January 6, 1958 – August 16, 1993
Ernie Lee was born and grew up in Flint. He later moved to Dearborn, tended bar at the Hayloft Saloon and the Crystal Peacock in Detroit, and sang with the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus. With the death of his lover Jerry in 1989, Lee moved to Chicago, where he became active with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power and lived with his companion Gregg. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 35.
Cruise, September 8, 1993
August 6, 1940 – December 29, 1990
Bruce Dettloff started his gay bar career as a waiter at the Conquest Lounge in Detroit, rising to the position of manager and rechristening it Blue Boy. In 1975, he opened the Gold Coast Saloon and later operated Applause. He also helped establish the BTI Bowling League and was co-founder of the Detroit Bar Guild. Dettloff was shot and killed at his home at age 50.
Cruise, January 9, 1991
Ten Percent, January 15-28, 1991
April 12, 1932 – May 14, 2018
Orphaned as a child, former Detroiter Carl Mitchell joined the U.S. Army at age 17 and served as a combat medic during the Korean War. While home in Detroit on leave, he discovered the gay bars downtown, where his uniform attracted much attention. He later worked as a nurse in Detroit-area hospitals. Mitchell was survived in St. Petersburg, Florida by Robert Stanley, his partner of 48 years.
Between The Lines, May 24, 2018
October 18, 1957 – May 21, 1996
Gregory Thomas Hainbecker was born in Wyandotte and resided in Ecorse all his life, graduating in 1976 from Ecorse High School. He was employed as a truck driver, roofer, carpenter, and handyman. Hainbecker also worked as a longtime bartender at Gigi’s in Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.
Cruise, June 5, 1996
January 26, 1963 – March 9, 1995
Scott Bernard Amedure moved to Waterford from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was five, left high school at 17 to join the U.S. Army, and later worked as a bartender at Popper’s in Pontiac. In March 1995, two days after Amedure revealed his secret crush on his straight acquaintance Jonathan Schmitz during a taping of the Jenny Jones Show, Schmitz murdered him in his Orion Township mobile home.
Between The Lines, April 1995
July 19, 1961 – June 10, 1986
Robert Dean Lowe, Boo-Boo to friends, graduated with the class of 1980 from Lakeshore High School in St. Clair Shores. He worked as doorman at Menjo’s nightclub in the mid-1980s and was co-owner of the popular afterhours dance emporium Heaven. Lowe was found shot to death in his Palmer Woods home in Detroit at age 25.
Cruise, June 18, 1986
Metra, June 18, 1986
July 15, 1930 – June 21, 1993
Stanley Raymond Jankiewicz, better known in Detroit’s gay bar world as Don Cherry, graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1949 and attended Wayne State University. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and later managed four city golf courses until retiring in 1987. For 27 years he tended bar at such establishments as the Woodward Lounge, the Gas Station, and Menjo’s.
Cruise, June 30, 1993
July 6, 1950 – May 1, 1995
John Barry Ferman attended Davison High School and worked as a go-go dancer in Detroit gay bars during the 1970s. While pursuing a degree in psychology, he founded the first gay student organization at the University of Michigan-Flint. A longtime Flint resident, Ferman spent his last years in Key West, Florida. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 44.
Flint Journal, May 4, 1995
August 23, 1964 – January 11, 1997
David Andrew Sefernick was born in Flint and attended the Carman schools. During high school, he regularly snuck into the Copa nightclub, where he met his first gay friends and where he later had a job operating the light system. After living in New York for six years, he returned to Flint in the early 1990s and was a manager at Burger King. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 32.
Flint Journal, January 13, 1997
September 23, 1938 – February 3, 2019
Born in Lewiston, Idaho, Carl Ivan Jennings served in the U.S. Air Force before making his way to Michigan, where, in the late 1960s, he met his life partner and later husband Lawrence Gammons. In 1981, they opened Douglas Dunes Resort and in 2012 helped to found West Shore AWARE. The two were featured in the 2015 WGVU documentary Michigan Hometown Stories: Saugatuck/Douglas.
Holland Sentinel, February 6, 2019