SAN DIEGO -- Lillian Rubin, one of the founders of the San Diego chapter of PFLAG, died in her sleep at midnight on Sunday, Dec. 4, according to PFLAG San Diego. She was 95.
Shortly after her son came out, Rubin, along with her husband Hy, learned about PFLAG. The two attended a meeting in Los Angeles, and are said to have become "hooked on PFLAG."
PFLAG -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -- is an organization that works to promote the health and well-being of LGBT people and their family and friends through support, education and advocacy. Founded in 1973, the organization has grown to have over 200,000 members and supporters with over 350 affiliates across the country.
The Lambda Archives of San Diego reports that the first PFLAG meeting held in San Diego took place on Dec. 12, 1982, although, according to PFLAG, it took some time to get the chapter up and running after Rubin's first encounter with the organization in LA.
"After several successful attempts to start a chapter in San Diego, parents and families and friends finally began to 'come out,' and in 1982, San Diego County PFLAG was started," PFLAG wrote in an article about Rubin's death.
The organization has grown from a handful of members in its early days to nearly 300 today.
Upon founding the local chapter, Rubin had little experience working with the LGBT community, but friends recall that she have dived right into it.
Fellow PFLAG members recall Rubin proudly marching in San Diego's annual LGBT Pride Parade on many occasions and her regular speaking engagements on LGBT issues not only to the media, but at various educational and civic institutions throughout Southern California. Friends say that she even received a commendation for her work from the Mayor of Los Angeles at one point.
In a statement, members of the current PFLAG San Diego board said that they were saddened to hear of the passing of their chapter's founder.
"She was and continues to be an inspiration for all of us newer and other more senior board members, and we send our condolences to her family and a promise that her spirit will continue to be remembered by our actions in furthering a safe and enlightened world for our loved ones."
"Lillian won the admiration of thousands whom she motivated and moved on sharing her knowledge of LGBT issues."
Those who wish to make a donation to PFLAG in memory of Rubin may send a check to: PFLAG San Diego, P.O. 82762, San Diego, CA 92138. Note "Lillian Rubin" in the memo line.