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Tim Mains honored with posthumous key to the city of Rochester

Tim Mains.jpg
CITY Magazine/File Photo
Former Rochester City Councilmember and city school district official, Tim Mains

Friends and relatives of Tim Mains honored the life of the former Rochester city councilmember and educator on Saturday. Mains died suddenly at his home in the Hudson Valley in the Town of Wallkill on Dec. 30; he was 73.

The funeral services were held both virtually and in-person at Asbury Methodist Church in Rochester. Several past and present city and state officials attended and eulogized Mains, who became the first openly gay public official, when he was elected in 1986.

Mains' husband of 15 years, David Phillip Gardner, said that Mains always had a positive perspective.

Longtime friend, Assemblymember Harry Bronson, said he met Mains when they were both involved in serving at the Out Alliance. He said Mains was a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community.

"He was courageous in his activism, said Bronson. "(He was) willing to be visible and vocal at a time when the norm was rejection from your family, termination from your job, and assaults and attacks on the sidewalks simply for being your authentic self."

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans also spoke at the service, saying he got to know Mains during his time as president of the Rochester School Board. Evans was liaison to school 50, where Mains was principal. He said Mains would often complete unusual tasks, like climbing the school's roof, to inspire and motivate his staff and students.

"Another time I went to visit the school, he taped himself to the wall because they had read a certain number of books," said Evans.

Evans said that Mains' commitment to education and the community inspired his own political aspirations.

"His legacy will live on to those who were blessed to know him," said Evans.

Evans presented a proclamation giving his first key to the city of Rochester to Mains, and Main’s family accepted on his behalf.

April Franklin is an occasional local host of WXXI's Weekend Edition.