A craftsman, socialite and expert on 18th-century culture, MARK BUCKO, 38, died of AIDS December 6. The founder of Bucko Freres Ltd., a Philadelphia design studio, Bucko “fancied himself a holdover from the 1700s,” said his partner, Wallace Umberger. “That period molded his life. He wouldn’t allow even plastic in the house.” An award-winning needlepoint artist with a penchant for velvet, Bucko “could be termed an eccentric,” Umberger said. “In the winter he’d tumble out of the house in a raccoon coat and hat and velvet slippers.”

PAUL CORSER, 37, program officer of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), died of AIDS January 4. In 1991, Corser developed AmFAR’s Community-Based Clinical Trials program, which tested AIDS drugs in local health centers.  “Paul’s intelligence and commitment to ending AIDS was unequaled,” said his colleagues in a newspaper obituary. “We will miss his support as we develop the community-based research agenda he helped us build for so many years.” Also on the board of New York City’s Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, Corser oversaw AmFAR’s grantmaking program.

SIMON TSEKO NKOLI, 41, a beloved anti-apartheid leader in South Africa died of AIDS November 30. Pioneering as an openly HIV positive gay man, Nkoli challenged the notion held by many African leaders that being gay is “un-African.” He was known worldwide as the father of South Africa’s black gay movement. As a result of his political activism, Nkoli was jailed for three years in the mid-’80s. Nkoli remained a prominent member of the African National Congress until his death.