Farewell, My Friend

Hug Point, OR

Donald Alex Has Died.

Who was Donald Alex? He was the man who gave myself to me.

1978. I had a rather promising career on a fast track in the Republican Party. Having come circuitously from a small town in Oregon a tree-hugging member of the party, that was my entree. After an agency or two, I found myself a Director on the President’s Campaign staff and was fairly enmeshed within the Culture of the Beltway. 

After the loss, I was asked to run a campaign for state office in Colorado for a friend of one of the President’s sons. So, Denver.

Up until this point, I’d led an aggressively straight life. Underneath this, though, I knew I was gay…though kept thinking I could overcome it, or hide it, or in some way live with it and still have “all the benefits” of a straight life. 

I had discovered and been adopted and indoctrinated into the vast and well-established Capitol Hill Gay Underground Network which, as one might imagine, stretched throughout DC and environs. The Closet in DC was huge in those days, and some of the most powerful and recognized people were a part of it. I would drop my dates off by midnight and head to the clubs to lead this exotic, exciting and tantalizing nightlife. 

It was exciting, it was fun, it felt good…and it had no integrity. 

I didn’t realize how deeply conflicted I was, nor the personal price I was paying by living a closeted life. As far as I could perceive; that’s how the world is.

Then, on one sunny afternoon at Denver’s Southtown Lumber Company (not a lumber yard), I looked down the bar and the most beautiful, blue eyes I’d ever encountered were zero’d in on me. Those eyes, crystal clear and as blue as the Caribbean, poised over a wonderful smile, were an inviting oasis. 

“I’m Donald Alex. Alex. It’s Alsatian…” he said. (He certainly didn’t look like a dog to me!) And we talked. And made a date. My first “real date” with another man.” 

The Date: I went to his apartment to meet. He later protested that this was not intentional; but when I knocked on the unlocked door, it swung open to his living room, across which he sat. Seated on the end of his sofa, a book in his lap in a tableau perfectly lit by the lamp on his end-table. Right. Coincidence.

It was a romantic date, dinner and on to Licorice Pizza, a huge record store (the vinyl kind) the size of a skating rink. It was a great evening, and there was much love to follow. And what that love did for me was show me I was worth loving and that men can love each other. Far beyond and deeper than any of the lusty crushes through self-discovery — the hidden and protected exploration of something seen as dark and unnatural and irresistible; this was something new. A love that touched my core.

Donald was a special and rare man. With the stature of Michael J. Fox and the voice of Brenda Vaccaro and every lyric of every great Broadway Musical indelible in his mind; he could break into song at any moment – and it would take virtually nothing for him to grab his Top Hat and Cane (always handy in the front closet) and burst into “Hello Dolly” at any provocation. 

He was a happy man. Feet on the ground, empathetic, sincere and generous. He gave. He nurtured. He cared. 

I spent the rest of the campaign in the closet, and when it was over moved in with Donald to figure out what to do with my life. I knew I couldn’t return to Washington and Republican politics; being well-aware of the fact there was no room at the table for us. 

Donald, a teacher in Boulder, said that wherever I could find a new career, he would move with me. “Once you have a job, I’ll quit mine and be with you.” Over the coming months, I looked many places until the weekend in 1979 that a former girlfriend showed me San Francisco; to be seduced and embraced by what is now my Home City. 

Donald loved me for who I am, seeing more in me than I even saw in myself. His love was acknowledgement, aspiration, approbation and acceptance all in one. The result of his love was an empowerment and confidence that returned to me — qualities that had been suppressed and shut down through the double life I’d led. 

Donald and I, together, grew apart; as what I came to want was to participate fully in the life, city and world around us and Donald wanted to come home every night, have dinner and watch TV together (now, of course, that’s what I want!!).

Ultimately, we separated. He took the crystal, I took the spices. We remained in sporadic contact as we both lived in San Francisco, though once we began moving around, sometimes years would pass before one would reach out to the other. Always friendly, always loving. 

Then, a few months ago, I had a vivid dream of him. Just he and I, talking. Whenever I have a dream that features someone from my past so vividly, I reach out to them; just to let them know, to be sure they are okay, healthy, happy…or whatever. I see these visions as an elbow nudge from the Universe. 

So, for some reason, this time I called rather than sending an email or text. 

Donald was at his lawyer’s office, waiting to go in and finish the plans for his estate. The for-two-years-diagnosed-as-IBS case had revealed itself to be Stage Four Stomach Cancer. He only had weeks or months to live. 

“Donald, you can’t die; I still have several unkind things to say to you and hundreds of things to blame you for! I’m coming to see you!” There were a number of laughs among the serious talk we than had. (One thing I have discovered as I’ve watched and helped so many people die is the burden of the Elephant in the Room…people can be afraid of this inevitable thing that’s going to happen, so often tend to skirt around it. It makes for a lot of work for the person dying, as they try not to make the visitor feel uncomfortable. Often, just putting it out there and using it takes some of the weight away. At least in my experience.)

A few days later, I was at Hug Point (near Cannon Beach) and was compelled to call him again. Sitting on a log and on the phone with him, something crystallized and suddenly became far more clear to me the magnitude and depth of the gift he had given me. 

“Donald,” I said, “I have to thank you for so much. Not only did you show to me I was worth loving, and point me back toward the world a more confident and empowered man; but, Donald, you gave me my entire life….” 

“Because you loved me, I came out, moved to San Francisco, and have lived an Out and Authentic life ever since. I’ve been able to live without denying who I am…and to live with the consequences. 

“But much more than that, look at the life I’ve led. 

“I’ve been all over the world, creating experiences that move people – some that have changed lives. I’ve been able to give people validation, find community, draw comfort and solace, sow aspiration. I’ve had people tell me about things they’ve seen and by which they’ve been moved without knowing I had anything to do with them. I’ve seen and lived and embraced things I never knew existed, much less thought I’d touch them. …And had wonderful (and not so wonderful!) experiences everywhere.

“I’ve been and been immersed all over the world, and have come away with good relationships and amazing memories from most everywhere (there was that one time…). I could not have written a life as I’ve had.

“Never again have I hidden myself from view. There has been trepidation and hesitation and even fear; none of which has stopped me from moving ahead. I’ve often paid the price for candor and authenticity; always and ultimately comforted, at least, by the fact that there is knowledge honor and confidence inherent even in making a mistake…and I’ve made plenty of those. 

“I’ve had an amazing life which is not over, yet; and I’ve done it all at 100%. 100%. Donald, I owe you my life. Thank you for giving myself to me.”

“It was easy, Kile. You were always there; you just didn’t know it.”

Well, I do now. 

Donald died on Saturday.

Hug Point Waterfall, OR

Popular throughout the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, “IMEX: In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks” is now available in the beautiful and durable Field Edition as well as download from Apple Books. Contact me at kile@kileozier.com for purchase and shipping information.

Link to Apple Books:


Unfortunately, the book is not available through Kindle, Kindle does not publish in landscape. Bummer. I am recording this for Audiobooks, targeted for December.

Many Roads Lead to Rome

NEOM – Near Tabuk, KSA – Sept. 2, 2021 – “Discovering” a Natural Amphitheatre in the Desert.

Some…go to Design School

Some…get an MFA


I’ve been asked by my students and the occasional TEA NextGen about my Career Path.

How did I get to where I am (wherever that is)?

The answer is through trial and error, taking chances, following my nose, embracing opportunity, living the dream and living the nightmare, venturing out on the limb, surviving the falls…sometimes just barely, celebrating the victories…and acknowledging the teams that made those victories possible, knowing we rarely accomplish, alone…making mistakes and learning from them, from hiding neither the error nor the lesson learned from it and seeking the lessons inherent in everything… Trusting in the Universe to support…and learning that while the Universe will always support us, it may not be in the ways we might envision or prefer.

And overall; that nowhere is it written in stone that one must stick with a chosen path when that path turns out to be a bad fit or a mistake. Learn from it, take the lessons along to the Next Thing, and the Next Thing, and the Next…

I do not believe that Everything Happens for a Reason. I do believe that there are lessons inherent in everything that happens. I believe that there is no shame in not knowing an answer, and that the shame is in hiding the not-knowing. I hope to learn every day, with every job and gig and in every relationship. Knowing everything would be boring; n’est-çe pas? I believe that Faking It til You’ Make It is a philosophy founded on a Lie.

I strive to learn openly, to seek and see the best that’s possible in others and give the best that’s possible from me. I believe in encouraging and inspiring others to venture out onto the Limb of What’s Possible. I believe in truth, clarity, integrity, honor and candor (sometimes to my political detriment), in saying what one means, meaning what one says and keeping one’s word…and acknowledging the occasional failure without excuse when one’s word goes unkept.

Those philosophies have made for an interesting journey through Life, and I am fairly certain that it ain’t over, yet. The Career Path has been circuitous, and every job embraced and completed has in some way informed the next one and the next one and those down the line.

So. All that in prelude to the laying out of my Career Path. It is clearly not a Route Planned and Followed; and I don’t know that I would recommend it. When and if I write an autobiography or memoirs, the title will be “Don’t Try This at Home!”

Though, here I am with a veritable wealth of Experience and experiences, a vast panoply of unique friends and unforgettable acquaintances and the knowledge gained from jumping in with both feet, digging in with both hands to every opportunity that appeals.

So. Beginning in 1967:

  • Car Wash (Klamath Falls, OR)
  • Floral Delivery Guy (also Klamath Falls)
  • Stockroom @ Lane Bryant (Also Klamath Falls.)
  • Swim Coach / Lifeguard / City Pool Manager (Yreka, CA)
  • Bartender (Georgetown. DC)
  • Waiter / Bartender Olde Ebbitt Grill (DC)
  • Movie Theatre Manager (Key Theatre – Georgetown)
  • Fly-Ahead / In-Port Program Manager – South Pacific and Asia (Semester at Sea)
  • Waiter / Bartender (Steak & Ale/Orange County Mining Company (Orange, CA)
  • Staff Member Senator Mark O. Hatfield (DC)
  • Staff Member GSA (DC)
  • Staff Member US Dept of State / US Youth Council (DC)
  • National Youth Director President Ford Campaign (DC) 12 Advance Teams x 3 Events per day, Nationwide, General Campaign.
  • Executive Director American Petroleum Refiner’s Association Political Action Committee (DC)
  • Director Tom Wiens for State Treasurer Campaign (Denver)
  • 1979 Came Out. Left Republican Politics. Moved to San Francisco. 
  • Import Coordinator Levi Strauss & Co (SF)
  • Director Corporate Communications San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  • Writer / Reporter Pacific Telesis Corporate Communications (SF) 
  • Show and Event Producer @ FM Productions (SF)
  • December 31, 1979/January 1, 1980 – First appearance onstage at “Beach Blanket Babylon” 
  • 1984 – 1990 Self-Employed / Freelance Ceremony, State Visits of Presidents, Queens, Religious leaders, Quarterbacks, Inaugural and Fleet Week productions, National Theatrical Tours, Writing Team for “Beach Blanket Babylon Goes to the Stars” (with Armistead Maupin and Steve Silver SF) and Producer “Hands Across America” (Chicago), Writer, Director, Producer of National Centennial Tour for Stanford University (raised US$1billion from ballrooms full of weeping millionaires).
  • 1990 – 1995 Self-Employed / Freelance Movie Location Manager Film (Los Angeles) “December,” “Me, Myself and I” many forgettables.
  • 1992 – Candlelight Ceremony National AIDS Memorial Quilt @ Lincoln Memorial. Writer, Producer ,Director. Audience of 250,000
  • 1993 – 1994 Gay Games Opening/Closing Ceremonies Yankee Stadium Producer Director Audience of 60,000
  • 1994 – 1995 Universal Studios Attraction Development
  • 1995 – 1996 Creative Director Universal Studios Florida
  • 1996 – Left Orlando for Manhattan.
  • 1996 – 2008 Self Employed Producer & Consulting Development Officer (NYC) Harvard Law, Babson College, Stanford University Touring Campaign for Undergraduate Education (another $1Billion +), Hamilton College, Mayo Clinic, Hotopp, Carabiner, Jack Morton, ICE, Other agencies
  • 2005 – 2006 Opening Closing Ceremonies Gay Games Soldier Field & Wrigley Field. Writer, Creative Director, Director
  • 2009 – Live Show Producer (Melbourne, Sydney, Perth Australia)
  • 2010 – Specialist and Studio Instructor, Apple SoHo
  • 2011 – Director 50th Anniversary Celebrations Amnesty International – USA (NYC)
  • 2012 – Launched the Blog: https://imho.kileozier.com/ 
  • 2012 – 2013 Studio Instructor Apple SF
  • 2013 – 2016 to Dubai – State and Dubai National Day Ceremonies, Brand Experience and Product Launches, Motiongate Theme Park, Dubai Eye, Opened YAS Waterworld, Wrote/Directed “Hoyamal!” Pearl Diving Show, also for YAS Waterworld.
  • 2016 – return to SF for several months. Met an amazing guy.
  • 2016 – return to Dubai to write Live Show and Streetmosphere strategy with EXPO2020DUBAI
  • 2017 – return to SF self employment and My Amazing Guy. Palo Alto History Museum
  • 2017 – 2019 Looking for work. (SF) Lyft Driver
  • 2019 – Consulting Creative Director – Freeman XP/San Francisco
  • 2020 – COVID – dead in the water. Built the Book: “IMEx – In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks


  • April 2021 – July 2022 – Director of Concept Integrity @ SELA Parks and Events, Saudi Arabia (Festivals, Ceremonies, Destination Design.

and, btw:


  • Georgetown University School of Foreign Service BS – Graduated on Schedule
  • Italian Studies Center of Portland State U at Pavia Italy – Sophomore Year
  • Chapman College – now Chapman University – 2nd Frosh Semester
  • Semester at Sea – 1st Frosh Semester


Popular throughout the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, “IMEX: In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks” is now available in the beautiful and durable Field Edition as well as download from Apple Books. Contact me at kile@kileozier.com for purchase and shipping information.

Link to Apple Books:


Unfortunately, the book is not available through Kindle, Kindle does not publish in landscape. Bummer. I am recording this for Audiobooks, targeted for December.