Baker Cemetery, Guilford, VT 05301
Ron Squires (November 9, 1951 - January 8, 1993) was a Vermont state representative. An eighth-generation Vermonter, Squires was elected in 1990 as Vermont's first openly gay legislator. In the general election held on November 6, 1990, he defeated Republican incumbent Sam Hunt by 38 votes. He was re-elected unopposed in 1992 but died just days after being sworn-in for his second term in January 1993. He had served five years on the Democratic National Committee.
A Guilford Democrat, Ronald M. Squires was sworn in few days before dying to his second term in a special ceremony at the hospital. House Speaker Ralph Wright and House Clerk Robert Picher drove to Brattleboro for the swearing-in after the Legislature's formal Statehouse ceremonies.
The House amended its rules to allow the hospital ceremony.
Squires, who was openly gay, worked in the last Legislature to win approval of a civil rights law protecting homosexuals from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, making Vermont the sixth state in the nation to extend such protection to gay men and lesbians.
Squires was vice chairman of the House Government Operations Committee in the last session and was in line to become chairman the year of his death. He also served five years on the Democratic National Committee and was leader of the Vermont delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1988.
He did not publicly disclosed that he had AIDS until few days before dying. He died on January 8, 1993, at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. He was 41. A hospital spokeswoman, Barbara Gentry, said Squires had died from viral meningitis, an AIDS-related illness.
In 1993, shortly after Ron's death, Shirley Squires, Ron's mother, participated in her first AIDS Project Walk for Life, an annual fundraiser. Since that first walk Shirley and her walk pledge supporters have become the largest donors to the project. In 2016, Ron's then-85-year-old crusader mother, raised $20,726 from over 500 individuals and that brought the total amount she has raised for the AIDS Project to $300,000. She also served on the organization's board for six years and that increased her appreciation for the work they do. She feels it is important that all funds raised locally stay here to help people in this area. She said, "When I first started the walks it brought Ronnie closer to me. The first walk was four months after he died." She continues to feel that closeness to her son after all of these years because she feels that she is keeping his spirit alive every time she participates in the yearly walk.
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