By Bill Parry
The borough’s LGBT community lost a towering figure when Morris Mones died Sept. 1 just before his 90th birthday. Mones was a founding member of the Queens Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, known as PFLAG, and he was a former board vice president and treasurer of the organization.
“Mark’s legacy as one of the first fathers to openly support his gay son over 25 years ago will always be remembered by those of us in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities,” City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “His contributions are tremendously significant especially because in the early days few fathers were willing to fight for the rights of their gay children.”
At PFLAG meetings, originally held at the Church on the Hill in Flushing and now at the Reform Synagogue of Forest Hills, Mones would talk to other fathers about his unconditional love for both of his sons — Eric, who is straight, and Glenn, who is gay. He led by example, supporting and educating parents about homosexuality.
Mones was married to Selma Mones who died in 2010. She was involved in the PFLAG Queens chapter — staffing the group’s hotline from their Rego Park home. The couple was honored for their work by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall in 2009.
“Together they were quite a team,” Dromm said. “The counseled parents who had just found out their child was LGBT — oftentimes during late night or early morning phone calls.”
Mones worked as a public relations specialist promoting Broadway shows and representing top celebrities. He used his skills from his job to promote PFLAG and often secured tickets to Broadway shows to be raffled off at PFLAG fund-raising events.
“Mark was a lovely person,” PFLAG Queens Chapter President Anne Quashen said. “He was always there for us. His son Glenn came out to him when he was 31. Mark was always so supportive of both his children. Mark was a joyful person, always full of life. He was a pleasure to be around, and I will miss him dearly.”
Mones is survived by his sons and Eric’s wife Teresa. His funeral was held Tuesday at Schwartz Brothers Chapel in Forest Hills and he was buried at Beth Moses Cemetery in Farmingdale, Long Island.
“Mark was a great dancer and could cut a rug at any occasion,” Dromm’s mother, Audrey Gallagher, said. “He and Selma attended almost every Queens Winter Pride event from its inception where we would dance the night away. Along with Anne and Larry Nelson, the group’s current outreach and media director, we formed a deep bond. We were like family in so many ways spending holidays, summer vacations and monthly dinners with each other, I will sorely miss him and his advocacy for the LGBT communities.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr