April 29, 1930 – January 1, 2022
Denison University graduate James Willis Toy moved to Detroit in the late 1950s to become a church organist. In 1970, he helped co-found the Detroit Gay Liberation Front and the Ann Arbor GLF. A year and a half later co-founded the Human Sexuality Office at the University of Michigan, where he earned his MSW in 1981. Toy’s activism and achievements for Michigan’s LGBTQ community are unparalleled.
Between The Lines, January 13, 2022
James W. Toy papers at the Bentley Historical Library
November 23, 1930 – September 20, 2010
Dolores Louise Kukla of Walled Lake was born in Detroit and graduated from Western High School. She earned her B.S. in nursing from Wayne State University in 1960 and subsequently worked as an RN. In the mid-1970s, Kukla listed herself as a “contact dyke” in Lesbian Connection to serve as a resource for women in Metro Detroit. She was also involved in the Forum Foundation in the early 1990s.
Detroit News, September 26, 1990
May 13, 1930 – June 28, 2002
Born in Kalamazoo, Frederick Allen Lake graduated with the high school class of 1949 from Bay City Central. We went on to apprenticed in the craft of organ building in Hamburg, Germany and was employed by pipe organ firms in Saginaw and Illinois before moving to San Francisco to work as a voicer for Schoenstein & Company. Lake corresponded with ONE magazine from Bay City in the mid-1960s.
The Diapason, February 12, 2003
July 20, 1930 – January 21, 2009
Marjorie Ann Lyda earned her MSW from Wayne State and in 1967 became the first African-American woman to open a psychotherapy practice in Birmingham. She was one of the earliest therapists in Metro Detroit to provide positive counseling to gay clients and offered pioneering treatment for people now termed transgender. Lyda also served as pastor for churches in Ferndale and Detroit.
Detroit News, January 28, 2009
July 21, 1930 – March 13, 2018
Betsy Ann Boyette was born in rural North Carolina and served as a radio operator in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War before attending DeVry Technical Institute in Chicago as its first female graduate. In the mid-1980s, she started her own interior decorator business, retiring to Saugatuck in 2002. Boyette and her spouse Dianne Wendt were together 43 years and married in 2015.
Commercial Record, March 22, 2018
July 15, 1930 – June 21, 1993
Stanley Raymond Jankiewicz, better known in Detroit’s gay bar world as Don Cherry, graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1949 and attended Wayne State University. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and later managed four city golf courses until retiring in 1987. For 27 years he tended bar at such establishments as the Woodward Lounge, the Gas Station, and Menjo’s.
Cruise, June 30, 1993
October 17, 1930 – July 31, 2010
JoAnn Westrick grew up in Toledo, Ohio and earned her B.S. in Nursing from Wayne State in Detroit in 1969. From 1975 to 1993 she taught on the faculty of Michigan State University college of Nursing, specializing in psychiatric mental-health nursing. She was survived by her partner of 27 years Donna Hardenberg.
Lansing State Journal, August 2, 2010
November 19, 1930 – October 4, 2013
A native of Muncie, Indiana, Betty Jo Hudson earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s from Ball State University. After a long career as a university administrator, including more than two decades at Ohio State University, she and her life partner Barbara Young retired to Torch Lake in the northern lower peninsula.
Traverse City Record-Eagle, October 8, 2013
August 12, 1930 – May 17, 1995
Bramwell Franklin, better known to audiences as “Chi-Chi,” performed comedic routines at the Ten Eleven and other bars throughout Detroit from the late 1940s to the late 1970s.
Between The Lines, June 1995