Bruce Hays

Bruce Hays pic

February 26, 1968 – pronounced dead November 6, 1999

Mundy Township resident Bruce Michael Hays attended Grand Blanc High, came out as a teen sneaking into Detroit bars, and in the mid-1980s started a computer dating service for Flint-area gay youth.  He later completed three years of college and worked as a bartender.  Hays gained national notoriety for swiping Michael Jackson’s glove from the Motown Museum.  He took his own life at age 31.

Flint Journal, November 12, 1999

David Betley

David Betley pic

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

Ralph O’Reilly

Ralph OReilly pic2

April 16, 1919 – April 19, 1995

Cleveland, Ohio native Ralph Anthony O’Reilly served as a Navy lieutenant in the Pacific during World War II and later landed in Detroit where he was employed as an engineer with General Motors and met his life partner of 43 years Ralph Stallings.  The couple moved to Davisburg in the early 1960s and operated a Japanese bonsai nursery until they retired to southern California.

Times-Advocate, April 25, 1995

Ralph Stallings

Ralph Stallings pic

March 11, 1910 – February 8, 1994

World War II vet Ralph Thompson Stallings began working as a bellhop while attending Saginaw High School and rose in the ranks of hotels in Flint and Detroit.  He met his life partner Ralph O’Reilly at a bridge party when neither played bridge.  They soon shared an apartment in Detroit and later a home in Davisburg, where they raised Japanese bonsai before moving to Escondido, California in the early 1980s.

Times-Advocate, February 11, 1994

Deb Price

Deb Price pic

February 27. 1958 – November 20, 2020

Deborah Jane “Deb” Price started college at the University of Michigan before transferring to Stanford, where she earned her B.A. and M.A.  In 1992, while working for the Detroit News, she began writing a regular column on gay life, the first for a mainstream daily newspaper.  The column was soon syndicated throughout the U.S. and continued for 18 years.  Price was survived by her wife Joyce Murdoch.

Between The Lines, December 10, 2020

New York Times, December 10, 2020

Andy Karagas

Andy Karagas pic

January 1, 1921 – May 14, 1997

Indian Village homeowner Andrew “Andy” Karagas was the son of Greek and Italian immigrants and served in the Pacific during World War II.  Brother to Woodward Lounge owner William Karagas, he served as the nighttime host there for more than 40 years and was active in the Detroit Bar Guild.  Generations of customers recalled Karagas booming bar “Tonight’s the Night!” as he strolled the bar.

Detroit Free Press, May 19, 1997

Cruise, May 21, 1997

Between The Lines, June 1997

Brent Dorian Carpenter

Brent Dorian Carpenter pic

April 19, 1964 – March 23, 2020

Writer and artists Brent Dorian Carpenter was born in Detroit and graduated from Cass Tech in 1981.  His entrée into Detroit’s African American LGBTQ community came in 2001 when he approached Hotter Than July planners to promote his first novel, Man of the Cloth.  Carpenter became and AIDS activist and he worked as a reporter and regular columnist for Between The Lines before moving to Atlanta in 2006.

Between The Lines, April 16, 2020

Jerry Moore

Jerry Moore pic

April 24, 1928 – May 22, 2020

Jerry Abraham Moore grew up in Detroit, graduated from Redford High School, and attended Wayne State before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950.  Following his military service he became immersed in Detroit’s gay bar scene and from 1958 to 1960 served as secretary of the short-lived Detroit Area Council of the Mattachine Society, the first ever formal homosexual organization in Michigan.

Between The Lines [online only], June 12, 2020

Nikki Nicholas

Nikki Nicholas pic

October 1, 1983 – February 21, 2003

Southfield resident Nikki Nicholas, an entertainer in Detroit gay bars, was found slain at age 19 in what the Triangle Foundation identified as an anti-trans hate crime in an abandoned house in Green Oak Township.  The Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project held a candlelight vigil in her memory and the National Association for the Advancement of Transgender People later marched in Lansing in her honor.

Between The Lines, March 6, 2003

The Final Assault on Nikki

Harold “Buddy” Bigham

Harold Bigham pic

August 17, 1915 – December 27, 1977

Harold James “Buddy” Bigham grew up in Royal Oak and had a long career as a photographer in the research department of General Motors.  A homeowner in Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood, Bigham was a familiar patron for many years at the Diplomat, Bookie’s Club 870, and other local gay bars.

Detroit Free Press, December 28, 1977