We are mourning the loss of one of the pioneers of gay-owned businesses in Palm Springs, Dick Haskamp.  Dick passed away at home on Sunday.  UPDATE:  Memorial set for March 17th at Eight4Nine. Details on our Events Calendar.

Dick was not only a business leader, but also a community leader who selflessly helped individuals and organizations in Palm Springs over his lifetime.  We’ll have a full obituary in our weekend blog and newsletter.  And we will update you on Facebook and on the site.

Dick Haskamp with Alex McCune from Gay Desert Guide

Dick was a member of the board of directors at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert.  He and Executive Directors Mike Thompson shared a close personal friendship as well.  Mike wrote, “Thanks for making a lasting impression on our community and my heart. I love you…and that sassy grin and those sparkling eyes of yours will linger in my heart for my lifetime.” 

The Center staff and Board of Directors posted this tribute:

“(We) are grief-stricken at Dick Haskamp's passing. Dick was a Palm Springs legend. After having moved to the Coachella Valley in 1990, from Michigan, by way of Santa Monica, he was the godfather of what is now Palm Springs' gay business district – Arenas Road, with his purchase and opening of Streetbar, the longest running bar serving the LGBT community in the desert at 26 years! In 2017, Dick and business partner Mike Cullen expanded the Streetbar brand and opened Streetbar Puerto Vallarta.

While Dick was synonymous with Streetbar, he also dedicated his life, time and resources to our local LGBT community, serving on the boards of the original Desert Gay Rodeo Association, Desert Business Association, Palm Springs Desert Gay Tourism Guild, AIDS Assistance Program, and The LGBT Community Center of the Desert. Despite all his work, Dick was no stranger to fun, as those who saw him perform as Shirley I-da-ho with the Les Dames du Soleil can attest. Dick was the first Community Grand Marshal of the Palm Springs Pride Parade, and in 2014, was honored with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, just down the street from where Dick left his most indelible mark on our community.

We will hold his memory and spirit in our hearts forever. In fact, our CEO was meeting with Dick this week to let him know we were honoring him at our Center Stage Gala with the Legacy Award, recognizing his lasting impact on our community. Our plans are to still to do so posthumously.”

Streetbar manager David Farnsworth told me today: "We are planning a life celebration March 17-the venue to be confirmed this coming week.We will post details as we have them on our Streetbar’s website and social media. We, his staff at Streetbar are heartbroken,but know how loved he was by our community."

On a personal note, Dick was my first LGBT bar advertiser when I started Gay Desert Guide five years ago.  And I was the only publication in which Streetbar advertised.  Dick believed in my vision, but he also supported me because I supported our community and especially The LGBT Center of the Desert.  I'll miss his quick wit and sage advice!