I was talking to a friend recently who reminded me of his own coming out story. He recalled that it was a stressful time for him, and how I referred him to Tim Schapp, my friend, colleague and a local psychotherapist.
I liked Tim and respected his ability to help patients develop insight into their own issues. He worked hard, and was always available to work another patient into his busy schedule. My friend said that Tim was a huge help to him. He said that he “never would have gotten through that time without Tim.”
I met Tim’s sister, Laurie Coleman, earlier this year when she was visiting Rochester. We met for dinner and got acquainted. Of course, we talked about Tim. Recently, she sent me some thoughts about her brother. As I read her comments, I thought about how much more he could have accomplished if he had lived.
Sadly, Tim Schapp was a part of the young, talented generation whose lives and careers were interrupted by the AIDS epidemic, but not before he helped a lot of people.
From Laurie Coleman:
Tim Schapp was my “baby” brother. Five years separated us. As children, we tolerated each other, but as adults we were two halves of the same heart. We lived in the same neighborhood in the Park Ave area and I asked him to be the godfather to my first child, Scott.
Old photo albums show that I never missed having goofy celebrations for his birthdays. He left roses for me in a special art deco vase every Friday. We shared the same wicked sense of humor. One of the ways Tim showed this was his request that his funeral service be Black Tie Optional. It was.
Tim shared his HIV diagnosis with me in 1988 and he died in 1995 at the age of 45. For the first five years, I was sure that he would be one of the people who would “beat” this ugly disease.
Tim was a well-respected psychotherapist in Rochester. It was very important to him that he keep his condition quiet because he was still helping so many people, and in the late 80’s and early 90s, the stigma of the AIDS epidemic was still huge.
One of the things he did in his practice was start a support group for gay men. Many of these same men came up to me at Tim’s funeral and said that they felt he saved their lives – literally in some cases. Often, people would ask him, “Who is YOUR therapist?” and he always replied, “My sister”.
Thank you, Laurie. Rest well, Tim.