June 17, 1955 – June 27, 2005
Detroit native Regi Thompson worked as a party promoter before opening his own gay club, Regine’s Off the Park, in 1997 on the city’s east side. When a fire gutted the club, Thompson rebuilt and expanded the space into a premiere dance spot. He later renamed the bar the Palladium.
Between The Lines, June 30, 2005
September 18, 1955 – September 25, 1993
Born in Jackson, Timothy Gerald Warner shared a home in Ferndale with his life companion David Wyka and worked for Consumers Power. Warner served as president of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, sat on the city’s Beautification Commission, and volunteered with Wellness Networks. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.
Royal Oak Tribune, September 27, 1993
April 26, 1955 – September 27, 1991
Born in Detroit, Wilmer Gunther Jr. worked for many years at the Deck in Detroit and performed locally as Hummin Helen. Gunther also worked as a floral designer. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 36.
Metra, October 9, 1991
October 9, 1955 – October 13, 1992
Alvin Keith Foster grew up in Taylor and Romulus, attending Christian schools before landing a job as an upholsterer for General Motors. After taking classes in floral design, he began working for Flowers by Sandino in Redford Township. In 1989, with Sandino Ciccarelli, Foster opened the Timesquare dance club in downtown Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 37.
Cruise, October 21, 1992
November 19, 1955 – September 27, 2003
As board chair and educator with Gospel Against AIDS/Global Research, Education, and Training Network, physician Isabello Reyes Jr. pushed for AIDS education, care, and civil rights protections. In addition to his advocacy, Reyes taught at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Detroit.
Between The Lines, October 16, 2003
November 7, 1955 – January 7, 2009
A community producer with the Flint radio program “Face the Music” and organizer of the LGBT arts celebration Out ‘N About, Joann Downing attended Grand Blanc High School and graduated from Michigan State University. Her long career with non-profits included 22 years with the Girl Scouts.
Flint Journal, January 12, 2009
Lesbian Connection, May/June 2009
October 7, 1955 – June 4, 2015
Manton resident Janet was a 1972 graduate of Escanaba Area High School. Following high school, she worked at the Robinson Furniture Factory before moving to Arizona in 1984, returning to Michigan in the mid-1990s. She was survived by her life partner Laura Irish.
Escanaba Daily Press, June 10, 2015