August 26, 1933 – September 19, 2005
Born in Chicago, Barbara Lee Christiansen graduated from Baldwin High School in Birmingham and earned her degree in dental hygiene from the University of Michigan. A resident of Huntington Woods, she was active with the local library, the garden club, the Detroit Zoo, and other causes. With her involvement with Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Christiansen was also a PFLAG mom.
Detroit News, September 21, 2005
February 25, 1951 – October 7, 1996
Redford resident David Ross Betley grew up in Beverly Hills and graduated in 1969 from Groves High School in Birmingham. Betley was employed as an assistant manager with Budget Rent-A-Car and, together with his companion Brian Carmody, belonged to the Motor City Organ Society. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.
Cruise, October 16, 1996
December 20, 1960 – July 19, 2002
A graduate of Groves High School in Birmingham and Eastern Michigan University, Maureen Elaine Dorrington of Beverly Hills performed was a noted actress on Detroit area stages. Her work included roles in two gay-themed productions of the Jewish Ensemble Theater, Torch Song Trilogy in 1996 and The Laramie Project in the 2001-2002 season, for which she was nominated for a Wilde Award.
Between The Lines, August 8, 2002
June 3, 1947 – March 9, 2005
Born in Detroit, Brian Joseph Killian earned his B.A. at Ferris State and MBA at Wayne State. He taught at Grosse Pointe North High School before switching careers and becoming a celebrated interior designer. Killian donated generously to the Triangle Foundation and served as co-chair of the 1993 Human Rights Campaign Michigan Dinner gala fundraiser. A fire in his Birmingham home took his life.
Detroit Free Press, March 11, 2005
Between The Lines, March 17, 2005
May 10, 1965 – March 4, 2020
A noted figure in Detroit’s electronic music scene, James Joseph Stone Jr. was born in Royal Oak and graduated from Seaholm High School in Birmingham in 1984. He attended Eastern Michigan University and came out as a young gay man on the dance floors of Todd’s and Heaven. A musician and DJ, Stone became an important distributor and promoter of house and techno throughout the metro area.
Potere-Modetz Funeral Home
The Advocate: Jim Stone, 1965-2020
June 17, 1935 – November 2, 1990
Richard Dutton grew up in Birmingham, graduated from high school in 1953, and served as a medic in the U.S. Army. Following his military service, he held retail jobs before starting bartending at Tiffany’s in the early 1970s. He later operated the Cove with Lin Shampine and Norm Schwartz and then worked for Menjo’s and staffed the door at the Pink Flamingo. At age 55, Dutton took his own life.
Cruise, November 14, 1990
March 19, 1929 – February 17, 2020
Detroit native Susan Reeder Breuer graduated from Birmingham High School, studied at Northwestern University, was married, raised three children, and earned her Ph.D. in psychology before divorcing in the late 1970s. At her 40th high school reunion, Breuer became reacquainted Nancy Kasperzak and the two became life partners, settling In Benzie County. Kasperzak survived her by four days.
Benzie County Record, March 18, 2020
October 3, 1928 – February 21, 2020
Benzonia resident and lifelong musician Nancy Pierce Kasperzak grew up in Metro Detroit and graduated from Birmingham High School. After divorcing and with her children grown, Kasperzak joined her childhood classmate Susan Reeder Breuer to forge a life partnership. They eventually settling on Crystal Lake in Benzie County and late, for a time had a horse farm. Breuer preceded her in death by four days.
Benzie County Record, March 4, 2020
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
November 14, 1975 – January 6, 2014
Christopher Neumann of Birmingham grew up in Grosse Pointe, attended Grosse Pointe High School, and attended the University of Michigan. He was vice president of the Detroit public relations firm Weber Shandwick. Nuemann and his life partner Todd Lloyd lost their lives in a single-engine plane crash.
Between The Lines, January 9, 2014