Buff Carmichael, a long time activist and former newspaper publisher, has passed away. Carmichael passed away in his Springfield home the morning of Sunday, March 21, after a long battle with cancer.
He was preceded in death by his husband Jerry Bowman in 2008.
Carmichael founded the Prairie Flame, the first LGBTQ newspaper to serve downstate LGBTQ communities, in 1996. He also served as a co-chair of the 2013 March on Springfield for Marriage Equality and was a co-founder of the Coalition of Rainbow Alliances (CORAL) in Springfield. He had also been involved with Springfield’s AIDS Memorial Labryinth, Central Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force, GLAD, PFLAG and SARA Center-Fifth Street Renaissance.
In recent months, Carmichael has also been honored by statewide organization Equality Illinois for his activism and has been profiled by the Windy City Times, the State Journal-Register and Illinois Times.
“When I was 26, I lost my father to a heart attack without warning and felt terrible,” said Brian Sylvester, a friend of Carmichael’s and member of CORAL. “There were so many things I never told my father at that time because I thought I had the time. I learned from that experience. With Buff, I’m so glad that I had taken the time to let him know what he meant to me over the years. His passing may still hurt but I can rest easy that he knew where my heart was.”
“Buff mentored me in all things non-profit and helped me make some of the difficult decisions I’ve made recently along with being like an uncle to me,” said Tiffany Lapp. “What struck me most about Buff was his unending LOVE. He had every reason to dislike a lot of people, and maybe he wasn’t buddies with them, but he never held negative feelings in his heart for anyone and made his choices based on what Jesus would do, which was show others unconditional love.”
He remained active and involved with the local LGBTQ community. His yard would host socially-distanced gatherings with other people during the coronavirus pandemic.
We will publish arrangements when they become available.