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
January 11, 1953 – December 26, 1995
Cappisene Ford, known to most in the gay community as Ms. L.T.D. (for La Twiggy Darling), began to entertain in the 1970s at the Escape, My Fair Lady, and other Detroit bars. She later went on to perform in Paris and Hong Kong. From 1979 to 1980 she served as Records Officer for the Michigan Organization for Human Rights. She died from AIDS-related complications at age 42.
No known obituary
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 bar tended 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, 1994
Cruise, May 25, 1994
August 17, 1948 – October 12, 2008
Detroit and Redford resident Dennis Andrew Lamparski was bartender and manager at a number of Detroit gay establishments back to the early 1970s, including the Town Pump, the Voyager Room, the Unicorn, and the Gas Station. He also worked for many years at the annual Metra Picnic.
Metra, October 22, 2008
June 17, 1955 – June 27, 2005
Detroit native Regi Thompson worked as a party promoter before opening his own gay club, Regine’s Off the Park, in 1997 on the city’s east side. When a fire gutted the club, Thompson rebuilt and expanded the space into a premiere dance spot. He later renamed the bar the Palladium.
Between The Lines, June 30, 2005