Dennis Clegg, a longtime member of the Philadelphia Fins Aquatic Club, died of a heart attack Dec. 21. He was 44.
Clegg was born in Korea but lived in several places throughout the world, including Iceland and Greenland. He lived in Philadelphia for about 15 years with his partner, Frank Beatrice, whom he met 12 years ago. Beatrice said he was immediately drawn to Clegg’s kindheartedness. “I was impressed by his warmth and generosity,” he said. “He would do anything for any of his friends.” Clegg was a business manager for the Center for Health Behavior Research at the University of Pennsylvania for six years. Clegg was active in the LGBT sports scene, previously serving as a board member for the Fins Aquatic Club and also as a representative for the steering committee of Team Philadelphia, the umbrella organization for all Philadelphia LGBT sports teams. Spartans Wrestling Club founding member Michael LoFurno met Clegg when they both served as representatives for their respective clubs on the steering committee about 10 years ago. LoFurno said Clegg was a calm and hardworking member of the committee and the Fins. “He was kind of quiet but he had a wry sense of humor, which I appreciated. It was subtle and he was extremely thoughtful,” LoFurno said. “He was communicative of the organization and Team Philadelphia and also volunteered for several fundraisers that the Fins did.” LoFurno said Clegg was always the first to volunteer to conduct outreach for Team Philadelphia and the Fins. Before his sudden death, Clegg had put in a number of volunteer hours for the Gay Games 2014 in Cleveland. Beatrice said Clegg was a member of the Fins long before the two met and said he was very dedicated to the club and to the sport of swimming. “He was treasurer for a couple years. He would help with fundraising events, trips to other cities. He loved it,” Beatrice said. “He grew up always swimming. He came home from school one day and said he wanted to participate in swimming; it wasn’t something that his parents forced him into.” Fins president Bob Breitel said Clegg was a great swimmer who contributed both his skills and leadership to the club. “He was a longtime teammate,” he said. “The Fins have been around for 25 years now and he has participated in a lot of swimming meets, including past Gay Games and International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics meets. He was a valued teammate.” Breitel said Clegg was an integral part in making sure the club paid tribute to its 25-year history. “Since I was new and when I began to serve on the board, he wanted to make sure that the board had the perspective of the 25 years that the Fins had been around,” he said. “He wanted to make sure we were upholding the values of the team and made sure we understood the history. He brought a good historical perspective to the team so we could carry that forward.” Clegg is survived by Beatrice; his mother and father, Mary Ellen and Milton Clegg; and his sister Emmy. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Philadelphia Firefighters Union Hall, 415 N. Fifth St. Memorial contributions can be made to the Fins at P.O. Box 60145, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102, or to the American Heart Association at 1617 JFK Blvd., Suite 700, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103.