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Susan Polk

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A special light always shined on my brother, Art. Donít get me wrong, my parents truly love me and my three sisters, but he was their perfect son.
Arthur Harold Speck, Jr. - he was bright; he was witty; he was handsome. His prom pictures show a dashing young man with a killer smile. He had an incredible range of interests and talents. He could reel in stripers with our dad in the morning, and come evening, don an impeccably tailored suit while selecting the finest wine for dinner.
He was ambitious. He started off working in our family business, Captain Speckís U-Drive Boats. When he moved to Philadelphia, he worked in many aspects of the restaurant and catering business. He later made a successful career of restoring properties in up and coming neighborhoods.
Despite his drive to succeed, he never lost his good humor and sense of fun. A favorite memory is of the Christmas when he purchased little wind-up toys for all the children and adults in our family. We crawled all over the kitchen floor, laughing in delight over our treasures.
For this son of the bay, the world certainly was his oyster.
Then in the fall of 1993 I received the call from Artís partner that Artís world, and that of our family, would be forever changed. Art had AIDS. My heart stopped and tears ran down my face. By itself, the knowledge of Artís illness would have been unbearable enough, but it was now my job to break the devastating news to my parents. Now, keep in mind, that at that time, a diagnosis of AIDS was for all intents and purposes, a death sentence.
We lost Artie on January 5,1994 at the age of 34. He contracted pneumonia and the AIDS virus would not allow his body to fight it off.
Our time with Art was a gift and a blessing. He enriched our lives and brought us great joy. He is with us and watches over us as we raise money for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance and walk in the NJ AIDS Walk. Glasses of Cabernet and gourmet meals bring him closer. On sailing, fishing and clamming trips he is at our side. He is with us at holiday gatherings, encouraging our silly pranks and funny stories. The disease may have claimed his body, but his spirit remains among us.
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