April 5, 1944 – December 10, 1985
Born in Elmhurst, Illinois, James Martin earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Illinois before earning his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1969. After a year clerking for a federal appeals judge, Martin joined the UM Law School and had a distinguished 15-year career there while living a discreet gay life in Ann Arbor. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.
Ann Arbor News, December 22, 1985
June 20, 1965 – June 18, 1995
Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Eric Leroy Jordan moved to Detroit following high school and became active in Men of Color, Full Truth Fellowship Church, and the James Baldwin/Pat Parker Society. From 1993 to 1995, Jordan was employed as a case worker for the AIDS Consortium of Southeastern Michigan. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 29, two days shy of his 30th birthday.
Between The Lines, July 1995
September 28, 1956 – February 22, 2021
Otisville resident Lauriejane Clare Smith was born in Flint, grew up in Davison, and graduated with the class of 1974 from Davison High School. After completing the criminal justice program at Mott Community College, she worked as a park ranger and later as a patrol deputy and paramedic for the Genesee County Sheriff. In 2015, Smith married her partner Patricia Lawrence-Smith, who died in 2019.
Hensen Funeral Home
December 15, 1952 – December 19, 2000
Brenda Joyce Blizzard was born in Columbia, South Carolina. She moved to Michigan in her 20s, worked for the Southland Corporation, and was a longtime member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, where she served as a deacon. In 1992, Blizzard moved to Washington State and became assistant pastor of MCC Seattle. She was survived by her partner Loran Timmons.
Tacoma News Tribune, December 21, 2000
June 2, 1917 – March 23, 2009
LeRoy Raymond Scott was born in Detroit, graduated from Cass Tech, and attended Wayne State. For three decades he resided in New York, where his drag persona Madame X was photographed by Diane Arbus. After returning to Michigan, he became active in Unlimited Seniors and Black and White Men Together. Metro Detroit’s LGBT community honored Scott with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
Between The Lines, March 26, 2009
August 24, 1942 – September 30, 2013
Linda Ann Reuther, the daughter of UAW founder Walter P. Reuther, grew up in Detroit and Rochester and earned her Bachelor’s in education from the University of Michigan in 1965. She taught head start for several years, operated a quilt store in Marin County, California, and later created a meditation retreat center to the north in Albion. Reuther was survived by her life companion Michele Tellier.
Fort Bragg Advocate-News, October 10, 2013
January 13, 1951 – July 17, 2019
Owosso native and world traveler Micheal Eugene Koutz graduated with the Hastings High School class of 1969 and went on to Central Michigan University. Following two decades with Adventure Travel in Kalamazoo, Koutz and Michael LoPresto established Experts Travel in 1994. The two were also husbands and life partners, together for 39 years.
Kalamazoo Gazette, July 21, 2019
June 9, 1969 – November 15, 2020
An early member of the House of Chanel, Jennifer Holiday Chanel graduated with the class of 1987 from Flint Central High School and went on to attend Eastern Michigan University. She performed at the Nectarine in Ann Arbor, later worked at Gigi’s in Detroit, and won the Miss Gigi’s title in 1997. The Performers Awards of Detroit honored Chanel with its Bookie Stewart Hall of Fame Award in 2017.
Between The Lines [online only], November 19, 2020
June 1, 1950 – May 11, 2007
A founding member of the Detroit Gay Liberation Front, Vaughn Perry Grubbs was born in Detroit, attended Redford High School, and completed two years at Wayne State University. Grubbs was later employed as regional manager for a rental car agency. His life partner Marque Sime preceded him in death by two weeks.
Detroit Free Press, May 11, 2007
May 22, 1940 – March 29, 2014
White Lake resident Reginal Lewis “Reggie” Doyon graduated from St. Frederick High School in Pontiac and worked at Pontiac Motors. Following his retirement from the plant, he purchased Club Flamingo and after a year began operating the bar as a gay establishment. In 1998, the city selected Doyon for its Business Beautification of the Year. He continued to run the bar for another decade.
Oakland Press, March 30, 2014