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

Dan Stoepker

Dan Stoepker pic

March 26, 1949 – August 5, 2005

Onetime Birmingham resident Daniel Lee Stoepker was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986.  He was a church elder active in Presbyterians for Gay and Lesbian Concerns and served on the board of directors for AIDS Partnership Michigan.  Stoepker was preceded in death by his partner Brad Kosko and survived by his daughter and son.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 56.

Between The Lines, August 11, 2005

Robin Ware

Robin Ware pic

November 26, 1957 – August 31, 2003

Taylor resident Robin Enez Ware contracted HIV from her husband and passed the virus to her daughter at birth.  As a social worker for AIDS Partnership, Ware targeted outreach to at-risk populations and help educate people that AIDS was not simply a gay disease, work that was highlighted in a July 1997 issue of the Detroit Free Press.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.

No known obituary.

Douglas Pizzala

Doug Pizzala pic

October 26, 1951 – October 26, 2009

A longtime HIV survivor, Douglas Pizzala was born and raised in Pontiac.  He earned a B.A. in education from Central Michigan University and later worked for the AIDS Consortium of Southeast Michigan and AIDS Partnership Michigan.  Pizzala and his life partner of 28 years Ken Pape shared a home in Pleasant Ridge.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.

Between The Lines, October 29, 2009

Sullivan & Son Funeral Directors

Jim Proffitt

Jim Proffitt pic

May 13, 1947 – February 8, 1993

Detroit native and onetime seminary student James Earl Proffitt was an out real estate agent and for sixteen years was organist for Zion Lutheran Church in Ferndale.  In the 1980s, he served as an officer of the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council and later worked for AIDS Care Connection.  Proffitt fathered a daughter with lesbian friend J. Charlene Genther.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.

Detroit Free Press, February 10, 1993

Royal Oak Tribune, February 10, 1993

Tom Bartley

November 19, 1947 – January 10, 1990

Utica resident Thomas Michael Bartley grew up in Port Huron, earned his B.S. in nursing in Houston and a Master’s in nursing from Mercy College in Detroit.  He sang in the choir at Zion Lutheran Church in Ferndale and was involved in both Wellness Networks and AIDS Interfaith Network.  Bartley was survived by two children and his lover Jim Proffitt.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 42.

Detroit Free Press, January 11, 1990

Anthony Caputo

Anthony Caputo pic

December 26, 1943 – May 12, 1995

Born in Detroit, hairdresser Anthony Caputo attended the Virginia Farrell Beauty School and landed a job at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York at age 20.  He returned to Michigan in the early 1980s and later learned he was HIV-positive.  Caputo went on to help found AIDS Walk Detroit and work as volunteer coordinator for Wellness House.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 51.

Detroit Free Press, May 18, 1995