Joseph Zendell

Joseph Zendell pic

October 10, 1949 – January 15, 1995

Joseph Mattingley Zendell coordinated programs for the Michigan Council for the Arts in Detroit from 1974 to 1981.  Active in the Association of Suburban People and the Motor City Business Forum, he also served as an early financial officer with the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.  In 1982, Zendell moved to Illinois to lead the Evanston Arts Council.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.

Chicago Tribune, January 21, 1995

Brad McMinn

Brad McMinn pic

December 4, 1949 – May 17, 1993

Born in Flint, Frank Bradford McMinn, who went by Brad, graduated from Grand Blanc High School in 1968 and earned his B.A. in history from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1972.  Following college, McMinn taught school in Flint until moving in 1978 to Washington, DC, where he worked in the national headquarters of the American Red Cross.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 43.

Washington Blade, May 28, 1993

Joe Courter

Joe Courter pic

November 6, 1949 – July 14, 1988

Longtime Lansing resident Joseph Martin “Joe” Courter graduated from John H. Gabriels High School and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1981.  Following his military service, Courter worked for General Telephone Company and, for the last two years of his life, resided in Alma.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.

Alma Morning Sun, July 21, 1988

Larry Gaynier

Larry Gaynier pic

October 14, 1949 – August 6, 1994

Taylor resident Larry Thomas Gaynier taught high school English and communications in Brownstown Charter Township for 22 years.  A member of the Association of Suburban People in the early 1980s, Gaynier later served on the boards of Affirmations and the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 44.

Detroit Free Press, August 9, 1994

Affirmations Newsletter, September 1994

Roger Reisdorf

Roger Reisdorf pic

May 30, 1949 – November 21, 2010

Roger Stanley Reisdorf graduated from Redford Union High School and earned his B.S. from Ferris State University.  He held positions with Grandview Nursing Home, McWilliams Credit Reports, and the Detroit Transportation Corporation.  In the early 1990s, Reisdorf became active with Affirmations, later served on the board of directors, and helped raise more than $5 million for its new building.

Between The Lines, December 9, 2010

Michael Phelan

Michael Phelan pic

June 6, 1949 – January 9, 1990

Michael Phelan grew up in St. Clair Shores and graduated from Lakeview High School.  During the 1970s, he performed female impersonation as Whitney Blake at various Detroit bars and won titles for Miss Todd’s, Miss Bookie’s, and Miss Michigan before moving to California.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.

Cruise, January 24, 1990

Michael Murray

April 28, 1949 – November 7, 1990

Michael Murray earned a Bachelor’s in theology at Loyola University of Chicago and oversaw religious education at two Catholic parishes and at the Michigan School for the Deaf in the mid-1970s.  Murray was a founding member of Dignity/Flint and portrayed Jesus in productions of Godspell with the Flint Community Players in 1977 and 1984.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.

Indianapolis Star, November 12, 1990

Flint Journal, December 11, 1990

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

Senia Taipale

Senia Taipale pic

April 29, 1949 – January 25, 2018

A native of Warren, Ohio, Rev. Senia Taipale attended Wittenberg University and earned her Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.  After moving to Michigan, she became Director of Pastoral Care at Sparrow Hospital in 1992, a position she held for 18 years.  She and Jo Hartwell, her life partner of 31 years, were married in December 2015.

Lansing State Journal, January 28, 2018

Kathye Langstaff

Kathye Langstaff pic

October 21, 1949 – May 28, 2007

Born in Detroit, Kathye Jo Langstaff of Dexter attended Belleville High School and went on to work with developmentally disabled adults.  An avid sports fan, Langstaff played third-base on several Ann Arbor area lesbian softball teams and later served as base coach.

Lesbian Connection September/October 2007