March 8, 1954 – April 12, 2022
James Patrick “Jimmy” Dowdle, known to many in the LGBTQ+ community as Poodles, was born in Battle Creek and graduated in 1972 from St. Philip Catholic Central High School. After moving to Detroit, he joined the waitstaff at Menjo’s, later served as manager, and was co-owner for several years in the early 2000s. For the last 16 years of his life, Dowdle tended bar at Danny’s Irish Pub in Ferndale.
OutPost, May 2022
Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care
July 23, 1927 – March 5, 1998
Originally from Illinois, Frank Lloyd Bigger Jr. worked as manager and bartender at Joe Covello’s in Lansing from 1975 to 1991. He went on to manage JB’s Saloon for three years before helping launch the Esquire Bar in 1994. The Lansing Association for Human Rights recognized Bigger with a Prism Award in 1995. Following his death in a car accident, an annual euchre charity event was named in his honor.
Between The Lines, April 16, 1998
November 19, 1936 – April 29, 2021
Klaus Reich, better known to gay Metro Detroiters by Tony Rome, was born in Berlin, Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1950s. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he began an aircraft servicing business in Ypsilanti. He later operated Foof’s Down Under downstairs at Gigi’s nightclub in Detroit. From 1979 to 1999, Rome published Cruise magazine before retiring to warmer climates.
Desert Sun, May 13, 2021
October 26, 1966 – December 21, 2007
Born in Los Angeles, Kurt Andrew Tamm went to Bentley High School in Livonia. He later tended bar at Backstreet in Detroit and Cobalt in Ferndale. In his last years, Tamm made a home in Puerto Rico. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.
Between The Lines, January 17, 2008
March 3, 1945 – December 6, 1992
Native Detroiter Bruce Leonard Allen attended Lutheran West High School. He was a member of Tribe and a co-founder of Baccus and worked as a bartender at the R&R, the E-Ramp, and Ruby’s. Allen also performed as Tracy Daye, notably as a member of the house cast at Gigi’s, receiving the Performers Awards of Detroit Lifetime Achievement in 1992. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.
Cruise, December 16, 1992
December 5, 1949 – October 27, 2004
Born in Mount Clemens, Terrance Jacob “Terry” Romatz of Fraser graduated with the class of 1968 from Fraser High School. He later worked at Sears and was self-employed cleaning houses. Romatz was also a longtime Metra magazine employee who organized the Metra Picnic and delivered the publication at bar throughout Metro Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 54.
OutPost, November 10, 2004
Between The Lines, November 11, 2004
Faulmann & Walsh Golden Rule Funeral Home
June 25, 1959 – October 17, 1992
Bruce Michael Andrews was born in Detroit and attended school in Troy and Sterling Heights. He worked for a time for a construction firm and on the assembly line for Ford Motors before taking a position as maintenance supervisor for a senior living complex. Andrews also tended bar part-time at the Gas Station. At age 33, he was found murdered in his Sterling Heights home.
Cruise, October 28, 1992
January 1, 1921 – May 14, 1997
Indian Village homeowner Andrew “Andy” Karagas was the son of Greek and Italian immigrants and served in the Pacific during World War II. Brother to Woodward Lounge owner William Karagas, he served as the nighttime host there for more than 40 years and was active in the Detroit Bar Guild. Generations of customers recalled Karagas booming bar “Tonight’s the Night!” as he strolled the bar.
Detroit Free Press, May 19, 1997
Cruise, May 21, 1997
Between The Lines, June 1997
August 17, 1915 – December 27, 1977
Harold James “Buddy” Bigham grew up in Royal Oak and had a long career as a photographer in the research department of General Motors. A homeowner in Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood, Bigham was a familiar patron for many years at the Diplomat, Bookie’s Club 870, and other local gay bars.
Detroit Free Press, December 28, 1977
October 27, 1961 – May 21, 2005
Known in Detroit’s gay community as Tommy K, Thomas Patrick Kyewski attended Hamtramck High School. At various local nightspots in the 1980s and ‘90s, he did go-go dancing and performed as Tina Wells, and held the distinction of winning both the Miss Gay Detroit and Mr. Gay Detroit competitions. Kyewski also won female impersonation titles at Gigi’s, the Gold Coast, Club Incognito, and Footlights.
Our Community Roots