January 28, 1952 – February 27, 1992
Detroit native Richard Steven Shank graduated from Novi High School in 1971 and worked as a waiter and bartender at Morey’s and the Escape. Shank was also involved in local community theater and for a time performed female impersonation as Rickie Day. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 39.
Cruise, March 18, 1992
February 8, 1952 – February 15, 1993
Born in Dearborn, Dan-Michael Vigliarolo grew up in Livonia where he graduated from Franklin High School. After studying at Michigan State University, he ran a beauty parlor on Detroit’s West Side before moving to Kew West. Upon returning to Michigan, Vigliarolo became involved in Friends Alliance and worked as managing editor for Metra. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.
Metra, March 3, 1993
May 3, 1952 – November 23, 2016
Born in Byron Center, Portage resident Sheila Fortuin graduated from Byron Center High School in 1970, and attended Ferris State University for a short time before taking a job with the city of East Grand Rapids. She later worked at the Rock-Tenn paper plant in Otsego until its closure in 2004. Fortuin and her life partner Trish Breithaupt shared 21 years together.
January 26, 1952 – May 23, 1993
Royal Oak resident Russell Bowman Jr. was born in Detroit and grew up in Grosse Pointe, where he graduated from Grosse Pointe High School. Bowman had a long career as an interior decorator and for many years was active in the local leather community, holding the title of Mr. Michigan Leather for 1988-89. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.
Cruise, June 9, 1993
August 7, 1952 – January 12, 2012
Detroiter Leon Smith attended Murray-Smith High School and became active in the local LGBT community in the 1980s. He helped launch the Men of Color Motivational Group, was one of the original organizers of the Hotter Than July pride celebration, and took part in a support group for HIV+ men sponsored by what was then known as Kick!.
Between The Lines, January 26, 2012
August 25, 1952 – May 18, 1987
Born in Ann Arbor, Ben Lowery graduated from Dundee High School in 1970 and earned his Bachelor’s in telecommunications from Michigan State University in 1980. He taught school in New Mexico before returning to Michigan to work in his father’s construction business. He died of complications from AIDS at age 34.
Dundee Reporter, May 21, 1987
March 25, 1952 – Declared dead October 31, 2001
A 30-year employee of GM’s Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly Plant and a regular patron of the R&R in Detroit, Walter Greig Cunningham was murdered at age 49 in his Romulus apartment in what police believed was an anti-gay pick-up crime.
Between The Lines, November 22, 2001