Mr. McGarrell was born female but identified as male and switched his name from Flora to Flores.
'Flo,' as everyone called him, 'was a real celebrity here,' said Lionel Pierre, who works in Jacmel for U.S. nongovernmental organization ACDI/VOCA. 'He was on the fringe, but people here came to respect that. I think he found a home.'
Mr. McGarrell was born in Rome to expatriate artist parents. When he was eight the family moved to the U.S. He received degrees at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he later taught, and a second masters of fine arts at the school of the Chicago Art Institute. He was a founding member of the performance art group Little Big Bang, which performed in museums and on the streets of Baltimore and Washington.
'Flo was an amazing artist,' said Claudel Chery, nicknamed Zaka, who was Mr. McGarrell's assistant and also lived in the FOSAJ warehouse. 'But it's about who he was. He accepted everyone.'
Mr. McGarrell saw FOSAJ as a way to empower Haitians through art, literacy and sustainable agriculture. 'He gave everything he could to Haiti,' said Mr. Chery, 22. Including his life."