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Nikos Diaman

ARRIVED   November 1, 1936
DEPARTED   November 8, 2020


  • Update posted by Aaron Sachowitz On Nov 07

    I made it to Greece midday Friday and took a taxi to Nikos’ apartment. After cleaning up, I went to the hospital. I was only allowed to visit with Nikos for about 10 minutes—the ICU has a no visitors policy but they let me in because I had come all the way from the US. He looked gaunt and fragile hooked up to all the machines. I touched his bare shoulder while I was there so he’d have contact and talked to him so maybe he’d hear my voice and know I’d traveled there to be with him. I played a recording of my twin daughters singing him happy birthday in Spanish until the nurse told me I couldn’t use a cell phone inside the ward.
    I also spoke with the doctor, who told me that Nikos’ condition continues to deteriorate. He has kidney failure, and his kidney function continues to decrease. His blood pressure fluctuates and without support would collapse. They take him off sedation every few days to see if he will start breathing on his own, but so far he has not, so he is still on a ventilator and sedated along with pain medication. They told me to be prepared that he may not make it through the weekend, and that while they have not given up hope, it is unlikely that he is going to recover. I feel sad, though I don’t think it has really hit me yet.
    Greece started a COVID lockdown this morning (Saturday) so now I can only leave the apartment with permission from the government. I will try to arrange another visit to the hospital today or tomorrow, but since I didn’t think I will be allowed back in to visit, I will likely just end up sitting in the waiting room outside the ICU in case there is a change in status. The doctors said they would call me each afternoon around 2pm to give me a status report, so I will wait today for that and then see about going for another visit.

    Nikos’ son Aaron writes:

    With great sadness I write that Nikos has passed here in Greece. I got a call from the hospital at 3:30am (5:30pm Pacific) letting me know. I am very grateful that I was able to visit him twice since arriving here on Friday. Even though it was for only 10 minutes each time, I got to touch his shoulder and speak to him, and even play a happy birthday song from his twin granddaughters, who have been talking quite a bit about how their “Papou está enfermo” over the last weeks. I hope that he passed knowing he was not alone, and that so many people were wishing him well. It seems like he hung in there long enough for me to arrive, which is some comfort. I’ll spend the next few days trying to organize his affairs here in Athens before returning back to the US. I plan to have him cremated here, and will then transport his ashes back to San Francisco where, despite his love for Greece, I think he would have preferred to have his remains, close to the community he built and lived in for so much of his life. I will see if the Proud Seniors of Greece want to hold a socially distant memorial here in Athens for him as well, since he was an honorary member of that group.
    Thank you all for the support over the last few weeks, it’s been very helpful to me know how many people were impacted by my father over the years, and how wide and deep his network of friends and family extended. He will be greatly missed, but I know his memory will serve as a blessing for all of us.

    • Greetings Aaron, My name is Patrick Brown; I’m a lifelong friend of Nikos since the beginning days of the Militant Gay Liberation Movement; I was the picket captain of the Committee for Homosexual Freedom (Google it) who picketed daily in a Gay Labor Dispute some 12 >15 of us outside of the doorway to the offices of States Steamship Company at 520 California Street in San Fco’s Financial District on the lunch hour 12 > 14:00 hours Monday through Friday 3 months before the NYC Police skirmish at the Stonewall Inn. I maintained contact with Nikos throughout all these years and decades. I spoke with Nikos last year but didn’t know that he had passed away until today when I called this morning to wish him a happy birthday and discovered that his phone was disconnected.
      Regards to you and his grandkids.


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