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After a 22-year battle, man succumbs to AIDS

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 14, 2003



* * *

GUERNSEY ESTATES -- Few lived with AIDS longer than Patrick Gladue.

Mr. Gladue was diagnosed 22 years ago.

It was a mysterious and untreatable disease at that time, one that barely had a name, and people who contracted it usually died.

"You have no idea how hard this man fought," said his partner, Gary Phillips. "He was so strong."

It was a fight that Mr. Gladue couldn't win.

He died March 6 at his South Tampa home at age 45.

"He had been really sick since October," Phillips said. "Some people claim they saw it earlier. Maybe I was in denial, or maybe because I lived with him and saw him every day, I didn't see it."

Mr. Gladue kept working at his long-time job at the Colonnade Restaurant until just a couple of months ago.

"His coworkers loved him," said Mark Whiteside, a Colonnade manager and friend. "He's the one who always brought in the flowers that everyone talked about. The customers just loved his flowers."

Mr. Gladue had worked at the Colonnade for 12 years, and did a little of everything. He was a cashier, a waiter and a fill-in assistant manager.

Although he had already been battling disease for a decade when he joined the restaurant, his disposition seemed bright.

"He was more concerned with other people," Whiteside said. "If someone was out sick, he'd always ask how they were doing."

Mr. Gladue was born in France and moved to South Tampa with his family when he was about 2 years old. At age 15, he became a U.S. citizen.

He moved around the country and was living in the Denver area when he met Phillips 14 years ago. They returned to Tampa to escape the cold and shared the house Mr. Gladue grew up in.

"He knew everyone and everyone knew him," Phillips said. "We'd go to the grocery store and he'd have to stop and talk to half the people in the store."

Over the years, Mr. Gladue took an assortment of medications. He shifted his regimen every time the virus mutated or became immune to one drug, or new treatments became available.

A couple of months ago, his illness became so severe that he had to give up his job. He lost weight, developed pneumonia and declined mentally.

Health care workers could do little.

Phillips brought him home.

Besides Phillips, Mr. Gladue is survived by brothers Peter and Paul, both of whom live in Pinellas County, a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, two nephews and a niece.

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