Friday, February 25, 2000

Two Passings

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #124, February 25, 2000)

PHOTO: Scott Darst


PHOTO: Morrie Bender

PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Hinton

It saddens me to report that the Twin Cities leather community recently suffered the loss of two members, Scott Darst and Morrie Bender. (While Bender had lived in Chicago for the last several years, he was for many years an active member of the Twin Cities leather community and still maintained many friendships here.) Both will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by many, including your humble columnist.

Scott Allan Darst

Scott Darst, a long-time member of the Twin Cities leather community, was born on April 5, 1964 and passed away January 29, 2000. He is survived by his mother, Zona Paine; his brothers, Tom and Dan; and his sisters, Sheri and Therisa.

A memorial service held in Cannon Falls, Minnesota on Friday, February 4 was attended by a large and diverse group of relatives, co-workers (Scott was an employee of Hennepin County) and friends, including many in leather. Scott was remembered as kind and caring, creative, funny, hard-working and good with people. As a co-worker stated, Scott found happiness in “sharing himself with the universe.” Special music was provided by Scott’s roommate Richard, who played guitar and sang a song that Scott had always loved and had asked him to sing at his funeral—“except,” as Richard put it, “it wasn’t supposed to be so soon.”

For many years Scott was a member of the Black Guard of Minneapolis, so it was fitting that on Sunday, February 6, the Guard held their own memorial gathering at The Brass Rail in downtown Minneapolis. The evening included the showing of a videotape of Scott’s performances in various Black Frost run shows through the years, and the gathering concluded with a Black Guard tradition: an emotional singing of ABBA’s “The Way Old Friends Do.”

Morrie Bender

(The following was written by Morrie’s partner, Kevin Hinton.)

Morrie Bender was born in Minneapolis on February 18, 1947 and died peacefully in his sleep on January 3, 2000 at his home in Oak Park, IL. Born and “reared” in Minneapolis, MN, Morrie’s early career was in law enforcement where he specialized in Polygraph exam techniques, leading to many years as director of security and stop-loss management for Rainbow Food Stores. Morrie became best known as bartender and bouncer for the Gay 90’s in Minneapolis where he suggested, planned, opened, promoted, and tended bar for the Men’s Room leather bar. He spent many years lovingly caring for both of his parents through long illnesses. The last eight years of his life were spent in Oak Park with his partner, Kevin Hinton, who remains eternally grateful for the opportunity to share Morrie’s path and learn first-hand his lessons of unconditional love and giving of yourself. Morrie always believed “What goes around, comes around,” so he shared his good fortune and kind spirit with the world every day. Morrie served on the Board of Directors for Community Response, Inc., an Oak Park-based AIDS service organization serving the west side of Chicago and 22 suburbs. He served a two-year term as President of M.A.F.I.A. (Mid-America Fists In Action) where his leadership is still recognized as a turning point in the club’s 25-year history. He touched many lives and will be remembered for his humor, caring, and his love for animals. (OK, OK. He was also a big, handsome, sexy man with a charming smile and a playful spirit!)

He is survived and is missed by Kevin and his family who “adopted” Morrie as another son, brother, and uncle; sister Sandra Taylor and brother Jerry of Los Angeles, brother Michael of Minneapolis; and all of his club brothers across the country who are also his family. A moving memorial service for Morrie was held on January 8, attended by 175. A gathering to celebrate Morrie’s life in the gay/leather/fetish community was held on Saturday, February 5 at Touché, a leather bar in Chicago.

Upcoming Leather Events (for Calendar section)

Saturday, February 26

Leather/Levi Night in Duluth/Superior
9 pm-closing, The Main Club, Superior WI
Part of The Main Club’s old anniversary weekend. Wear your spurs and get 25 cents off your drinks.

Saturday, March 11

Atons Leather/Levi Night
Location and time to be determined
Call the Atons HotLine for more information and to make reservations. Information is also available at the club’s website:

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