Carl Rippberger

Carl Rippberger pic

October 8, 1947 – May 16, 1994

Born in Detroit, Carl Rippberger graduated from Denby High School and served a tour of duty in Vietnam as a U.S. Army draftee.  He bartended at Tiffany’s before acquiring the Escape Lounge, which he opened as Backstreet nightclub in 1979.  Rippberger served as president of the Detroit Bar Guild and helped raise funds for Wellness House and Affirmations.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 46.

Detroit Free Press, May 19, 2994

Cruise, May 25, 1994

Ernest Gutierrez Jr.

Ernest Gutierrez pic

February 15, 1944 – November 3, 2014

A native of Ecuador with a Bachelor’s from Columbia University and a Master’s from American University, Ernest “Tito” Gutierrez Jr. enjoyed a 20-year career at the Kresge Foundation in Troy.  While a resident of Royal Oak, Gutierrez served on the board for Affirmations and played a significant role in capital fundraising for construction of the community center’s own building in downtown Ferndale.

Between The Lines, November 13, 2014

Jeff Kucharski

Jeff Kucharski pic

January 13, 1964 – October 25, 1995

Jeffry Florian Kucharski of Dearborn earned a piano scholarship to Wayne State University.  He later received a B.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the Wayne State Law School.  Kucharski worked as helpline coordinator at Affirmations Community Center and enjoyed traveling with his partner of 12 years Tom Wilczak.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 31.

Between The Lines, December 1995

Between The Lines, December 1996

James Drain

James Drain pic

December 2, 1965 – May 17, 1994

Born in Detroit, James Douglas Drain served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1986 and was active in the organization Men of Color.  He later worked as office manager for Affirmations Community Center.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 28.

Affirmations newsletter, July 1994

Scott Lawrence

Scott Lawrence pic

October 29, 1961 – February 10, 2000

Scott Lawrence, a homeowner in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, graduated high school in Warren and was employed with area advertising agencies.  He volunteered with Affirmations Community Center and for a time worked as a waiter at the Backstage Deli.  Lawrence was survived by his life partner Ron Fisher.

Between The Lines, March 9, 2000

Carolee Moss

Carolee Moss pic

August 10, 1939 – January 9, 2016

Northville resident Carolee Moss earned a Bachelor’s in speech pathology, taught elementary school, and raised her family in New Jersey, Maine, and New York before landing in Ann Arbor.  She earned a Master’s at Wayne State University and retired from Detroit Medical Center.  Moss was an early member of Suburban Women Together and was active with the Senior Koffee Klatch at Affirmations.

Dignity Memorial

Carolee Moss Memorial Video

Marcia Patrick

Marcia Patrick pic

May 27, 1960 – December 31, 2005

Marcia Patrick grew up in Drayton Plains, graduated from the University of Michigan, and later worked as a paralegal for a Southfield law firm.  Patrick and her partner Jan Pierce were longtime participants in Metro Detroit’s LGBTQ community, joining in Affirmations golf outings and supporting the Triangle Foundation.

Between The Lines, January 12, 2006