For Gentry, Orange County's first and only openly homosexual elected official and an associate dean of students at UC Irvine, deciding to be tested for AIDS was an anguishing choice that he had put off again and again.
After Gary Burdick, his longtime companion died on January 24, 1989, of AIDS related disease, Laguna Beach Mayor Robert F. Gentry learned that he had tested negative for the virus that causes the deadly disease.
Around Orange County, experts on AIDS said they hoped Gentry's experience will persuade others at risk of having the disease to conquer their fears and be tested.
Still, Gentry said, he mourns Burdick. "Since Gary died, I've been waking up in the middle of the night, between 3 and 4, for at least an hour or so."
Living without Burdick, not being able to share something as important as a negative test for the HIV, "is very, very hard," Gentry said.
Leadership roles are nothing new for Robert F. Gentry (known by friends as Bob). He served 3 terms as mayor of Laguna Beach, California, impacts the community by volunteering, and is Waikiki Health Center's current Board President.
A patient, Bob knows about our services first-hand. To show his appreciation for what Waikiki Health Center has done in his life, and for the community, Bob chooses to be a volunteer and donor.
Bob also decided to support Waikiki Health Center through planned giving. "I know Waikiki Health Center provides great services that the community should benefit from for generations," explains Bob. "And the process for including them in my will was easy."
With dedication and generosity, Bob has been a great leader of Waikiki Health Center.