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 2, 1940 – April 10, 2005
Royal Oak resident Sharon Lee Smith was born in Detroit and graduated of Redford High School in 1958. She was later employed as an office manager for many years. Smith enjoyed lesbian romance novels, the LPGA, the History Channel, and Jeapardy. Before a stroke forced her to live in a nursing home, she shared a home with her partner of 29 years Joyce.
Lesbian Connection September/October 2005
September 27, 1949 – February 1, 2014
Norma Jean Andres graduated with the class of 1967 from Chippewa High School in Clinton Township and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Wayne State University. She worked as an EMT, hospital attendant, and vocational counselor before heading Project Hope, which provided HIV/AIDS Services in Detroit. Andres was a supporter of Affirmations and the Ruth Ellis Center.
Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons
April 16, 1975 – May 20, 2002
Detroit native and homemaker Eunica Jackqulie Thurmond died of smoke inhalation during a house fire at her Lenox Street home. She was survived by her partner Nicole McDowell. Funds raised through Affirmations community center helped pay for Thurmond’s burial.
Between The Lines, June 27, 2002
October 10, 1953 – October 8, 1978
Born in Battle Creek, John Wayne Schallberg attended Climax-Scotts High School, graduated from American Beauty College, and operated the Masquerade Shop in Climax. He was a participant in the Kalamazoo Gay Liberation Front and, as Nadine, was one of several drag queens who rode the hood of a Ford in Detroit’s first pride parade in 1972. Schallberg took his own life just before his 25th birthday.
Kalamazoo Gazette, October 10, 1978
May 10, 1967 – September 27, 2000
Kenneth Ian “Kenny” Heron was a lifelong Detroit resident and worked for the Michigan Humane Society. He also served for nearly five years as the popular Wednesday night DJ at Off Broadway East. At age 33, Heron was shot and killed in an attempted carjacking on the city’s west side.
Between The Lines, October 5, 2000
October 4, 1955 – November 4, 1990
Detroit native William Robert “Bill” Corby II attended Ferris State University and was employed with the Chrysler Corporation. Active in the leather community, he was DJ at the R&R Saloon and the Detroit Eagle. For a time in the mid-1980s, Corby and his lover Chuck Turza worked as stewards and waiters for a Hawaiian cruise line. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 35.
Cruise, November 28, 1990
February 16, 1953 – February 14, 2011
Originally from Florida, Steve Nader got his start as a gay dance club DJ in Atlanta, Georgia. After moving to Michigan in the 1970s, he helped found the Disco Pool Detroit record pool and went on to spin discs at such bars as Five West, the Gas Station, Menjo’s, the Detroit Eagle, and Off Broadway East. He lost his life to prostate cancer at age 58.
Between The Lines [online only], May 7, 2015
April 12, 1938 – October 23, 2010
Huntington Woods resident Frank Gordon Martin was born in Detroit, graduated with the January 1957 class from Pershing High, and attended Wayne State University. Martin later operated a textbook store near campus and in the 1980s was president of the Association of Suburban People. He was survived by Al Vezza, his life partner of 54 years. The two met on a streetcar just before Martin’s 18th birthday.
Between The Lines, November 4, 2010
March 31, 1943 – February 19, 1996
A native of Detroit and graduate of Mumford High School, Gerald Jhazel “Gerry” Fife won a Hopwood Award for his fiction at the University of Michigan and earned his B.A. in journalism there in 1965. After moving to California, he worked as a radio reporter for KSWO in Los Angeles and held positions with Crocker Bank and at the University of San Francisco.
Bay Area Reporter, April 11, 1996