Sylvia Robinson

Sylvia Robinson pic

October 28, 1941 – June 15, 2001

Sylvia Robinson moved to Detroit at age 10, attended Northwestern High School, and earned her MSW from Wayne State.  In 1977, she was appointed liaison to the gay community for the city’s Human Rights Department.  Robinson also co-founded the Detroit Coalition of Black Gays in 1979, served as education officer for the Michigan Organization for Human Rights, and later attended Full Truth Fellowship Church.

No known obituary

Dannie Lucas

Dannie Lucas pic

May 4, 1958 – September 5, 1994

Daniel Robert “Dannie” Lucas spent most of his life in Battle Creek before moving to Chicago in 1991.  Lucas worked as a hairstylist, was long active with the Alano Club, and performed in community theater, realizing a long-held dream with his final role in “A Streetcar Named Desire” playing Stanley Kowalski.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 36.

Gay Chicago, September 22, 1994

Harvi Griffin

Harvi Griffin pic

December 14, 1936 – August 9, 2005

Detroit native Harvi Alonzo Griffin was a world-renowned harpist, singer, and teacher.  He graduated from Cass Tech High School and earned a B.A. and his first She M.A. from Michigan State University, served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964, and pursued further studies at the Eastman School of Music.  Griffin moved to Phoenix in the late 1980s and was survived by his partner of 13 years Lee Barr.

Arizona Republic, August 21, 2005

Deloris Riddlesprigger

Deloris Riddlesprigger pic

February 13, 1942 – March 31, 2013

Deloris Jean Riddlesprigger grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and studied osteopathic medicine at Michigan State University, earning her doctor degree in 1980.  She specialized in anesthesiology and practiced in Metro Detroit for more than three decades.  Riddlesprigger and her beloved partner Barbara White shared a home in Southfield for 28 years.

Oakland Press, April 2, 2013

Harold McCormick

Harold McCormick pic

January 4, 1934 – May 9, 1999

Civil rights activist Harold McCormick was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1962.  After moving to Metro Detroit, he was engaged in social work and became CEO of Quality Human Services.  McCormick led a largely closeted life until he was found murdered in his Royal Oak Township apartment, the victim of a man he met at an adult book store.

Detroit Free Press, May 13, 1999

Between The Lines, June 10, 1999

Between The Lines, July 1, 1999

Marc Loveless

Marc Loveless pic

March 23, 1960 – March 8, 2020

Longtime African American LGBTQ activist and Chicago resident Marcus Zohntell Loveless graduated from Redford High School in 1978 and earned his Bachelor’s from Wayne State University.  In 1988, he helped form the Michigan Lesbian/Gay Democratic Caucus.  Loveless was later an instrumental force with the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and active in the founding of Affirmations.

Windy City Times, March 9, 2020

Hyde Park Herald, March 10, 2020

Veronica Mitchell

Veronica Mitchell pic

January 9, 1956 – March 1, 2003

Detroit native Veronica Perryman Mitchell attended Mumford High School.  In a 1995 Detroit Free Press feature, she revealed how HIV helped her turn from a life of addiction.  Among her achievements, Mitchell served as AIDS ombudsperson for the City of Detroit, began a women with AIDS support group in C-HAG, and sat on the board of Men of Color.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.

Detroit Free Press, March 6, 2003

Between The Lines, March 13, 2003

Robert Penick III

Robert Penick III pic

September 24, 1965 – May 23, 1992

Robert Edward Lee Penick III graduated with the class of 1983 from Cass Tech High School in Detroit.  He came out in the early 1980s on the dance floors of such gay nightclubs as Todd’s, Bookie’s, and the Famous Door.  At age 20, Penick moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 28.

No known obituary

Gary Davis

Gary Davis pic

October 17, 1954 – December 11, 2018

Gary Scott Davis, a resident of Palm Springs, California since 2004, attended the Grand Rapids public schools and graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana.  He had a long career with the Blackmer division of Dover manufacturers in Grand Rapids.  Davis met his future husband Eric Duran in the early 1980s and the two were together more than 35 years.

Grand Rapids Press, April 24, 2019

Marjorie Lyda

Marj Lyda pic

July 20, 1930 – January 21, 2009

Marjorie Ann Lyda earned her MSW from Wayne State and in 1967 became the first African-American woman to open a psychotherapy practice in Birmingham.  She was one of the earliest therapists in Metro Detroit to provide positive counseling to gay clients and offered pioneering treatment for people now termed transgender.  Lyda also served as pastor for churches in Ferndale and Detroit.

Detroit News, January 28, 2009