May 29, 1940 – April 18, 1994
Joseph LaRosa Jr. was born in Ann Arbor, graduated from Dexter High School, and attended Cleary Business School. In the early 1970s, LaRosa hosted Lillian’s Down Under in the lower level of Bookie’s Club 870 in Detroit. In December 1974, he, Michael Crawford, and Hank Trent opened the former supper club Menjo’s as a gay dance club. LaRosa later operated Orca’s before moving to Phoenix.
Dexter Leader, May 4, 1994
January 8, 1949 – July 24, 2017
Onetime Windsor resident and Chrysler employee, Garnet “Bill” Beetham was owner of the Male Box in Detroit and Male Box II in Warren. He supported the Metro Detroit Softball League and numerous other gay causes in the Metro Area.
OutPost, August 2017
Kaul Funeral Home Dignity Memorial
November 3, 1924 – November 26, 2000
Born in Detroit, Leonard Lippert was raised in Essex, Ontario and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. Following a long career with Manufacturer’s Bank, Lippert and his life partner operated the Hayloft on Greenfield in Detroit from 1981 to 1997.
Between The Lines, December 14, 2000
September 17, 1932 – June 23, 2010
A native of Ypsilanti, Donald Hazlett served in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s. Hazlett later operated Don’s Beef N Ale in Detroit and with Paul Espenscheid co-owned Menjo’s during the 1990s. He and Espenscheid shared the Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the 1994 Detroit area Pride Banquet.
Toledo Blade, June 26, 2010
January 22, 1935 – September 29, 2015
A pioneer in the Grand Rapids LGBTQ community, Milton Lennox was longtime owner of the Apartment Lounge with his life partner Edward Ladner. Together they provided financial support for the Network, now known as the Grand Rapids Pride Center, and the Red Project. Months before Lennox’s death, he and Ladner celebrated their 50th anniversary as a couple.
Grand Rapids Press, October 4, 2015
January 18, 1923 – August 18, 2008
Reba Bodary served as a tech corporal with the Women’s Army Corps during World War II and later worked at Flint’s AC Spark Plug Division. A lifetime member of the NRA, in the late 1970s Bodary was co-owner of a short lived gay bar called the Lemon Tree.
Flint Journal, August 21, 2008
October 15, 1909 – March 19, 1984
The son of a Russian junk peddler, Sam “Bookie” Stewart worked as manager of his brother-in-law’s bar the Silver Dollar in Detroit in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1959, Stewart opened the Diplomat, famed for his female impersonators, and from 1970 to 1984 operated Bookie’s Club 870 on West McNichol’s.
Metra, March 28, 1984