October 17, 1954 – December 11, 2018
Gary Scott Davis, a resident of Palm Springs, California since 2004, attended the Grand Rapids public schools and graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana. He had a long career with the Blackmer division of Dover manufacturers in Grand Rapids. Davis met his future husband Eric Duran in the early 1980s and the two were together more than 35 years.
Grand Rapids Press, April 24, 2019
June 6, 1949 – January 9, 1990
Michael Phelan grew up in St. Clair Shores and graduated from Lakeview High School. During the 1970s, he performed female impersonation as Whitney Blake at various Detroit bars and won titles for Miss Todd’s, Miss Bookie’s, and Miss Michigan before moving to California. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.
Cruise, January 24, 1990
May 21, 1925 – July 6, 2014
Detroit native Margaret Elnora Wenzell played nine seasons in the 1940s and 1950s for numerous teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including the Grand Rapids Chicks, the Muskegon Lassies, and the Battle Creek Belles. Employed with General Motors in Michigan and later an electric company in California, she was laid to rest next to her life companion and spouse Dorothy Kamenshek.
Forest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuary
June 20, 1961 – December 12, 1992
William Harrison Ashley graduated with the class of 1979 from Pontiac Central High School. In 1983, Ashley was one of three partners who opened Chosen Books in its original location on McNichols in Detroit. Ashley left the business in 1987 and moved to Ohio, later settling in Washington, DC. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 31.
Cruise, February 3, 1993
October 25, 1968 – August 7, 2013
Detroit native Sean Franklin Sasser graduated from Cass Technical High School and attended the University of Chicago for a year. He gained national celebrity a few years later as the HIV-positive AIDS educator boyfriend of Pedro Zamora on MTV’s The Real World in San Francisco. Sasser went on to become a pastry chef and was survived by husband and longtime partner Michael Kaplan.
Washington Blade, August 8, 2013
CNN, August 8, 2013
January 16, 1946 – September 21, 2015
Born in Oregon, photographer and filmmaker Honey Lee Cottrell grew up in mid-Michigan and graduated in 1964 from Jackson High School. She completed a year at Michigan State University before she found her vocation while working in a photo lab. Cottrell subsequently moved to San Francisco, where she was employed with the union movement and became a pioneering creator of lesbian erotica.
Windy City Times, September 26, 2015
The Advocate, November 13, 2015
Honey Lee Cottrell Papers at Cornell University
November 18, 1955 – May 18, 2018
Detroit native Margaret Irene “Peggy” McNichol graduated from Mercy High School in Farmington Hills in 1973 and earned her B.S. in nursing from the University of Michigan in 1977. Following graduation, she relocated to the West Coast and lived in Seattle, Oakland, and Portland. McNichol went to medical for her M.D. and became a family care physician. She was survived by her wife Sue Sell.
Detroit Free Press, June 10, 2018