Longtime LGBTQ+-rights activist and onetime Dane County, Wisconsin, Supervisor Dick Wagner has died at age 78, NBC15.com reported.
According to a friend, Wagner was found at tiny Kerr-McGee Triangle Park, which he helped create in the late 1970s, madison.com noted. He was taking a bag of food that had been mistakenly delivered to his Near East Side home to the correct address.
Wagner's passing prompted tributes from many community leaders, including U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.
Baldwin called him a "deeply inspiring person" who served as a role model and became a lifelong friend of hers. She credited him with helping inspire her to enter public service and providing her with the encouragement "to walk the path he paved."
Rhodes-Conway, in part, described Wagner as a respected historian, citing his two books on LGBTQ history in WisconsinWe've Been Here All Along: Wisconsin's Early Gay History and Coming Out, Moving Forward: Wisconsin's Recent Gay Historywhich she said would "ensur(e) our stories will be told for years to come.
Inspired by Harvey Milka member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the first openly gay elected official in California, who had been assassinated two years earlierWagner ran and was elected as the first openly gay member of the Dane County Board, in 1980. He served for 14 years, according to the History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee website.
Friends are planning a Jan. 8 memorial service at Holy Wisdom Monastery, in the town of Westport.