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Obituaries: Irene Smith

January 23, 1945 — April 4, 2021San Francisco lost one of its greathearted citizens when the beloved Irene Smith, the first person to offer massage to people with AIDS, left her body from complications of esophageal cancer. As she transitioned, the woman whose touch was the last loving contact that so many received prior to their deaths was surrounded 24/7 by equally selfless caregivers who ensured she could die in her longtime Cole Valley garret.Irene may have been born in Seattle, but it was the fierce independent spirit of a staunchly idiosyncratic Texan and niece of country singer Hank Williams that lived within her.

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