September 15, 1963 – December 16, 2007
Lansing native James Michael Nickoff was kicked out of his home at age 15. He survived on dishwashing jobs and worked his way through college, earning his B.A. in accounting at Michigan State, where he was active in the Lesbian-Gay Council. After he moved to San Francisco, he served on the founding board of Equality California and married his partner Dave Lawson in 2004. Nickoff took his own life at age 44.
Bay Area Reporter, December 27, 2007
September 21, 1963 – March 22, 1994
Born in Pontiac, Scott Russell Sweeney of Bloomfield Hills earned his bachelor’s in communications from Michigan State University in 1985 and later pursued studies at the University of London in the UK. Sweeney enjoyed a rich career as a public affairs manager within the auto industry, overseeing the rollout of the Ford Mustang and the F150 Lightning. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 30.
Detroit Free Press, March 24, 1994
November 13, 1963 – May 27, 1996
Born in Howell, Grosse Pointe Farms resident Sara Maria Briden grew up in Grosse Pointe and graduated with the class of 1981 from South High School. She later attended the Ford School of Nursing and the University of Michigan before becoming a beauty consultant and operating her own business. An active runner and swimmer, Breden was also a supporter of Affirmations Community Center.
Grosse Pointe News, May 30, 1996
February 13, 1963 – January 10, 1995
Port Huron native and lifelong resident Charles James Jewell graduated with the class of 1981 from Port Huron High School and worked as a computer operator for a local bank. Confronted few resources in St. Clair County for people with HIV, Jewell founded HIV/AIDS Support Services in 1993. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 31.
Cruise, January 18, 1995
September 18, 1963 – April 3, 2020
Growing up in the 1970s, Ellen Marie Rogowski of Holly was the first girl to play in a boys’ baseball league in Royal Oak. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from Oakland University and taught middle school in Pontiac and English at Henry Ford Community College and Lewis College of Business. She was also an accomplished musician, releasing three albums. She and Rosemary Jozwiak shared 30 years together.
Sharp Funeral Homes
January 26, 1963 – March 9, 1995
Scott Bernard Amedure moved to Waterford from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was five, left high school at 17 to join the U.S. Army, and later worked as a bartender at Popper’s in Pontiac. In March 1995, two days after Amedure revealed his secret crush on his straight acquaintance Jonathan Schmitz during a taping of the Jenny Jones Show, Schmitz murdered him in his Orion Township mobile home.
Between The Lines, April 1995
August 17, 1963 – October 1, 2017
Glen Arbor resident Bryan John Borchardt earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. He was employed in banking with JP Morgan Chase in Traverse City. He also raised and showed champion Shetland sheepdogs and operated Solstice Shelties. Borchardt and his husband Brandt Waldenmyer were together 27 years.
Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home
Wausau Daily Herald, October 13, 2017
October 18, 1963 – March 17, 1996
Born in Flint, Brian Keith McDonald spent most of his life in Otisville. He majored in theater at the University of Michigan-Flint and worked for 13 years for the Flint Youth Theater. McDonald was also employed by the local VGs grocery chain. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 32.
Flint Journal, March 18, 1996
April 1, 1963 – September 20, 2019
The first female player on the Little League baseball team in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, Sarah Ann Flick was born in Chicago and lived in Grand Rapids in the late 1980s. She spent 18 years in law enforcement, retiring in 2017 from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. Flick passed away from cancer at the home she shared in Ada, Michigan with her wife Heidi Gidley.
Holland Sentinel, September 28, 2019
February 18, 1963 – April 22, 2012
Flint native Denise Lynn Welsh grew up in Burton and worked as a teacher consultant for student with autism spectrum disorders in the Genesee Intermediate School District for more than two decades. She was survived by her sons and her life partner Betsy Curtis.