December 9, 1946 – October 21, 2020
Born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised by his mother in Detroit, Frederick Weston attended the High School of Commerce and went on to earn his Bachelor’s from Ferris State. In his 20s, he moved to New York, where he worked low-paying jobs while relishing the gay scene and creating an array of visual arts. A long-term survivor of AIDS, Weston gained recognition for his artistic genius only late in life.
POZ, October 29, 2020
New York Times, November 18, 2020
April 22, 1948 – December 18, 1978
Muskegon native Gregory Don Williams graduated with the class of 1966 from Muskegon Catholic High School and subsequently attended Michigan State University and Wayne State University. In June 1972, he took part in Michigan’s first-ever pride celebration in Detroit. At the time of his death, he was employed with a Wall Street brokerage firm in New York.
Muskegon Chronicle, December 20, 1978
Erin Nicole Oyster was born in Cadillac and graduated from Reed City High School in 1997. She attended Western Michigan University, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and where she earned her Bachelor’s in education in 2002. After college Oyster taught high school English in Arizona. She was survived by her life partner Heather Schonfeld.
Big Rapids Pioneer, January 15, 2021
February 2, 1968 – January 1, 2022
Damon Michael Williams was born in Flint and graduated with the class of 1986 from Grand Blanc High School. He relocated to Columbus where he attended Ohio State University. At the time of his death, Williams worked as Educational Coordinator for OhioHealth. He was preceded in death by his mother. Survivors included his father, his siblings, and his boyfriend Ricky.
Lawrence E. Moon Funeral Home
November 15, 1953 – October 24, 1991
Dale Allen Cramton grew up in Jackson and graduated from Parkside High School. As a first-year college student, he was founder of the Gay Liberation Front at Central Michigan University in September 1971. Cramton later moved to Los Angeles where he made a life for himself as an artist. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 37.
Jackson Citizen-Patriot, October 26, 1991
September 15, 1963 – December 16, 2007
Lansing native James Michael Nickoff was kicked out of his home at age 15. He survived on dishwashing jobs and worked his way through college, earning his B.A. in accounting at Michigan State, where he was active in the Lesbian-Gay Council. After he moved to San Francisco, he served on the founding board of Equality California and married his partner Dave Lawson in 2004. Nickoff took his own life at age 44.
Bay Area Reporter, December 27, 2007
September 2, 1954 – February 22, 2018
Wilbert Anthony “Billi” Gordon Jr. graduated from Union High School in Dowagiac, class of 1972. He left seminary to attend the University of Michigan, where he became involved in gay activism, including as spokesperson for the Ann Arbor Black Gay Caucus. Gordon went on to become a celebrated model, entertainer, writer, and neuroscientist. He was survived by his spouse of 30 years Robert Schallert.
Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2018
September 20. 1953 – December 12, 1992
Detroit native Allen Wallace majored in art history at Wayne State University and led protests in the 1970s to save the MacKenzie House, an effort that gave birth to Preservation Wayne. Wallace later worked with the Martha Graham Center in New York and as a publicity agent in Los Angeles, where he resided with his companion Michael Lombardo. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 39.
Detroit Free Press, December 17, 1992
WSU Alumni News, Winter 1993
August 24, 1942 – September 30, 2013
Linda Ann Reuther, the daughter of UAW founder Walter P. Reuther, grew up in Detroit and Rochester and earned her Bachelor’s in education from the University of Michigan in 1965. She taught head start for several years, operated a quilt store in Marin County, California, and later created a meditation retreat center to the north in Albion. Reuther was survived by her life companion Michele Tellier.
Fort Bragg Advocate-News, October 10, 2013
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