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Breaking: Longtime gay activist John Bennett dead at 57 years old

Friends of longtime gay activist John Bennett say that he died over the weekend of January 4, 2020. He was 57 years old. No further details are available at this time.

Bennett held leadership roles in the ’80s and ’90s at the University of Utah Lesbian and Gay Student Union, AIDS Project Utah, Utah Pride Festival, and the Gay and Lesbian Community Council of Utah.

He was an accomplished classical pianist and was accompanist at the Salt Lake Men’s Choir for three years and, in 1993, founded The Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Salt Lake City. He was also former Sen. Bob Bennett’s nephew.

Bennett served as executive director of the Utah Stonewall Center, now the Utah Pride Center, from 1994 to 1995.

He was part of many other groups, including the Utah AIDS Memorial Quilt Project, and marched with the Utah contingent at the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987.

Bennett managed a senior center of Salt Lake County Aging and Adul Services from 2004 to 2013 before taking on the fulltime role of caregiver for his aging parents until his mother’s death in May of 2018.

He started Bennett’s Art Glass in 2015. The name paid homage to the Art Glass Department of a former family business, Bennett’s Paint and Glass. He did custom pieces for many homes as well as Franklin Covey.

He became president of LifeRing Secular Recovery, a secular alternative to 12-Step recovery for drug and alcohol dependency, in 2017.

In November, Bennett was hired as a program manager at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Pharmacology Department.

This story will be updated as more details are released.

Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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