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Milford Decker, "He fought for all to be accepted, no exceptions"

By HILARY LANE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A man best known for his voice within the local gay community passed away from bladder cancer over the weekend at the age of 75.

Milford Decker wore many hats; he was a pastor, a father of five, grandfather of 10, a loving partner, and most publicly, a vocal supporter of gay rights.

"He was a loving person. He was very giving and personified Christ," said Jeff Sterling, Decker's partner. "He would feed anyone who would come to the house. For decades, he would do potluck dinners."

The pot luck dinners hosted by Decker brought together dozens of people within the local gay and straight community. It was a time where people could feel comfortable and secure in who they were without having to hide their true identity.

In addition to being openly gay himself, Decker was a gay rights activist involved with Pride Along the Mohawk, an organizer of LGBT events and dances, and was an active supporter of marriage equality, writing letters and lobbying local, state, and national political leaders.

"He would want to be remembered for giving and wanted people to know that everyone should be accepted. No exceptions," Sterling said.

A rainbow flag waves above their East Utica home, a signal that all are welcome with open arms and without judgment.

"He will be greatly missed by everyone in the community," said Sterling.

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