March 14, 1927 – August 23, 2013
A suburban housewife and mother, Virginia Dolores Szymanski inherited the Royal Show Bar from her step-father in the early 1960s. While she owned and operated the Detroit bar, it became a popular gathering place for black sissies, black gay men, and black drag queens.
A.H. Peters Funeral Home
July 7, 1923 – March 14, 2013
The Rt. Rev. H. Coleman McGehee of Bloomfield Hills served as bishop the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan from 1973 to 1990. A leading ally of the LGBTQ community for more than four decades, McGehee served on the Advisory Board for the Triangle Foundation and ordained some of the first openly gay priests in the Episcopal Church.
Between The Lines, March 21, 2013
July 19, 1949 – May 6, 2013
Juanita Crider of Grand Rapids and formerly of Riverdale, enjoyed movies and loved animals. She was preceded in death by her life partner Judy Thomas.
Grand Rapids Press, June 2, 2013
February 19, 1936 – December 14, 2013
At age 15, after Flint native Marvin Burrows started dating his life partner Bill Swenor, his father kicked him out of the house. Swenor’s mother welcomed Burrows into their home. The couple moved to California in the mid-1960s. When then-Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized same-sex marriages in San Francisco in 2004, the couple was married at City Hall.
Bay Area Reporter, December 19, 2013
Huffington Post, December 23, 2013
August 3, 1926 – December 26, 2013
Detroit native Neva Weidig graduated from Denby High School in 1944 and earned her Bachelor’s from Heidelberg University in 1949. She was a Girl Scout troop leader and was employed with Kmart corporate headquarters. Weidig shared a home in Royal Oak with her partner of 45 years Dianne Chapman.
Daily Tribune, December 27, 2013
Gramer Funeral Home
May 23, 1927 – March 26, 2013
Dolore “Del” Thusius earned his Bachelor’s in music from Valaraiso University and his Master’s in education from Western Michigan University. Thusius taught choir at Portage Central High School from 1955 to 1983 and directed annual musicals. He shared a home in Kalamazoo with his partner of 48 years David Reichard.
Kalamazoo Gazette, March 23, 2013
October 12, 1961 – November 19, 2013
Madison Heights High School grad Cheri Jo Fiebig performed for more than 30 years as a male impersonator, appearing at the State Bar in Flint, Silent Legacy in Inkster, and other bars in Metro Detroit in the 1980s and ‘90s. She was featured on such local TV shows as Good Morning Detroit and Kelly & Company. Fiebig later relocated to Nashville, Tennessee and died from lung cancer at age 52.
Detroit News, November 30, 2013