Dorothy Lawrence

Dorothy Lawrence pic

March 14, 1939 – January 5, 2017

The supportive mother of her gay son, Dorothy Lee Lawrence was born in Albion and spent much of her life in Battle Creek.  She worked as a secretary and transcriptionist before enjoying a 24-year career with the Kellogg Company, all while raising a family.  After retiring to Florida, she became active with the local chapter of Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays.

Battle Creek Enquirer, May 9, 2017

Veronica Mitchell

Veronica Mitchell pic

January 9, 1956 – March 1, 2003

Detroit native Veronica Perryman Mitchell attended Mumford High School.  In a 1995 Detroit Free Press feature, she revealed how HIV helped her turn from a life of addiction.  Among her achievements, Mitchell served as AIDS ombudsperson for the City of Detroit, began a women with AIDS support group in C-HAG, and sat on the board of Men of Color.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.

Detroit Free Press, March 6, 2003

Between The Lines, March 13, 2003

Marjorie Lyda

Marj Lyda pic

July 20, 1930 – January 21, 2009

Marjorie Ann Lyda earned her MSW from Wayne State and in 1967 became the first African-American woman to open a psychotherapy practice in Birmingham.  She was one of the earliest therapists in Metro Detroit to provide positive counseling to gay clients and offered pioneering treatment for people now termed transgender.  Lyda also served as pastor for churches in Ferndale and Detroit.

Detroit News, January 28, 2009

Darnell Jones

Darnell Jones pic

June 9, 1962 – June 29, 2016

Redford pharmacist Darnell Demorris Jones was as an advocate and activist for transgender people in transition.  He served as vice president of the Gender Identity Network Alliance and co-founded the group Transcend the Binary.  For his outreach work, Jones received the Outstanding Ally Award from Affirmations in 2014.

Oakland County Times, June 30, 2016

Howard Baver

Howard Baver pic

September 10, 1925 – December 20, 2014

Longtime Farmington Hills psychologist Howard Norton Baver began his career in Hartford, Connecticut before moving to Metro Detroit.  As a straight therapist with a number of gay and bisexual clients, he founded The Gay Connection as a monthly discussion group in 1985 when many of them told him the only places they would meet were gay bars.  Haver was also a key supporter of the Jewish Gay Network.

Between The Lines, January 8, 2015

Kaye McDuffie

Kaye McDuffie pic

March 19, 1954 – January 29, 2014

Longtime HIV and AIDS educator and advocate Kaye Lourena McDuffie served as communicable disease coordinator and intervention prevention specialist for the Lansing Area AIDS Network.  Born in Ferndale, she graduated from Cass Tech in Detroit before attending Lansing Community College and Michigan State University.  A devoted wife and mother, McDuffie was also active in local theater.

Between The Lines, February 6, 2014

LAHR newsletter, March 2014

Riley Funeral Home

Dolores Harris

Dolores Jean Harris pic

November 28, 1931 – April 16, 2012

Dolores Jan Harris was active with the Genesee County chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.  Born in Lansing, she married in 1950, worked as a paraprofessional with Brandon Schools, served as a Girl Scout leader, and sang in the choir of Ortonville United Methodist Church.

Oakland Press, April 18, 2012

Virginia Szymanski

Virginia Szymanski pic

March 14, 1927 – August 23, 2013

A suburban housewife and mother, Virginia Dolores Szymanski inherited the Royal Show Bar from her step-father in the early 1960s.  While she owned and operated the Detroit bar, it became a popular gathering place for black sissies, black gay men, and black drag queens.

A.H. Peters Funeral Home

William Karagas

William Karagas pic

May 10, 1919 – December 25, 1995

A native of Philadelphia, William Angel Karagas served as a warrant officer during World War II.  Beginning in 1954, he was the heterosexual owner of Detroit’s Woodward Lounge, which he operated for more than forty years with his brothers Sam and Andy.

Detroit Free Press, January 2, 1996

Joseph Covello

Joe Covello pic

September 20, 1920 – April 23, 2010

A 1939 graduate of Eastern High School in Lansing, Joseph Covello served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.  He operated Joe Covello’s as a mainstay in Lansing’s gay community from the early 1970s until it was closed for urban renewal in the early 1990s.  Covello was preceded in death by Helen, his wife of 63 years.

Lansing State Journal, April 25, 2010