David Sefernick

David Sefernick pic

August 23, 1964 – January 11, 1997

David Andrew Sefernick was born in Flint and attended the Carman schools.  During high school, he regularly snuck into the Copa nightclub, where he met his first gay friends and where he later had a job operating the light system.  After living in New York for six years, he returned to Flint in the early 1990s and was a manager at Burger King.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 32.

Flint Journal, January 13, 1997

Tom Stephens

Tom Stephens pic

February 11, 1948 – May 7, 1990

Known to viewers as Tom Stephens, Detroit native Thomas Stephen Jarzynski worked as weather forecaster for WJRT-TV 12 in Flint from 1984 to 1988.  Stephens disclosed his AIDS diagnosis with his former station colleagues in an interview that was broadcast after his death.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 42.

Flint Journal, May 8, 1990

Mitch Thomas

November 17, 1956 – February 21, 1995

Mitch Thomas, also known as Thomas Robert White, was born in Flint, graduated in the Carman High School class of 1974, and served in the U.S. Air Force.  White was employed for many years by Abbott’s Meats but was better known as a painter, sculptor, and regular performer at the Michigan Renaissance Festival.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.

Flint Journal, February 23, 1995

Curt Tramble

Curt Tramble pic

October 26, 1967 – July 17, 1998

Born in Flint, Curt Flood Tramble attended the Flint Public Schools and graduated from the Detroit College of Business.  He served as a case administrator with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, retiring in 1996.  Tramble later worked as a gas station manager and as a hotel desk clerk.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 30.

Flint Journal, July 23, 1998

Howard Yoder Jr.

Howard Yoder Jr pic

August 12, 1957 – May 15, 1992

A resident of Burton, Howard Wesley Yoder Jr. served in the U.S. Army from 1976 to 1979 and later earned a Bachelor’s in computer science from Baker College.  For the last seven years of his life, Yoder worked at Kmart in Flint.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 34.

Flint Journal, May 17, 1992

Kathryn Wright

Kathryn Wright pic

April 15, 1949 – April 26, 2010

A board member of Affirmations in the early 1990s, Kathryn Leta Wright of Lathrup Village earned her D.O. from the Michigan State University School of Osteopathic Medicine.  In her position with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, she founded the Horizons Project in 1994 targeting the needs of HIV-positive and at-risk youth.  Wright was survived by her life partner Susan Brooks and daughter Jordan.

Between The Lines, May 6, 2010

Portia Fagan

February 4, 1938 – February 27, 2009

Portia June Fagan was born in Kalamazoo, attended Richland High School, graduated from Western Michigan University, and had a long career as a tax preparer and real estate broker.  In 1994, she came out as lesbian in the Kalamazoo Gazette to “break down stereotypes.”  Fagan and her life partner Janice O’Dell retired to Arizona in the early 2000s.

Kalamazoo Gazette, March 11, 2009