March 5, 1951 – April 17, 1996
Native Detroiter Floyd Dunn was a playwright, civil rights activist, and leader in the 1980s of the Detroit Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays. Dunn later served as the founding director of the Black AIDS non-profit organization Project Survival and advocated for the inclusion of men and women of color in clinical trials. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.
No known obituary
October 18, 1957 – May 21, 1996
Gregory Thomas Hainbecker was born in Wyandotte and resided in Ecorse all his life, graduating in 1976 from Ecorse High School. He was employed as a truck driver, roofer, carpenter, and handyman. Hainbecker also worked as a longtime bartender at Gigi’s in Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.
Cruise, June 5, 1996
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
January 23, 1937 – June 26, 1996
A native of the Isabella County town of Weidman, Bob Gross covered high school sports for the Lansing State Journal for 34 years and lived a largely closeted life. In 1996, he was murdered by a young man he picked up at Stober’s Bar. Gross was posthumously inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Between The Lines, August 1996
April 2, 1949 – June 30, 1996
Jim Paffenbarger, also known as Jimmy Leather, attended the University of Michigan for one year from 1967 to 1968 before going to work for radio station WABX. He soon returned to Ann Arbor where he was employed with the student station WCBN and later served as chief engineer at WUOM.
Between The Lines, August 1996
July 1, 1954 – August 28, 1996
Born in Middleville in Barry County, Rexford Palmer moved to Detroit as a young adult to work in retail. He continued his retail career after relocating in the mid-1980s to San Francisco, where he became active in the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Bay Area Reporter, September 19, 1996
May 31, 1951 – September 4, 1996
Detroit native Joe Elias graduated from Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods in 1969 and received his B.A. in sociology from the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1973. He worked in personnel at Chrysler and later relocated to Chicago and San Francisco.
Cruise, September 18, 1996
March 13, 1947 – November 11, 1996
A Chicago native, Carol Srbeny moved to Interlochen when she was 25, earned a second Bachelor’s degree, and worked as a self-employed counselor. An animal lover and wildlife enthusiast, she was active in the Grand Traverse area chapter of Dignity and Friends North.
Traverse City Record-Eagle, November 13, 1996
Friends North newsletter, January-February 1997
November 26, 1924 – October 4, 1996
Born in Traverse City, Alma Routsong served in the WAVES during World War II and graduated from Michigan State University. After moving to New York City, she authored the pioneering novel Patience and Sarah under the pen name Isabel Miller.
Gay Community News, Winter 1996
Lesbian Herstory Archives oral history of Alma Routsong
January 8, 1901 – January 10, 1996
A native of Otsego, Forman Brown attended the University of Michigan in the early 1920s and, with cousin Harry Burnett and companion Roddy Brandon, formed the famed Yale Puppeteers. In his eighties, Brown revealed that he was the author of the 1933 gay novel Better Angel written under the penname Richard Meeker.
Los Angeles Times, January 12, 1996
Bay Area Reporter, January 18, 1996
Forman Brown scrapbook at the Bentley Historical Library