Jim Hormel, noted philanthropist, medal-winning athlete, and the first US openly gay Ambassador, passed away on August 13 at age 88.
James Hormel's passing had a special significance for the Federation of Gay Games. In 2002, when the Gay Games Ambassadors program was first unveiled, Mr. Hormel was in the first group of four people so honored. The other three were:
- Judith Light, Actress and Activist.
- Tom Bianchi, Artist, Author, Photographer.
- Bruce Hayes, Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer.
The FGG's press release of October 28, 2002 had this summary bio about Mr. Hormel:
James C. Hormel, Former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. Mr. Hormel has devoted his life to the advocacy of basic human rights, social justice, and the well-being of all individuals. In the course of 30 years of working with top business, government, and academic leaders, he has sought to create, fund, and initiate major programs addressing these concerns and to involve others in public service. He is recognized nationally for his ability to bring together people of different backgrounds and perspectives to form bridge-building coalitions based upon shared values and mutual interests.
During the last decade, Mr. Hormel has assisted in creating the structure and programs for several community service organizations. He has been instrumental in developing resources for direct service organizations such as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Project Open Hand, AIDS Emergency Fund, and Shanti Project that serve the HIV and AIDS community in San Francisco. At the national level, Mr. Hormel is a member of the Board of Directors of American Foundations for AIDS Research and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. He is an honorary or advisory member of several other boards, both locally and nationally.
On June 4, 1999, James C. Hormel was appointed to be Ambassador to Luxembourg. Mr. Hormel was originally nominated in October 1997, and re-nominated on January 6, 1999, and sworn in by the Secretary on June 29, 1999.
In a fitting statement, Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, had this statement about Ambassador Hormel:
“Jim Hormel was a giant in the movement for LGBTQ+ equality. He was a history-making and barrier-breaking diplomat who showed future generations of LGBTQ+ young people that there is no limit to what they can achieve. Jim also understood the power of his platform and the importance of organizing to make change. His commitment in helping to found the Human Rights Campaign and his dedication to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic ensure that the contributions he made will ripple out for years and decades to come. He was a tremendously valued member of the Human Rights Campaign community and his memory will live on at this organization and others that have made up his life’s work. Our hearts are with Jim’s husband, family and friends as we collectively mourn the loss of such a profound advocate and celebrate his decorated and impactful life.”