Memorial event for Peter Mazzoni held on December 29

     On Wednesday, December 29, the staff at Mazzoni Center marked a solemn anniversary: the 20th anniversary of the death of Dr. Peter Mazzoni (1959-1990). In addition to being a compassionate and well-regarded physician, Peter Mazzoni was an early AIDS activist who died at age 31 from complications related to the disease.  His work as a board member and medical director at the organization known as Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives/AIDS Task Force of Philadelphia inspired many, and ultimately prompted the leadership of the agency to re-name it "Mazzoni Center" in his honor.

     We invited staff and guests to gather in a 10th floor conference room here at 21 S. 12th Street.  After a moment of silence, Eric Paulukonis and Allison Buehler of our prevention and education staff read messages from Peter Mazzoni’s brother and sister, which had been prepared for his original memorial service held at Old St. Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia in February 1991.

     We were joined by several friends and former colleagues of Peter, including Karen Jackson of Philadelphia, who worked with him as an E.R. nurse during his time at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in the 1980s.  Karen spoke of her deep affection for Peter, and her experiences of his professional excellence and his personal grace. 

     Among the others who attended and shared their recollections of Peter Mazzoni were Wayne Marquardt, one of our original volunteers and board members; Jane Shull, Executive Director of Philadelphia FIGHT; and John Cunningham, a friend and former patient of Peter’s.  

     We were also fortunate to have a section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt that was created by members of the group Dignity Philadelphia in Peter’s memory. 

     Our thanks to all who were able to join us, and to make this a truly special event.  Thanks also to our friends at the AIDS Fund and the Names Project Foundation, for allowing us to share that section of the quilt with our staff and guests.