Collett, Michael

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Michael Collett worked in Philadelphia restaurants for several years. Initially, he was a waiter at the Monster Inn and later at a restaurant at Head House Square. While working on Head House Square, he developed an interest in wine and he was in training to become their wine steward. Before being diagnosed with AIDS, he had attended many courses and various wine tastings in preparation for this job. He handled the ordering and storage of the wines he selected; a demanding job for a healthy person. When he developed Kaposi's Sarcoma lesions, he was removed from the dining room floor.

Michael took his employer to court with the hope of regaining his responsibilities as wine steward. While the courts did decide that he had been wrongfully removed from the dining room and ordered his employer to pay his medical expenses, his case was not settled until two months prior to his death.

He graduated from Sienna College with a degree in chemistry and carried with him a love of music which he developed in high school while studying the clarinet. Although he didn't play often, many nights after he and his lover came home from the Bike Stop, he would listen to Mozart's Concerto for Clarinet, humming along to each note.

He remained happy and enthusiastic about life, almost until the day he died. His strength and courage, particularly in his fight to regain his rightful employment, stand as an inspiration to all people.

from the Philadelphia Stories: a Dining Out for Life Cookbook, 1993

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Date of Birth: January 20, 1961

Date of Death: July 30, 1991

Age at Death: 30


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