Friends, family and community leaders came out to pay their respects to Rispoli, 62, who was out walking late near his home in Sunnyside when he was attacked by three men and left him in a coma. Five days later Rispoli was taken off life support and died.
Rispoli, who was active in local arts and gay-rights issues, lived with Danyal Lawson, his partner of 31 years and legal husband for one. The two met on the subway in 1980 and raised two daughters together. Thanking the crowd gathered on Saturday, Lawson said, “I lost the love of my life.”
Mark Horn, a longtime friend of Rispoli, told Gay City News:
[T]hat even before there was God’s Love We Deliver, Rispoli was cooking meals and delivering them to people with AIDS in the neighborhood. Rispoli’s involvement in LGBT rights went back to the Gay Academic Union in the 1970s. He was also secretary to the legendary out gay composer Virgil Thomson for many years.