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
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