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Jacob Nathaniel Pring, a DC-area LGBTQ rights advocate whose career included working as a mortgage loan officer and Lyft driver by day while organizing social events and parties at night and on weekends at DC gay bars and other venues, including “Gay Day” at the National Zoo, died Sept. 26, at his home in Springfield, Va. He was 47.
His longtime friend Nicholas DiBlasio said another friend and housemate at the group home where Pring lived found him deceased in his room. DiBlasio said Pring’s passing was sudden and unexpected and friends and family members were awaiting the results of toxicology tests associated with an autopsy performed by the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death.
“Jacob was a good man, and he had an engaging personality and a marvelous smile,” according to Sasha Chijoku, one of his housemates who posted a tribute to Pring on Facebook. “Above all, Jacob’s personality was big, and the only thing that was perhaps bigger was his smile,” she wrote.
DiBlasio and others who knew him and posted messages on social media said Pring for many years organized and promoted weekly leather-oriented events at gay clubs and other LGBTQ supportive clubs. Among them were the events held at the DC gay bar Green Lantern and the LGBTQ-friendly nightclub Crucible called CODE and XXX parties.
In a January 2013 interview with the Washington Blade, Pring said between 100 and 150 mostly gay men turned out for those events.
“There’s always new people coming in,” he said. “People bring their friends. It’s fun. No attitude, no drama.”
DiBlasio said Pring was born and raised in Pennsylvania. Pring’s Facebook page says his hometown was Levittown, Pa. Pring’s LinkedIn page says he studied computer engineering at Temple University in Philadelphia from 1998-1999 and studied biology at the University of the District of Columbia from 2014-2017, where DiBlasio says he believes Pring received his bachelor’s degree.
“I served in the US Air Force and the Air National Guard,” Pring stated in a September 2020 Facebook posting. “I chose to do my part to keep our country safe,” he wrote, adding, “This stuff about Trump saying crazy things he has said makes me so angry! Please vote that asshole out! please!”
Pring, an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights, makes it clear in his social media postings that he was a staunch Democrat.
While a student at UDC in 2015, Pring created a student military veterans group called VIRTUES, which he said stood for “Values, Integrity Readiness, Tenacity, Unity, Excellence, and Service.”
In his LinkedIn page, Pring says he worked from 2003 to 2006 as a Senior Mortgage Consultant for the firm Preferred Service Mortgage and in the following year, he held a similar position with Access National Mortgage. It says that beginning in 2020 he served as a loan officer with Intercostal Mortgage LLC.
DiBlasio said about a year later in 2021 Pring switched jobs to resume working as a Lyft driver, which he had been doing periodically in earlier years.
David Mariner, former executive director of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, praised Pring for creating yet another important event – Gay Day at the Zoo – which Mariner said served and continues to serve as a fundraising event for the DC Center
“He was out as an HIV-positive person and created social spaces for poz men,” Mariner said in a Facebook posting this week.
Mariner was referring to Pring’s launching of a series of “Poz” events for both people with HIV and their friends and loved ones.
“The Poz events bring faces to the disease & helps eliminate the STIGMA surrounding people with HIV/AIDS,” Pring stated in a Facebook message. “The DJs are HIV+ & Jacob Nathaniel Pring himself has been Poz for 7 years!” his message states.
Pring’s friends have pointed to other social media postings by Pring discussing his own struggles with substance abuse and depression. But in recent years, Pring’s postings have said the support he received from counseling and support groups helped him “walk away” from drug use.
“I have had a blessed life,” he wrote in a Sept. 7, 2020, Facebook posting. “Walking away from the drugs for good has me sitting here reminiscing of younger days,” he wrote. “We don’t get to go back but we sure do get to live an older life. I switched gears,” he continued.
“Sex ran my life for 30 years. Now, I feel like a retired older elder,” he stated. “I have lived life to the fullest. I can’t imagine what life has left in store for me. But I have reached a new mental frontier. I feel lucky and blessed to have made it to this new age of living!!!”
But DiBlasio said about one year later the death of Pring’s mother, to whom he was very close, took an emotional toll on him. “That was about a year ago and that hit him pretty hard,” DiBlasio said.
Another one of Pring’s friends, who identifies himself on Facebook as Mike Di, appeared to sum up Pring’s life as he was known to many of his friends and loved ones in a posting on the day he learned of Pring’s passing.
“Jacob, I am so sad to hear the news of your passing tonight. The progress you made over the past 10+ years putting yourself through school, tackling the demons, living clean, etc. It was all remarkable and I’m so proud of you,” he wrote.
“I’m grateful that you left about a thousand pics of yourself (& with friends) here on your Facebook,” Di said. “It’s a gift really…you can never be forgotten, nor the highs and lows of the last 15 years of your life that are documented in the pics.”
Chijoku added in her tribute to Pring, “He was a fine man, and certainly Heaven is being greeted right now with the toothiest grin I’ve ever had the pleasure to know!”
Pring’s sister, Michelle Forrest, said family and friends were planning a memorial service or celebration of life for Pring at the family’s hometown of Levittown, Penn. as well as in DC, and an announcement would be made when the plans are finalized.
Pring was predeceased by his mother, Paulette Marks of Levittown, Penn. He is survived by his father, John Pring of Bethlehem, Penn.; his brother, Matthew Pring of Texas; his sisters Michelle Forrest of Brooksville, Fla., and Amy Lindquist of Levittown, Penn.; and many friends. Among the friends are Nicholas DiBlasio, Sasha Chijoku, Todd Westberg, Babak Movahedi, John Madej, and Tommy Sanders.
Jacob Nathanial Pring in 2010. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)