This is a digital memorial for Tank Hafertepen by his partner, Dylan Hafertepen. Content is a mix of our original photography and writing, primarily from the period we were together (2010 — 2018).
His passing was originally announced on Facebook here. If you have questions about his passing, check out the official FAQ. Please also consider donating to Lifelong AIDS Alliance; Tank loved his time there and his legacy will last indefinitely.
Eulogizing my partner has been a challenging experience.
Tank was a militant atheist, leaving detailed instructions that his body be used to advance science, organs harvested for transplant, and his remains cremated without a service.
I want to believe that he is needed somewhere more important, but it would be disingenuous to force my spiritual beliefs of an afterlife on him. Instead, I found comfort in how Tank looked at death.
Tank understood that while his mind would eventually die, his energy could not by the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy is created in the universe, and no energy is destroyed. All the energy he shared with us--every touch, every word, every look--that energy will remain with us. He had a tremendous energy.
I see the butterfly effect Tank had on the world, and I miss him incredibly. He imprinted on those closest to him, and when we’re together, he’s there.
Creating a memorial is one way I hope to share his energy, selfishly to immortalize the man I love.
Thank you for visiting,
Tank Heathcliff Hafertepen was originally born Jack Andrew Chapman on February 13th, 1990 in Australia, where he graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelors of Arts specializing in Social Research in 2012.
Everyone who has ever met Tank knows how wonderful, loving, and special he was. He radiated an effervescence of delight and looked at the world with a beautiful innocence. When you were with him, you couldn’t help but see that childlike wonder. It was infectious.
He lived to help people, and was happiest helping those he loved. The thing that could brighten his day was making yours better. That service came in many forms to his friends and community:
I love you, Tank. My best friend, my partner, my world. Thank you for allowing me to be in your life.
He was not a material person, but he did have some indulgences. Join his family, friends, and I in celebrating his life by trying some of his favourite things:
These were his "favourite" things...but, "favourite" is not a true absolute for Tank as he was driven by curiosity and would always pick something new and unusual. Always. Catfish, durian, geoduck...he lived for the exotic and unusual.
Try some of Tank's favourites, but aim to embody his curiosity and try new things often.
These are some of our photos and writings from our shared history together. Ordered chronologically, it shows the progression of our relationship. Two, awkward young adults, building a life together with our unconventional family.
Tank was an avid photographer and photogenic model, with thousands of photos taken during our adventures. I’ve tried to select the meaningful moments and included captions for some.
With his Queen’s English and Australian affect, he was effortlessly charming, adorable, and quirky. What capitaved me was his intense curiosity. He looked at the world with a genuine innocence. Novelty was everywhere for him, and his enthusiasm was infectious. His photos were handsome, but this curiosity was the most attractive thing about him.
I remember being absolutely flattered by his attention. Then, in 2012, he shared a rose with me over chat, asking me to be his Valentine. He flew from Melbourne to San Francisco and we spent an unforgettable weekend together.
Seeing him light up was intoxicating. Small things like going to the gym, or new experiences like a Brazilian Steakhouse, to his first big gay party. I was so lucky.
We were determined to make the long distance relationship work. Chatting regularly, making skype calls, and planning trips.
Our next rendezvous was in Provincetown: a beautiful gay village in Massachusetts. I introduced him to my friends, oysters, and the joys of tea dances.
I was unable to visit him in Australia, but he made one more trip to San Francisco before applying to the green card lottery.
In the past pup has said a few times in the past that in order to find your way home, all you need to do is find the Transamerica Pyramid.
That fact is true…kind of. In essence, it was never actually about the building itself but it became a symbol of someone living nearby it.
Home is not about buildings, I don’t think that ‘home’ is actually even about places even. Home is about where the people that are important to you are, and where there are people that are important to you. Home is where your family is, however you define it to be. It’s where you’re comfortable being and able to express yourself.
It’s wherever you go when things get hard.
It’s all about the love that you give and the companionship you share.
— Originally posted by Tank on February 7th, 2014
Gay marriage was not legally recognized yet in either America or Australia. Immigration seemed like a bigger challenge than crossing the ocean over the summer...then, in 2013, he won the green card lottery.
It all happened very quickly. He sold his home in Melbourne, reduced his belongings to just a suitcase, and flew to San Francisco.
Every week was a different adventure in domestic bliss. Working out together, cooking for each other, day trips out of the city. He would surprise me at work with lunch, and I would show him my favourite things in each neighborhood of San Francisco.
Tank's love languages were Acts of Service and One-on-One time. Every time he did my laundry, brought me lunch, or took me on a date he was saying I love you with tangible action. Tank's version of a kiss.
When he really wanted to express his love, he would gift creative, exuberant, adventures. One year for my birthday, he organized a color fight in Golden Gate Park, followed by a photoshoot, and picnic.
I was speechless, which he first interpreted as dissatisfied. But when he saw me tearing up with gratitude, his mood changed to pure delight. The best gifts weren't things, but experiences, and he gave me something unforgettable. They're my favourite photos of us together, capturing our unique dynamic.
The best parts of Sydney were the things that didn’t have anything to do with Mardi Gras. You took me to a beautiful three hat (whatever that means) restaurant at the top of the Sydney skyline, where we giggled like excited school kids as we ordered the fun house cocktails - while getting ourselves quite drunk. You got us a table overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. You ordered us the tastings menu and every dish came out thoughtfully presented by waiters that all seemed to have bad diction. It was by and far the the nicest meal I had ever experienced (outside of anything you’ve cooked of course).
— Originally posted by Tank on February 14th, 2016
It was a beautiful privilege to take you through the city that used to be my home, Melbourne. When planning this trip, I really wanted to show you where I came from. Melbourne is a beautiful and eclectic city - with a lot of art and culture - and diversity in its architecture. It’s a little quirky and has personality. I loved the opportunity to take you through the little alleyways filled with gorgeous food. Taking you to to see the Rothko was an event that I thought brought us together. You got to lift at my old powerlifting gym and meet my Australian friends. We stumbled upon the deli section of the Queen Victoria Market and we made ourselves an imprompteu picnic in the park.
— Originally posted by Tank on February 14th, 2016
When I think of the times while travelling with my you, I feel like some of the most wonderful times we had was when we allowed ourselves to get a little lost. When we had open eyes and just allowed ourselves to be taken in and allow ourselves to explore, and be surprised and to simply be with eachother. The times we got diverted from where we thought we wanted or what was normal, and did our own thing.
We explored. That’s the life I want to live. The sort of travel I want to have. Wherever we are, whatever we do. As long as it is with you
— Originally posted by Tank on February 14th, 2016
As long as you are able to do at least one single good thing today, you're better than you were yesterday. "Negativity to yourself can lead to really unhelpful and negative thinking and behaviour. Which ultimately impacts decision making. Which ultimately impacts others. It's important to address one's faults - but to be kind to one's self too... Don't stress on it too much Tank. You are gonna do well."
— Originally posted by Tank on October 31st, 2017
This weekend Camp Erin hosted a weekend retreat, facilitating activities to help teens living through bereavement find kinship and connection, to learn coping skills, and recognise the special person in their lives that they've lost - in addition to playing games, doing crafts, making smores and playing in the pool.
The weekend is about love, about honouring where it has been lost, about recognising where it lives, and being able to both give and receive it.
I saw a lot of bravery this weekend. I'm really proud of our teens. They shared their stories, their vulnerabilities. You will find your new normal, but your special people live inside you. It's hard, but it does get better - but never the same.
Thank you so much to the amazing team who gave their time, and their love, their efforts and took the time to show me the ropes.
The teens seemed to dig Tank the 'butch fairy'. I'll be back next year.
— Originally posted by Tank on July 15th, 2018
Yesterday, I was doing some maths problems at my favourite cafe, over a cup of tea, where I had a sudden moment of clarity: I'm doing the things I value, in a location I really like, sharing it with the people whom I value the most, working on building a better tomorrow for myself, my loved ones, and my community.
And you know what, that's pretty darn rad. #2Blessed2BStressed.
— Originally posted by Tank on August 30th, 2018
Videos of Tank dancing are the purest embodiment of Tank. He produced dozens of these, but here are the only two that were appropriate for his memorial.
Video of Tank pulling his heaviest raw deadlift at 495lbs (or 225kg).
Compare to his competition raw deadlift 463lbs (or 210kg).
Tank was a big fan of Creative Commons, so please respect that everything on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.