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
February 15, 1934 – January 27, 2020
Former Rochester Hills resident Nancy Ann Unwin earned her M.A. in clinical psychology from the University of Detroit and served as a school psychologist for 25 years in Detroit, Clawson, and Lapeer. Through Affirmations in 2001, she formed OUTSkirts, a discussion group for older lesbians. Unwin also co-founded Women OUT & About to provide a social outlet with dances, picnics, and other activities.
Detroit Free Press, January 31, 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
February 19, 1956 – March 14, 1999
George Edmund Potts, resident and booster of the Palmer Park neighborhood in Detroit was born in Highland Park and worked for many years in administration at Henry Ford Hospital. He later worked as a grant writer for the Detroit Department of Parks and Recreation. Potts was a familiar customer at Menjo’s.
Cruise, March 24, 1999
December 22, 1966 – January 25, 2003
Southfield activist, performance artist, and poet Oddis was born in Detroit as Otis Mitchell and regularly showcased his work at 1515 Broadway. In 1998, he took part in the group Detroit Noir as it won first-place in the DC Black Pride poetry slam. Oddis also worked as a professional model, worked as a promoter for Club One X, and participated in Detroit Black Gay Pride and Karibu House.
Between The Lines, January 30, 2003
May 21, 1925 – July 6, 2014
Detroit native Margaret Elnora Wenzell played nine seasons in the 1940s and 1950s for numerous teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including the Grand Rapids Chicks, the Muskegon Lassies, and the Battle Creek Belles. Employed with General Motors in Michigan and later an electric company in California, she was laid to rest next to her life companion and spouse Dorothy Kamenshek.
Forest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuary
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