Kazas Jones Lived Life As Example Of How To Keep Living With Aids

Kazas Jones used to say: "Everyone talks about how to die with AIDS, but nobody talks about how to live with it."

The way Mr. Jones lived with AIDS was by getting involved in his community and talking about the disease and ways to prevent it.

As an African-American man, Mr. Jones made a special effort to educate other African-American men about the disease because he had seen too many die from it, said his partner Michael Hanrahan.

"Kaz was amazing at his determination to survive. Again and again, he had debilitating bouts with his disease, but he surprised all of us by bouncing back," recalled Hanrahan. "It's hard to believe he's gone."

Mr. Jones died Sunday of an AIDS-related illness. He was 42.

"Kaz lived his life as an example of how you could live with this disease," said P. Catlin Fullwood, director of People of Color Against AIDS Network (POCAAN). "He showed that this was a struggle, but one that could be assured a high quality of life. It was about living with AIDS, not living with death."

Patricia McInturff, regional director in charge of AIDS programs for the Seattle/King County Department of Public Health, described him as a caring man who also challenged people.

"You couldn't get lazy with Kaz," she said. "He wouldn't let you."

Born and raised in Center, Texas, Mr. Jones attended Texas Tech, where he received degrees in music and speech pathology.

After college, he joined the U.S. Air Force and became an officer serving in the Arctic, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Germany.

Mr. Jones came to Seattle in the 1980s, working at Boeing Field during his service in the United States.

In 1986, while in Hamburg, Germany, he was diagnosed HIV-positive and placed on medical leave. He retired later that year and returned to Seattle to be with friends.

Soon after, Mr. Jones became active in promoting AIDS awareness and prevention in the community with a special focus on African-American men.

He helped found POCAAN and AIDS Housing of Washington, which built the Bailey Boushay House.

Mr. Jones also served on its advisory council for Bailey Boushay, the city's AIDS hospice, helping plan and design the facility.

Hanrahan recalled that Mr. Jones wanted to ensure the hospice worked for people living with AIDS.

"While everyone agreed on bringing in artists to make it elegant, Kaz reminded them that you can't wheel an IV cart over a cobblestone court," said Hanrahan.

McInturff, who worked with Mr. Jones on AIDS Housing of Washington, credits him with giving the facility a human touch.

"He was concerned about the furniture, the rooms, how they should look and feel," she said. "He'd say, `These are real people living with this disease. Don't forget that.' "

Mr. Jones later served on the Governor's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and the HIV/AIDS Planning Council, a group which oversees the allocation of federal funds for AIDS patients in the region.

Last year, Nordstrom awarded Mr. Jones a community service award for his contributions to AIDS awareness in communities of color.

"He made his quality of life," said Fullwood. "But he knew there would be lots of other people with the disease who may not have the knowledge or the support network he had. That's why he was so passionate about his work. He wanted to make sure that no African-American died alone or in silence."

Mr. Jones was also an active member of Seattle's Mount Zion Baptist Church, where he sang tenor in the church's Inspirational Chorus.

Phyllis Byrdwell, director of the choir, said Mr. Jones served as choir president and continued to sing even when his illness worsened.

"He was a faithful member who helped in any way he could," she said. "The choir is like a community, and Kaz was a vital member of that community. As one of the section leaders, he was calling all the time, making sure folks were where they were suppose to be for rehearsals and performances. He's going to be missed."

Mr. Jones is survived by his father, John T. Jones of Center, Tex., and a sister, Barbara Jacobs of Los Angeles.

A funeral is to be tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave. Remembrances may be made to POCAAN, 1200 S. Jackson St., 98144.