April 15, 1964 – July 23, 2018
Jenifer Anne Kohout grew up on Air Force bases throughout the U.S. and overseas. After finishing her Bachelor’s at Duke, she earned an M.S. in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the UM Law School. In the 1990s, Kohout was an occasional columnist for Between The Lines. She later enjoyed a rich career in Alaska. Kohout was survived by her spouse Karen Komopacki.
Washington Post, August 7, 2018
January 8, 1951 – May 1, 1991
Geoffrey Martin Fine grew up in Ann Arbor and moved to New York City following high school. He appeared in a number of Off-Broadway plays before moving back to Ann Arbor in 1975 to study choreography and dance at the University of Michigan. On returning on New York, Fine pursued stand-up and volunteered with Gay Men’s Health Crisis. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.
Outweek, June 12, 1991
July 23, 1953 – May 1, 2019
Warren resident Chrissy Surewater attended Fordson High School in Dearborn, studied at Rochester College in Rochester, and worked at Precision Imagery and as a photographer for Ford Motor Company. She was also a longtime member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, for three years serving as office administrator. Surewater was survived by her beloved fiancé Michelle Fox-Phillips.
Between The Lines, May 2, 2019 [online only]
January 21, 1970 – December 2, 1996
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Raishean Ali-Bai Garrett came of age and came out in Detroit in the late 1980s. He held a number of retail jobs in the fashion industry and a popular “club kid” at the Glass House, Menjo’s, Heaven, the Continental, Shoppers, and countless house parties. Before his death, Garrett moved with his sister to Columbia, South Carolina. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 26.
The State, December 3, 1996
Raishean, My Teacher and Muse
April 25, 1926 – September 5, 2015
Mary Elizabeth Pyle was born in Lansing and graduated from Lakeview Highland High School in Battle Creek in 1944, a member of its first graduating class. She was employed as a secretary with Post Cereals for more than 30 years and after retiring in the mid-1980s moved to Phoenix. Pyle was preceded in death by her partner of five decades Patsy Spahr and in her last years wintered back in Michigan.
Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society
September 7, 1922 – May 30, 1997
Detroit native Augustus Herman Rissman was better known to members of the local gay community as Gorgeous Gussy. Noted for “a gravelly voice and gruff manner,” Rissman entertained audiences throughout the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s at such Detroit bars as the Golden Slipper, LaRosa’s, the Diplomat, and the Gold Dollar.
Cruise, June 18, 1997
May 8, 1945 – November 22, 1991
Queens, New York native Michael Jay “Mica” Kindman attended Michigan State University in the mid-1960s and edited East Lansing’s first alternative newspaper The Paper. Kindman later lived in Boston and San Francisco and became active in the Radical Faeries. His autobiography, My Odyssey through the Underground Press, was published posthumously. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 46.
Bay Area Reporter, December 5, 1991
July 3, 1923 – August 31, 2020
Mt. Pleasant resident Jean Roberts grew up on a farm in rural Iowa and attended Western Michigan University, where she played tuba in the symphony. She went on to teach physical education in Kalamazoo and at Comstock High School and later worked as a counselor in the Reed City schools. For 15 years, Roberts and her life partner Janet Bush operated J & J Leather.
Morning Sun, September 1, 2020
February 3, 1962 – January 7, 2019
Barbara Faye Gessell was born in and spent much of her life in Ohio and held a J.D. and Bachelor’s in business administration. Her long career in human resources included managerial positions at Mercy Health Network, Toledo Edison, and the Toledo Blade. After she was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, Gessell retired to Saugatuck with her wife Jennifer Roe.
Toledo Blade, January 11, 2019
May 10, 1965 – March 4, 2020
A noted figure in Detroit’s electronic music scene, James Joseph Stone Jr. was born in Royal Oak and graduated from Seaholm High School in Birmingham in 1984. He attended Eastern Michigan University and came out as a young gay man on the dance floors of Todd’s and Heaven. A musician and DJ, Stone became an important distributor and promoter of house and techno throughout the metro area.
Potere-Modetz Funeral Home
The Advocate: Jim Stone, 1965-2020