September 16, 1955 – April 19, 1993
Dallas Skeet Williams Jr., from Detroit, moved to San Francisco to live a more openly gay life. He worked as a nurse and a massage therapist and became involved in modeling, bodybuilding, doing drag, photography, and performing in adult videos. As a revolutionary HIV+ union activist, he protested with ACT UP and fought police brutality. Williams lost his life to diabetes.
Bay Area Reporter, May 13 1993
April 22, 1955 – September 12, 1989
Kenneth John Kammann grew up on Detroit’s East Side and graduated in 1973 from Bishop Gallagher High School in Harper Woods. After attending Macomb Community College, Kallmann moved to San Francisco where he had a successful career in sales and co-founded the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Chorus. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 34.
Detroit Free Press, September 16, 1989
Bay Area Reporter, September 21, 1989
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
January 6, 1958 – August 16, 1993
Ernie Lee was born and grew up in Flint. He later moved to Dearborn, tended bar at the Hayloft Saloon and the Crystal Peacock in Detroit, and sang with the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus. With the death of his lover Jerry in 1989, Lee moved to Chicago, where he became active with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power and lived with his companion Gregg. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 35.
Cruise, September 8, 1993
March 13, 1931 – April 20, 2015
Marvin Phillip Marks of Southfield started his own accounting firm in the early 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s, he held leadership positions in numerous local gay organizations, including Dignity/Detroit, the Motor City Business Forum, the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council, the Forum Foundation, and Wellness Networks. Marks received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Pride Banquet in 2009.
Between The Lines, April 23, 2015
Marvin P. Marks Papers at the Reuther Library
December 12, 1958 – July 27, 2018
Dexter resident Michele Lee Donnelly was born in Detroit and graduated with the class of 1976 from Redford Union High School. She enjoyed camping on Lake Michigan and watching Tiger Baseball and was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor. Donnelly and her wife Sherry Smith were together 30 years.
Ann Arbor News, August 1, 2018
August 6, 1940 – December 29, 1990
Bruce Dettloff started his gay bar career as a waiter at the Conquest Lounge in Detroit, rising to the position of manager and rechristening it Blue Boy. In 1975, he opened the Gold Coast Saloon and later operated Applause. He also helped establish the BTI Bowling League and was co-founder of the Detroit Bar Guild. Dettloff was shot and killed at his home at age 50.
Cruise, January 9, 1991
Ten Percent, January 15-28, 1991
March 24, 1950 – February 3, 1986
Roger Thomas LeClaire attended Detroit’s De La Salle Collegiate High School, where he lettered in football. By the 1970s, he had made his way to California and did modeling under the name Geoffrey Kane for Playgirl and International Male. LeClaire also worked as a photographer and as a bartender in West Hollywood. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 35.
Detroit Free Press, February 7, 1986
The AIDS Memorial
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
September 15, 1948 – May 20, 1977
Billie Jean Truitt was born in Detroit worked as a hotel clerk. Truitt was, in the terminology of the 1970s, a “post-op transsexual” when she took her own life in her Detroit apartment at age 28. She was survived by her fiancé Art Walker.
Detroit Free Press, May 25, 1977