Jim Nickoff

Jim Nickoff pic

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

Billi Gordon

Billi Gordon pic

September 2, 1954 – February 22, 2018

Wilbert Anthony “Billi” Gordon Jr. graduated from Union High School in Dowagiac, class of 1972.  He left seminary to attend the University of Michigan, where he became involved in gay activism, including as spokesperson for the Ann Arbor Black Gay Caucus.  Gordon went on to become a celebrated model, entertainer, writer, and neuroscientist.  He was survived by his spouse of 30 years Robert Schallert.

Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2018

Clif Levin

Clif Levin pic

November 17, 1947 – July 9, 2019

Clifford Alan “Clif” Levin graduated with the class of 1965 from Oak Park High School, earned his B.A. at Wayne State, and went on to receive his law degree there.  In 1973 he began a 30-year career with the Wayne County Friend of the Court.  Lemon served on the boards of the Triangle Foundation and the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus.  He was also active in community theater in Grosse Pointe.

Between The Lines, July 25, 2019

Bill Galligan

Bill Galligan pic 2

September 13, 1945 – November 26, 2019

William “Bill” Galligan Jr. grew up in a Chicago suburb and earned his Bachelor’s at Western Michigan University.  Following a career as an educator, Galligan moved to Saugatuck, where he became a beloved retailer, operating the Old Post Office Shop and later Spice Crazy Cottage.  He was active in efforts to  enact a gay rights ordinance in the late 1990s and was also a strong supporter of local arts.

Commercial Record, December 5, 2019

Vaughn Grubbs

Vaughn Grubbs pic

June 1, 1950 – May 11, 2007

A founding member of the Detroit Gay Liberation Front, Vaughn Perry Grubbs was born in Detroit, attended Redford High School, and completed two years at Wayne State University.  Grubbs was later employed as regional manager for a rental car agency.  His life partner Marque Sime preceded him in death by two weeks.

Detroit Free Press, May 11, 2007

Dan Sivil

Dan Sivil pic

June 25, 1940 – August 26, 1993

Native Detroiter Daniel Ross Sivil graduated from Cooley High School, earned his B.A. in English from Wayne State University, and worked as a computer analyst for General Motors for 18 years.  Later as a resident of Troy, Sivil served as president of the Association of Suburban People from 1979 tp 1982.  He was also active in MOHR, the Motor City Business Forum ,and the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council.

Cruise, September 22, 1993

Daniel R. Sivil Papers at the Bentley Historical Library

Billy Herrod

Billy Herrod pic

October 26, 1957 – December 19, 2003

Activist and Joliet, Illinois native Billy Wayne Herrod Jr. began his career in retail following community college and moved to Detroit in 1996 as a manager for Sam’s Club.  He served on the board for Kick!, predecessor to LGBT Detroit, and as a member of the Detroit Black Gay Pride board helped to organize the annual Hotter Than July in the early 2000s.

Between The Lines, January 8, 2004

Brent Dorian Carpenter

Brent Dorian Carpenter pic

April 19, 1964 – March 23, 2020

Writer and artists Brent Dorian Carpenter was born in Detroit and graduated from Cass Tech in 1981.  His entrée into Detroit’s African American LGBTQ community came in 2001 when he approached Hotter Than July planners to promote his first novel, Man of the Cloth.  Carpenter became and AIDS activist and he worked as a reporter and regular columnist for Between The Lines before moving to Atlanta in 2006.

Between The Lines, April 16, 2020

Joy Geng

Joy Geng pic

July 27, 1944 – June 21, 2020

Dearborn Heights resident Joy Estelle Geng graduated from Plymouth High School, earned her MBA at Wayne State, and worked for Ford Motors from 1967 to 1997.  Geng was an early board member of the Triangle Foundation, initially using Jay Grange to protect her job, and remained active with the organization after it became Equality Michigan.  She was survived by her partner Maria Winiarski.

Between The Lines, July 9, 2020

Jerry Moore

Jerry Moore pic

April 24, 1928 – May 22, 2020

Jerry Abraham Moore grew up in Detroit, graduated from Redford High School, and attended Wayne State before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950.  Following his military service he became immersed in Detroit’s gay bar scene and from 1958 to 1960 served as secretary of the short-lived Detroit Area Council of the Mattachine Society, the first ever formal homosexual organization in Michigan.

Between The Lines [online only], June 12, 2020