Virgil Leone

Virgil Leone pic

May 30, 1952 – November 6, 1999

Virgil Julius “Tony” Leone was born in Detroit and graduated with the class of 1970 from Mt. Pleasant High School.  At Central Michigan University, he was an early member of Gay Liberation, serving as its president in the mid-1970s.  Leone later moved to San Francisco where he worked as a Registered Nurse and became involved in local HIV/AIDS activism.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.

Bay Area Reporter, November 18, 1999

Jim Knox

Jim Knox pic

September 22, 1946 – June 27, 2011

A dedicated and influential figure in Kalamazoo’s LGBTQ community, Jim Knox was co-founder in 1985 of Community AIDS Resource and Education Services and co-founder in 1987 of the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center, later renamed OutFront Kalamazoo.  Knox was also a longtime employee of the Barn Theatre in Augusta.

Between The Lines, July 7, 2011

Kalamazoo Gazette, July 8, 2011

Hal Lawson

Hal Lawson pic

January 28, 1925 – June 21, 2003

Hal Lawson, a graduate of Wayne State University, was founding chair from 1958 to 1960 of the Detroit Area Council of the Mattachine Society, the first known organization for homosexuals in Michigan.  He was later involved in ONE in Detroit, the Association of Suburban People, the Michigan Organization for Human Rights, the Unitarian-Universalist Gay Caucus, and Dignity/Flint.

Between The Lines, July 17, 2003

Lynnette Mick

Lynette Mick pic

August 14, 1966 – February 18, 2013

Former Muskegon resident Lynnette Mick was born in Fremont and worked for Fasco Industries for 23 years before moving to South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  An animal rights activist, she was survived by her daughter and by her life partner Diane Banach.

Muskegon Chronicle, February 21, 2013

Richard Villaire

Richard Villaire pic

May 8, 1948 – January 19, 1995

Ferndale resident and pioneering AIDS activist Richard William Villaire was born in Wyandotte and attended Roseville High School and Ferris State University before earning his B.A. in psychology at Eastern Michigan University.  He was an officer of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights and was a founder of Wellness Networks, Friends Alliance, and the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project.

Between The Lines, February 1995

Metra, February 15, 1995

Between The Lines, March 1995

Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson pic

July 13, 1951 – January 23, 2015

Activist, artist, and entrepreneur owner Christine Johnson was born in Cincinnati and moved to Chicago, where she co-founded the Metis Press Collective, a lesbian feminist publisher.  She met her life partner of 34 years Nancy Poore in 1981 and the two later moved to west Michigan.  The couple rented vacation cottages and operated a kayak rental business.

Grand Rapids Press, January 27, 2015

Lesbian Connection, May/June 2015

Nancy Poore & Chris Johnson video interview at Chicago Gay History

Deon Jackson

Deon Jackson pic 2

March 2, 1979 – April 11, 2018

Flint native Deuntia “Deon” Jackson earned his mortuary science degree from Gupton Jones College in Atlanta and worked as a mortician in Michigan and several other states.  He performed as DJ Envi, helped establish the Safe Space drop-in center for LGBTQ youth at Wellness Services and in 2011 co-founded the Flint Gay Pride celebration.  Jackson was survived by his husband Casio Flood.

Sheldon T. Banks Funeral Chapel