February 2, 1957 – October 27, 2017
Karen Lynn Biehl graduated from Iron Mountain High School in 1975 and earned degrees in graphic design from Ferris State University and Northern Michigan University. She was a champion body builder and her titles included Miss U.P. 1985. She later worked for the Bureau of Printing, the Government Printing Office, and the Department of Homeland Security. Biehl was survived by her wife Lori Harvot.
Iron Mountain Daily News, November 3, 2017
January 21, 1970 – December 2, 1996
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Raishean Ali-Bai Garrett came of age and came out in Detroit in the late 1980s. He held a number of retail jobs in the fashion industry and a popular “club kid” at the Glass House, Menjo’s, Heaven, the Continental, Shoppers, and countless house parties. Before his death, Garrett moved with his sister to Columbia, South Carolina. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 26.
The State, December 3, 1996
Raishean, My Teacher and Muse
April 25, 1926 – September 5, 2015
Mary Elizabeth Pyle was born in Lansing and graduated from Lakeview Highland High School in Battle Creek in 1944, a member of its first graduating class. She was employed as a secretary with Post Cereals for more than 30 years and after retiring in the mid-1980s moved to Phoenix. Pyle was preceded in death by her partner of five decades Patsy Spahr and in her last years wintered back in Michigan.
Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society
July 9. 1979 – March 16, 2018
Tangela Moore-Powers graduated with the class of 1999 from Muskegon Heights High School and studied photography at Spring Arbor University. In the mid-2000s she moved to Mesa, Arizona, where she attended the Arizona School of Massage Therapy and worked as a stocker for Walmart. She and Sharon Powers met in 2006 and were married in September 2015.
Muskegon Chronicle, March 23, 2018
February 20, 1966 – July 19, 2000
Stephen Gendin was a teenage member of Mensa and valedictorian of the Ypsilanti High School class of 1984. While studying at Brown University, he learned he had HIV. Gerdin went on to become a leading activist in ACT UP/New York, a columnist for POZ magazine, and the founder of Community Prescription Service, a mail-order pharmacy distributor. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 34.
New York Times, July 22,2000
Remembering Stephen Gendin on YouTube
Stephen Gendin Papers at Yale University
May 25, 1939 – September 17, 2017
Born in Mason, Karen Anne Knudstrup graduated from Mason High School, earned her Bacherlor’s in social science in 1961 at Michigan State University, and went on to teach physical education in Catholic and public high schools in Chicago. She was a delegate in the teacher’s union and also served in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Knudstrup was survived by Diana Haskell, her partner of 52 years.
Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2017
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
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
April 22, 1935 – January 6, 2018
Painter, sculptor, and pioneering filmmaker Jere Van Syoc graduated from Lincoln High in Ferndale. She went on to earn her B.A. and M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later taught at Western Michigan University and Nazareth College. In 1977, Van Syoc co-founded Aradia in Grand Rapids, where her home was known as “a palace for the goddess.” She died at age 82 in West Virginia.
High Lawn Funeral Home
Jere Van Syoc Collection at The Woman Behind the Camera