Franklin A. Smith, Founder of Aids Service

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Franklin A. Smith, Founder of Aids Service

Article excerpt

Franklin A. Smith, who founded Buddies of New Jersey, the Hackensack-based HIV/AIDS support group that celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, died Feb. 10 in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Navy veteran and former Bloomfield resident was 81.

In 1985, Mr. Smith was president of the Gay Activists Alliance of New Jersey and had recently dissolved his family's trucking firm to care for his ailing parents.

He and friends were in the habit of going to hospitals to comfort young men dying of what was then a little understood and baffling disease whose name evolved from gay-related immune deficiency, or GRID, to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.

"Back then, people were put in a room and forgotten," Mr. Smith recalled in an interview in The Record in 1995. "There was a lot of discrimination and they had no one."

The group Mr. Smith founded in Teaneck created a structure in which those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS could rely on "buddies" to help them cope and seek necessary services and treatment. …

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