September 1, 2019 at 12:06 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Longtime Gay Men’s Chorus member Russell Capps dies at 54
Russell Capps, gay news, Washington Blade
Russell Craig ‘Russ’ Capps

Russell Craig ‘Russ’ Capps, a longtime resident of Kensington, Md., who worked for most of his career as a chief financial officer and chief operating officer for large non-profit organizations and who served many years as a singer and board member of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., died Aug. 19 at the age of 54.

His friend Michael Hill said the cause of death was complications associated with a heart attack.

A write-up about his life provided by Hill on behalf of Capps’ family says that since 1997, when he first met the man who later became his husband, Kenneth Yazge, in Rehoboth Beach, Del., the two shared more than two decades together, among other things, “hosting some of the most incredible dinner parties” and traveling with a large circle of friends and loved ones.

“The number of people who claimed Russ as their best friend is countless,” the write-up sent to the Washington Blade by Hill says. “He had an intensity for those he loved and would go to the ends of the earth to help anyone who needed him,” it says.

The write up notes that for much of his adult life Capps was a “bedrock leader” for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. Among other things, he served as the chorus’s treasurer and on its board of directors.

His deepest love, the write-up says, was his 14-year stint as a member of the chorus’s ensemble known as Potomac Fever, with whom he traveled for singing engagements and performed at the first inaugural concert for President Barack Obama and later at the first LGBT reception at the Obama White House.

According to the write-up, Capps most recently worked as COO for the American Foreign Service Association. Prior to that he served as CFO for the Construction Specifications Institute and held similar positions at the American Dental Education Association and the D.C.-based Center for Development & Population Activities

He also served for 12 years as CFO at the Association of Corporate Counsel and was active for many years as a leader and panelist for the American Society of Association Executives, the write-up says.

Capps received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Virginia’s Radford University and was a graduate of Rebert E. Lee High School in Springfield, Va.

The write-up says Capps and Yazge, who married in 2013, “saw each other through life’s great ups and downs, including renovating their Kensington house, selling and starting businesses and new jobs, and buying a second home in Rehoboth Beach, an escape that they fled to any time they could and one that they shared generously with family and friends.”

Capps is survived by his husband, Kenneth M. Yazge; his brother, Robert L. Capps, Jr.; his niece, Brittany Capps; and his nephew, Stephen Capps. He is predeceased by his parents, Robert and Mary.

A celebration of Capps’ life is scheduled to be held at Foundry United Methodist Church in D.C. on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, at 1 p.m. The write-up provided by Hill says donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. at gmcw.org.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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