Name and location of repository
Level of description
John McCluskey and Rudy Henry Papers
Name of creator
Rudolph “Rudy” Henry Jr. was born on July 14, 1934, on a farm near Fresno, California. He was born to Tomas Enrique Filva (also known as Rudolph or Thomas Henry) and Ann Finley, a Mono tribe member, but was raised by his Aunt Teresa Silvia Miranda, also a Mono tribe member, and her husband Francisco Bustamante Miranda. Henry served in the U.S. Air Force from 1954-1958 in Germany. When Henry was honorably discharged, he moved to San Francisco and worked at TransAmerica for 25 years. He then moved to Tacoma in 1983 with McCluskey and participated in local activism for gay rights. Henry passed away on March 16, 2023, in Tacoma at 88 years old (1).
John McCluskey was born on September 9, 1936 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma to Lillian and Daniel McCluskey. He was drafted in 1950, but due to his openness about his sexuality, was rejected by the Army (2). He was transferred to Tacoma in 1983 by his job, the St. Regis Paper Company, and Henry moved with him (1). McCluskey participated in many gay rights campaigns in Tacoma, Pierce County, and Washington for the three decades before his death (2)(3). McCluskey passed away on May 25,2022 at age 85 at a Tacoma long-term care facility (2).
Rudy Henry and John McCluskey met at a New Years Eve party in San Francisco in 1958. On April 1, 1959 they made the commitment to live together as spouses. After nearly 50 years together as a couple, they were issued the first marriage license given to a same-sex couple in Pierce County on December 6, 2012. Their wedding was held a few days later in the First United Methodist Church on Dec 15th (1).
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Scope and content
Includes photographs taken by photographer Joe Becker of the marriage ceremony of Rudy Henry and John McCluskey, the first same-gender couple to be issued a marriage license in Pierce County. Also includes a slideshow created by Geoff Corso which was shared at the celebration of life ceremony held in memory of John McCluskey and Rudy Henry following their deaths.