Memorial services have been set for a “beautiful” young gay man who’d worked for years at a San Francisco coffee shop and is being remembered for his vibrant personality.
Julian Rodriguez, 36, had recently been hospitalized for pneumonia. He died Thursday, May 30, at San Mateo Medical Center after a blood clot went to his heart.
Services will begin at 3 p.m., Thursday, June 13, at Duggan’s Funeral Service, 3434 17th Street, San Francisco.
Bernie Hanifin, 40, is the owner of Bernie’s coffee shop in San Francisco. Rodriguez had worked for her for almost four years, first in the shop’s Noe Valley location and most recently at a new shop in the Financial District’s Crocker Galleria.
“He was a very sassy, sarcastic, beautiful man,” Hanifin said of Rodriguez, who’d been a regular at the Castro’s QBar nightclub.
“He lit up a room,” she said. “You knew you were going to get the truth from him whether you liked it or not.”
Rodriguez, who had HIV, hadn’t been feeling well for about six weeks, she said.
“Being stubborn and not taking advice from a lot of us … he just waited too long” to see a doctor, Hanifin said.
Rodriguez, who was gay and lived in Daly City, had recently had his heart set on visiting New York City for the first time – his “dream trip,” she said.
“He insisted on doing that before seeing a doctor,” she said, and by the time he returned, “he really wasn’t feeling well.” Hanifin said she made him stay home from work.
“He waited another week before going and being admitted to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia,” she said.
Right before Rodriguez died, doctors and nurses had said that “he was in a good mood and in a good place,” Hanifin said, but “they lost him.”
“I’ve never seen doctors cry,” she said. “They were pretty upset. We’re all devastated.”
Local photographer Steven Underhill also recalled Rodriguez fondly.
“He was very, very sweet,” Underhill said. He said the other man went to QBar “religiously,” especially around happy hour.
In a Facebook message, Rebecca Prozan, community relations director for San Francisco’s district attorney, remembered QBar “was his place,” and said Rodriguez “was a great, great guy.”