Remembering Francis “Franny” Egan

The nephew of a long-time ALRP client shared this remembrance of his dear uncle and the role ALRP played in his colorful life.

“My beloved uncle and best friend, Francis “Franny” Egan, passed away last year from COVID. I lost the person I had always known as my protector. As confused and grief-stricken as I became at the loss, I soon found my uncle had his own protector.

His journey as a gay Irish American man having come out in the 1970’s, and as a long-term AIDS survivor, was rough at times. Loving and generous to a fault, irascible and irreverent in every way, he went through several personal and professional crises during his 20+ years in San Francisco – all of which required legal help.

A life-long airline enthusiast, ALRP client Francis Egan spent his retirement years as a greeter at the San Francisco Airport.

When I began cleaning up my uncle’s apartment, I quickly noticed a formal-looking green binder. ALRP was on the front. Opening it, I found that they had helped him organize every legal aspect of his entire life. All these years, the AIDS Legal Referral Panel had protected him, and I had never known.

Who protects the protector? In this case, it was ALRP.

My thanks to ALRP Executive Director Bill Hirsh and the wonderful ALRP Panel Attorney Susan Jewell, who put my uncle’s life in order and allowed me to take care of his affairs in a way he would have wanted.

Franny (as I knew him) had spent his career working in the airlines. He had a deep love of San Francisco and volunteered at SFO for twenty years as a greeter in the international terminal. He even did so through the pandemic: “I want people to see their first smile in San Francisco after a long flight,” he’d tell me.

And the City gave the gift back by honoring my uncle with a very special ceremony at the airport he loved. The call that made that magical moment happen for my family? From Bill Hirsh. In one phone call, Bill epitomized the mission of ALRP and made me realize it was not just about law, it was about caring.”

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