For almost 15 years it was my delight and joy to know Terry Gauchat. It is with a very heavy heart on this New Year’s Eve that I write this last blog post of the year, as a tribute to one of my dearest friends here in San Francisco. We lost Terry this December, just a few days after his appearance in our Christmas Cabaret show. In addition to being partner to Chris Franz and a loving daddy to their two adorable beagles, Terry was Vanessa’s exclusive photographer for the past five years and webmaster of this website that we created and built together. Words cannot express how saddened I am by Terry’s unexpected passing.

Terry absolutely loved appearing in our Tenderloin Tessie Christmas Cabaret show, and he did so the past three years. Always wanting to sing the same song each year, Terry performed a traditional Basque carol, “Gabriel’s Message”. With a sacred text about the angel Gabriel’s visitation to the Virgin Mary, it is a song of rejoicing for “the lady most highly favored”, and Terry sang it every time with such enthusiasm and delight.

That this song, sung for Tenderloin Tessie, would be the last public declaration from Terry says so much about him as a person. For Terry, the Christmas season was celebrated most authentically at Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners. He believed in our work so much and was always childlike in his preparation to perform for us. Now an angel himself, Terry will always be remembered by Tenderloin Tessie as “Gabriel”.

Terry performs “Gabriel’s Message” in 2018

Terry performs “Gabriel’s Message” in 2017

The joy of collaborating with my friend Terry as subject in front of his camera was an absolute delight. Terry was a genius with lighting and staging a photo. This website that we built together with all of the images we created is a living memorial and tribute to our work together. Although I have lost a cherished friend and a trusted collaborator, Terry’s vision lives on here at and in the hearts of those of us who had the honor of knowing and loving him. Terry’s heart was big, and his love of beauty, his friends and life is an example that I shall never forget. Rest In Peace, my angel Gabriel…Terry Gauchat.