Al Brewer

Al Brewer pic

September 13, 1950 – December 19, 2011

Originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Al Brewer sang at such gay Detroit clubs as Bookie’s, My Fair Lady, and the Other Side in the 1970s.  He received multiple nominations for best live male vocalist from the Performers Awards of Detroit.  Toward the end of his life, Brewer served as Karaoke host at the Temple Bar.

No known obituary

Lenore Simon

lenore simon pic

December 31, 1950 – October 26, 2011

Saginaw resident Lenore Simon was born in Chicago and earned her JD from Creighton University Law School in Omaha. Nebraska.  In addition to practicing law as an attorney and mediator for more than 20 years, Simon co-founded a queer theater company Center in Monterey, California in the early 1990s and later continued the troupe in Las Vegas.  She and her partner Connie Hoffman were married in 2009.

Lesbian Connection, March/April 2012

Sharon Beck

Sharon Beck pic

August 1, 1944 – September 13, 2011

Born in Battle Creek, Sharon Kay Beck resided in Mount Morris and retired after 30 years from Saginaw Steering Gear-Delphi in 2002.  She enjoyed running, her poodles, and traveling in northern Michigan with Hope, her partner of 27 years.

Flint Journal, September 18, 2011

Charles Casper

Charles Casper pic

February 3, 1938 – June 28, 2011

At age 21, Charles Casper was among nearly three dozen men entrapped by police in a crackdown on homosexual activity at the University of Michigan in late 1959 and early 1960.  He earned his B.A. at UM and went on to receive a J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.  As an attorney, Casper practiced law in his hometown of LaGrange, Illinois.

Chicago Tribune, July 21, 2011

Louise Griffin

Frimmitte Griffin pic

July 29, 1937 – September 21, 2011

Miami native Frimmitte “Louise” Griffin attended the University of Michigan in the 1950s and went on to become a pioneering female voice on Black radio in South Florida.  She later served with a medical unit in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War.  Griffin and her life partner Maryanne Powers met in 1963.

Lesbian Connection, January/February 2012

Kyle Holton

Kyle Holton pic

October 1, 1987 – January 23, 2011

Born in Southfield, Kyle Bolton began writing plays in grade school.  The Beverly Hills resident earned his B.F.A. from Wayne State University and with two college friends formed the art4artillery Theater Company in 2009 to stage socially engaging and LGBT-themed works.  He lost his life in an automobile accident at age 23.

Between The Lines, February 3, 2011

Gordon Barnard

Gordon Barnard pic

February 27, 1936 – November 26, 2011

Gordon Barnard moved to Detroit when he was five and came out into Detroit’s gay world while in high school at Cass Tech.  A graphic artist, Barnard worked as a graphic designer for Michigan Consolidated Gas Company for 35 years.  His partner of 22 years, William Ownby, preceded him in death in 1994.

Between The Lines, April 22, 2011

Vicki Marlane

Vicki Marlane pic

September 5, 1934 – July 3, 2011

Minnesota native Vicki Marlane was among a troupe of female impersonators who performed at the Diplomat Lounge in Detroit in the early 1960s.  Born Donald Sterger, Marlane underwent gender affirmation surgery in San Francisco, where she continued to perform into her 70s.  She was subject of the 2009 documentary Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 76.

Bay Area Reporter, July 14, 2011

Vicki Marlane photographs and artifacts at the GLBT Historical Society

Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight on Vimeo

Karen Hartwig

Karen Hartwig pic

March 4, 1963 – March 18, 2011

Lansing resident Karen “Twig” Hartwig graduated from East Lansing High School, attended Lansing Community College, and earned a B.A. from Michigan State University.  Employed by Sparrow Hospital and later Sam’s Club, she served on the boards of Suits in the City and Michigan Pride.

Lansing State Journal, March 22, 2011

City Pulse, March 30-April 5, 2011

Lesbian Connection, July/August 2011