Several years ago, I met Mark “Spanky” Bialous. He had come to Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County (GAAMC) with friends from the New Jersey Leather community to broaden the horizons of the members and guests. His was a fresh perspective, energetic yet gentle, and he had a way of making you feel that you were one of his dearest friends, even if you had just met. My dear friend, Spanky, passed away from esophageal cancer on April 5 at the age of 44.
Spanky’s work as Mr. New Jersey Leather 2008 saw him traveling everywhere, expanding knowledge and minds wherever he went. He shared stories of his upbringing and aspects of his life that left me feeling closer to him at every turn, even when I felt wrapped in his warmth. Founder of the Jersey Boys of Leather, member of the Imperial Court of New York, Novice of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Foreplay Entertainment Coordinator, volunteer for Leather Pride Night and Team Eagle, Spanky was always doing for othersalways moving forward, always bringing people together.
Raising thousands of dollars for New Jersey causesfor the Foodbank of Monmouth Ocean, the Center in Asbury Park, JPI, Breaking the Cycle, the NJ Aids Ride, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, and many other local and national charities, Spanky’s tireless work has ended on earth for him. Now that he’s Beyond, you know those leather angels are moving and shaking.
Spanky, you leave behind miles of smiles as those of us who love you still remember you and carry your work ever forward. You’re in my heart as you’ve always been since we met that long ago day in March at GAAMC.