Michael Sweazey

Michael Sweazey pic

November 16, 1953 – November 16, 2004

Michael Sweazey of Canton and formerly of Garden City began bartending at Gigi’s in Detroit in the mid-1970s and was one of six employees to inherit ownership of the bar after the death of Tony Garneau.  For many years he worked as Gigi’s show director and performed female impersonation under the name Vanessa LaSalle.  Sweazey was survived by his life partner of 28 years Steven McAfee.

Between The Lines, December 2, 2004

Patricia Wootton

Patricia Wootton pic

February 2, 1936 – January 24, 2015

Patricia Margaret Wootton worked in health care at Zieger Osteopathic Hospital in Detroit.  In retirement, she participated in the Western Wayne County Senior Olympics, medaling in golf.  Wootton and her life partner Patricia Fair shared a home together in Garden City.

Detroit Free Press, January 25, 2015

Clifford Reynolds Jr.

Clifford Reynolds pic

January 25, 1921 – December 26, 1997

Actor and artist, Clifford Reynolds Jr. grew up in Highland Park and attended what was then called Wayne University in Detroit.  He married in 1945, moved with his wife to California in 1952, and they divorced in 1968.  A radio and television performer, Reynolds was survived by companion Lorne Gay.

Bay Area Reporter, January 1, 1998

Joseph Maldonado

Joseph Maldanado pic

March 22, 1949 – July 25, 1989

Born in Detroit, Joseph Daniel Maldonado grew up in Saginaw and moved back to Detroit following high school.  Through much of the 1970s he performed as Dani DiLetto at such clubs at Morey’s, the Iron Hinge, and Bookie’s Club 870.  DiLetto was awarded the title of Miss Gay America in 1976 when the original winner had the crown rescinded.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.

Saginaw News, July 27, 1989

This Week in Texas, August 11, 1989

Pearl Berlin

Pearl Berlin pic

January 6, 1925 – May 17. 2018

Born in New York, Pearl Berlin earned her Ph.D. from Penn State and from 1959 to 1971 was professor of health and physical education at Wayne State University.  She then took a faculty position at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.  She and her life partner Ellen Gerber were plaintiffs in a court challenge of North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage.   The couple legally wed in 2013.

Greensboro News & Record, May 19, 2018

Jamie Phillips-Fox

Jamie Phillips-Fox pic

March 2, 1953 – June 7, 2006

Detroit native and Center Line resident Jamie Marie Phillips-Fox was a pioneering transgender volunteer and activist in South East Michigan.  With her future wife Michelle Fox-Phillips, she founded what was then known as Transgender Detroit.  Phillips-Fox was also involved in Crossroads, Transgender Michigan, Affirmations, and PFLAG Detroit.

Detroit News, June 10, 2006

Between The Lines, June 15, 2006

Nancy Fitzgerald

Nancy Fitzgerald pic

September 12, 1945 – May 24, 2008

A Detroit native and a 1964 graduate of Livonia Bentley High School, Nancy Fitzgerald earned her Associate’s degree from Lansing Community College and her B.S. from Spring Arbor College in 1998.  She worked as an LPN and held a number of management positions in health care and insurance.  An avid motorcyclist, Fitzgerald and her partner Lisa Whitehead shared a home in Eaton Rapids.

Lesbian Connection, September/October 2008