A memorial service for Dennis Vercher III, 53, senior editor of the Dallas Voice, will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 14 at Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas.
Vercher, who had been on the Voice staff since 1985 and senior editor of the paper since 1986, died Sept. 27 at his home in Oak Lawn, surrounded by family and friends. He died of a lung infection brought on by his 20-year battle with AIDS, which had been complicated by his diagnosis with Hodgkin’s lymphoma earlier this year.
Vercher was a native of Orange, Texas, and lived most of his early life in West Orange. He graduated with honors from West Orange High School in 1971 where he had won first place in state in debate during his junior year. He also won state and local awards in debate and in architectural drafting.
After high school, Vercher attended Lamar University in Beaumont, where he also excelled in debate, placing fourth in the Pi Kappa Delta forensic fraternity’s nation competition in Philadelphia. That same year, he won the William B. Casey Award, the top honor given to a junior or senior student in the communications department at the school.
Vercher was an adjunct instructor in the Lamar communications department and directed the university’s debate teams for three years after graduating from the school. He left Lamar in 1978 to become a radio journalist at AM and FM radio stations in Beaumont, where he worked until moving to Dallas in 1981 with his life partner, J. Farron Campbell, who he met and fell in love with in the summer of 1978.
Vercher joined the Dallas Voice staff in 1985 as a typographer and graphic artist. He was promoted to editor in 1986, quickly becoming known in the Dallas LGBT community and in the press as an exacting editor who was devoted to the ideals of fair and balanced coverage.
Vercher was president of the Texas chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for two terms.
Vercher first tested positive for HIV in 1985 and was one of the longest-term HIV survivors in Dallas County. He often attributed his dedication to his work, his 20-year association with his physician, Dr. Brady L. Allen, and the steadfast love and support of his life partner with his longevity.
Vercher was an avid amateur horticulturalist and longtime member of the Society for Louisiana Irises. He and Campbell edited the organization’s newsletter for seven years, and in 1996 Vercher won the society’s Service Award for his work in producing a special publication devoted to modern Louisiana iris hybrids. He also co-edited the second edition of “The Louisiana Iris: The Taming of a Native American Wildflower,” published by Timber Press in 2000.
Vercher’s greatest passion, however, was playing the organ. He played professionally while living in Beaumont, serving as organist at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church there. He said the best day of his life was when the movers delivered the secondhand organ he and Campbell had bought from a church in upstate New York.
Vercher’s final professional accomplishment was writing “Deskbook of Style and Usage for Gay and Lesbian Writers,” a stylebook for the editors and writers of Dallas Voice.
Vercher was preceded in death by his beloved mother, Betty Sue Vercher, who died of lung cancer in 1996.
He is survived by Campbell who lives in Dallas; his father Dennis “Pete” Vercher of Hemphill, Texas; his brothers and sisters-in-law, James and Janice Vercher of Lufkin and Don and Donna Vercher of Orange. He is also survived by four nieces, two great-nephews, one great-niece, an aunt and uncle and five cousins, as well as his beloved dachshunds, Chester and Kaylee.
Vercher fell in love with Yosemite Valley, with Half-Dome Rock at one end of the valley and Yosemite Falls at the other end, and he has requested that Campbell scatter his ashes near his favorite, Bridal Veil Falls in the spring “when the waterfalls are roaring.”
David Delgado, 23, died of natural causes following a seizure on Sept. 30 at his residence in Dallas.
Delgado was a native of Mexico who had lived in Dallas for several years. He worked at the IHOP on East Mockingbird Lane.
His friends described him as a little guy with a pleasant smile and a big heart.
He was a friend to everyone he met.
He leaves a void in the northeast corner of the Round-Up Saloon dance floor, a place that he loved to visit frequently, and he will be dearly missed by Paul, Donnie, Skip, Steve, Patrick, Roger, Luigi, Billy and many others from “The Corner.”
Delgado is survived by his family in Tyler. Funeral services were held Thursday in Tyler.