May 17, 1915 – May 16, 1996
The daughter of a coal miner, Olga Madar earned a degree in physical education from Eastern Michigan University and rose to become the first woman on the board of the United Auto Workers in 1966 and an international vice president of the union in 1970. Madar resided in Detroit’s Indian Village.
New York Times, May 18, 1996
August 15, 1926 – January 8, 2003
Delores “Dee” Sweet operated D’s Lounge in Mount Clemens during the 1970s and ’80s, at the time the only gay bar in operation in Macomb County.
No known obituary.
September 8, 1955 – October 2, 2014
Lansing resident Nancy Gardner worked as a computer analyst and volunteered with Capital Area Literacy, Haven House, and Edgewood United Church of Christ. She and her spouse Julia Grant were one of more than 300 Michigan same-sex couples to wed on June 21, 2014, the day after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional.
Lansing State Journal, October 5, 2014
April 29, 1931 – October 29, 1990
A onetime executive assistant with the Joffrey Ballet, Christopher Flynn operated a private dance studio in Rochester in the early 1970s and introduced his student and future superstar Madonna to gay nightlife at Menjo’s. In 1977, Flynn served as a founding officer of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.
Cruise, November 7, 1990
Ten Percent, January 1-14, 1991
September 16, 1942 – June 18, 1993
Raised in Tacoma, Washington, Barry Joseph “Biejay” Brewitt served in the Army Medical Corps, attended the University of Detroit and Wayne State University, and worked for Westin Hotels. He was a founder and longtime officer in the early Detroit leather group Tribe. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 50.
Tacoma News Tribune, July 1, 1993
December 4, 1945 – January 11, 2016
A founder in 1979 of the Lansing Association for Human Rights, William Beachler later helped establish the Pride Scholarship for LGBT students at his alma mater Michigan State University.
Between The Lines, January 21, 2016
Remembering William Beachler
March 1, 1990 – Body found July 14, 2015
Detroiter Ashton O’Hara, also known as Jessica Storm, identified as trans and genderfluid, loved to dance, and enjoyed styling hair. The 25-year-old’s death in July 2015 marked the 14th murder of a transgender person in the U.S. that year.
Between The Lines, August 20, 2015