May 30, 1899 – January 23, 1988
Thelma Gray James graduated with high distinction from the University of Michigan in 1920. She joined the faculty of the College of the City of Detroit, forerunner of Wayne State University, in 1923, retiring from Wayne in 1967 as a pioneering folklorist. James shared various Detroit homes with her close partner of 40 years Marguerite Hicks.
Detroit Free Press, January 24, 1988
March 30, 1889 – August 25, 1970
Born in Hannibal, Missouri, Eva McKinley West earned her Bachelor’s degree at Wellesley College and Master’s at Columbia University. From 1927 to 1964, she chaired the English Department at the University Liggett School. West shared homes in Detroit and Grosse Pointe Woods for more than 35 years with Liggett headmistress Katharine Ogden.
Grosse Pointe News, August 27, 1970
October 20, 1896 – March 6, 1991
Longtime headmistress at the Liggett School, later known as the University Liggett School, Katharine Ogden was born in Ithaca, New York, received her B.S. at Vassar College, and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. For more than 35 years, she resided in Detroit and Grosse Pointe Woods with her friend and companion Eva McKinley West, who preceded Ogden in death.
Grosse Pointe News, March 14, 1991
March 8, 1961 – August 31, 1992
Dennis Wayne Duvall was born in Monroe, earned a B.S. in Arts Management from Eastern Michigan University, and worked as a manager for Frames Unlimited. In the persona of Lisa Carlisle, Duvall performed at the Rubaiyat and Nectarine Ballroom in Ann Arbor and at such bars as Backstreet, the Deck, Gigi’s, and the Pink Flamingo in Detroit. Duvall won the Miss Gay Ann Arbor title for 1985-86.
Cruise, September 9, 1992
Michigan Tribune, September 1992
July 25, 1967 – May 30, 2017
Timothy Richard Liupakka graduated in 1986 from Marquette Senior High School and attended Northern Michigan University before moving to Milwaukee to pursue a degree in interior design. Liupakka performed under the drag name Tabitha Stephens in Wisconsin and later in annual shows at NMU. In 2015, he moved to Florida where he worked in hotel housekeeping and married Peter Williamson.
Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral Home
January 21, 1929 – November 21, 1953
A native of Morristown, Tennessee, Lewis Shields Treece served for a time in the U.S. military and entertained as part of the Black Drag revue at Uncle Tom’s Plantation on Eight Mile Road in Detroit in the early 1950s. He was killed in an auto crash at age 24 following a performance at the night club.
Detroit Tribune, November 28, 1953
Michigan Chronicle, November 28, 1953
January 22, 1943 – June 23, 2005
Erroll Wayne Hert took his mother’s name Vaunda for his stage name, wowing audiences as the renowned Vaunda Lee at Menjo’s, the Gold Coast, Triple XXX, and other Detroit bars in the 1970s and 1980s. He won the Camp Prize from the Performer Awards of Detroit in 1982. Hert resided in his hometown of Bedford, Indiana at the time of his death.
Our Community Roots