March 22, 1949 – July 25, 1989
Born in Detroit, Joseph Daniel Maldonado grew up in Saginaw and moved back to Detroit following high school. Through much of the 1970s he performed as Dani DiLetto at such clubs at Morey’s, the Iron Hinge, and Bookie’s Club 870. DiLetto was awarded the title of Miss Gay America in 1976 when the original winner had the crown rescinded. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.
Saginaw News, July 27, 1989
This Week in Texas, August 11, 1989
May 26, 1951 – November 24, 2010
Jackson resident Christine Lee Abshire went to Saranac High School and worked as a communications supervisor for Huron Valley Ambulance for nearly 30 years. She was survived by three sons and her life partner Debbie Oldenburg.
Ann Arbor News, November 28, 2010
January 6, 1925 – May 17. 2018
Born in New York, Pearl Berlin earned her Ph.D. from Penn State and from 1959 to 1971 was professor of health and physical education at Wayne State University. She then took a faculty position at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She and her life partner Ellen Gerber were plaintiffs in a court challenge of North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage. The couple legally wed in 2013.
Greensboro News & Record, May 19, 2018
February 19, 1936 – December 14, 2013
At age 15, after Flint native Marvin Burrows started dating his life partner Bill Swenor, his father kicked him out of the house. Swenor’s mother welcomed Burrows into their home. The couple moved to California in the mid-1960s. When then-Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized same-sex marriages in San Francisco in 2004, the couple was married at City Hall.
Bay Area Reporter, December 19, 2013
Huffington Post, December 23, 2013
July 29, 1937 – September 21, 2011
Miami native Frimmitte “Louise” Griffin attended the University of Michigan in the 1950s and went on to become a pioneering female voice on Black radio in South Florida. She later served with a medical unit in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War. Griffin and her life partner Maryanne Powers met in 1963.
Lesbian Connection, January/February 2012
February 14, 1996 – February 12, 2016
Born in Tecumseh, Saja Mykel Nieto graduated in 2014 from Adrian High School, where he was active in the LGBT Club and the Color Guard. In addition to studying zoology at Northern Michigan University, Nieto worked at Pet Supplies Plus, as a supervisor at Adrian Image Center, and as a manager at B Fit.
Adrian Daily Telegram, February 15, 2016
April 23, 1917 – August 28, 1983
Harvey Blanchard grew up in Dexter and worked as a liquor store clerk and sales manager for a tombstone business before acquiring the Flame Bar in Ann Arbor in 1959. He went on to operate the Flame for 23 years.
Metra, September 15, 1983