William A. 'Skip' Harting III, 37, active in fight against AIDS

November 19, 1995|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

William A. "Skip" Harting III, a tireless advocate on behalf of people who are HIV positive, died Nov. 12 of acquired immune deficiency syndrome at Union Memorial Hospital. The Ednor Gardens resident was 37.

Mr. Harting who was diagnosed with AIDS nearly nine years ago, became an outspoken crusader for safe sex, educating the public about AIDS. He spoke at high schools, colleges and churches.

In 1988, he spoke at the Maryland State AIDS Convention held at the Lord Baltimore Hotel and at a forum for educators at Springfield State Hospital.

"He had some real odds to fight against in his life," said Ned Geraty, a psychologist with Behavioral Science Associates in Lutherville. "He was always able to turn an unfortunate experience around and make it beneficial."

In the late 1980s, Mr. Harting established Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for those who were HIV positive at Emmanuel Episcopal Church and Grace and St. Peter's Episcopal Church.

"He was a very winsome young man who loved being here every Thursday night at the meeting he established here in 1988," said the Rev. Thomas L. Culbertson, rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

A professional chef, Mr. Harting began his restaurant career in 1983 at Peter's Pub and later was banquet manager at the Tremont Plaza Hotel. He was a chef at Love's Restaurant for a year before establishing a catering company, Viator, in 1991.

In 1989, Mr. Harting, Joseph L. Myers, Bob Mehl, and Dr. David Glasser founded Moveable Feast, which delivers meals to homebound people with AIDS and their children who have the human immunodeficiency virus.

"Skip was our first chef and operations coordinator when we opened Moveable Feast," said Joe Myers, executive director of the program. "This effort began out of a conversation Skip had with one of those people who was sick with AIDS and had no food and no one to help him. We began serving 15 people four meals a week and now serve 3,000 meals five days a week. This program continues on because of an idea that had originated in him."

Mr. Myers described him as "feisty and very committed to helping those who couldn't help themselves."

"He couldn't stand to pass a homeless person on the street and not give them something," said his mother, Nancy C. S. Harting of Towson. "He truly believed that you served God by helping others."

Born in Baltimore and raised in Severna Park on the Magothy River, Mr. Harting was a 1976 graduate of the Severn School and studied liberal arts at the College of Notre Dame.

He began sailing when he was 9 and enjoyed coaching a Little League softball team. He liked to paint maritime subjects.

He was a member of the Health Education Resource Organization.

Services were conducted last night. He is survived by his father, William A. Harting Jr. of Queenstown; a brother, Brian D. Harting of Towson; two sisters, Chris R. Harting of Miami, and Susan LeVac of Kauai, Hawaii; his life companion, Barry D. Harris; a nephew, and two nieces.

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