Jim Klinesteker

Jim Klinesteker pic

October 7, 1957 – September 13, 1992

James Klinesteker was a zookeeper at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids and a prominent leader in the city’s gay and lesbian community.  After attending the 1987 March on Washington, he became one of the founders of The Network and as its president helped open its community center in 1991.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 35.

Network newsletter, October 1992

Harry Kevorkian

Harry Kevorkian pic

August 7, 1947 – February 3, 2002

Originally from Waterford, Harry “Kitty” Kevorkian became involved in the Gay Liberation Front in Ann Arbor during in the early 1970s.  He, took part in numerous protests, once crashing an event donned in skag drag at the home of the president of the University of Michigan.  Kevorkian was a candidate for the city’s mayor in 1974 and later headed the bus union during a 42-day walkout.

Between The Lines, February 21, 2002

Jamie Phillips-Fox

Jamie Phillips-Fox pic

March 2, 1953 – June 7, 2006

Detroit native and Center Line resident Jamie Marie Phillips-Fox was a pioneering transgender volunteer and activist in South East Michigan.  With her future wife Michelle Fox-Phillips, she founded what was then known as Transgender Detroit.  Phillips-Fox was also involved in Crossroads, Transgender Michigan, Affirmations, and PFLAG Detroit.

Detroit News, June 10, 2006

Between The Lines, June 15, 2006

Angela Romagnoli

Angela Romagnoli pic

October 19, 1949 – July 5, 2017

Born in Allegheny, Virginia, Angela Romagnoli grew up within a union family in Dearborn and retained a passion for social justice her whole life.  At the University of Michigan she took part in the Students for a Democratic Society in the late 1960s and helped found the campus Radicalesbians in 1970.

San Francisco Chronicle, August 13, 2017

Radical Lesbian Foremothers

Cody Petzold

Cody Petzold pic

August 12, 1993 – December 26, 2014

Cody Petzold was valedictorian of his class at Holly High School in 2011 and went on to become a student leader and LGBT activist at Oakland University.  In addition to studying human resources, he served as the vice president of the campus Gay Straight Alliance and interned with the Chrysler Corporation.

Daily Tribune, December 30, 2014

Oakland Post, January 8, 2015

Dennis Komac

Dennis Komac pic

November 9, 1944 – November 7, 1994

A founder of the Lesbian and Gay Community Network of West Michigan, Dennis Komac served in Army from 1968 to 1970 and moved to Grand Rapids in 1984 to serve as executive director of the Grand Rapids Art Museum.  Komac and his life partner Jeff Swanson later operated Sons and Daughters bookstore.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 49.

Network newsletter, December 1994

Leon DeMeunier

Leon DeMeunier pic

August 15, 1914 – December 23, 1985

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Leon DeMeunier grew up in Detroit and earned a degree in business administration from the University of Detroit, after which he operated his own tax and accounting service.  He chaired the Detroit Congress of Racial Equality in the early 1960s and was active in the early gay organization ONE in Detroit.

No known obituary

Leon DeMeunier papers at the Bentley Historical Library