Joseph Accardi

July 17, 1905 – December 11, 1980

Born in Italy, Joseph Accardi immigrated to the U.S., married in 1937, and worked as a storekeeper and an autoworker in Detroit before moving to Grand Rapids.  He owned and operated Papa Joe’s Show Bar from the late 1950s until his death.

Grand Rapids Press, December 13, 1980

Metra, December 18, 1980

Marcella Robinson

Marcella Robinson pic

November 12, 1929 – April 20, 2003

Originally from Beverly, Massachusetts, Marcella “Marcy” Louise Robinson served in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1955.  She later moved to Grand Rapids, where she worked as a draftsperson and as an assembler for Laser Alignment.  Robinson and her life partner Myra Marshall attended Reconciliation Metropolitan Community Church.

Grand Rapids Press, April 23, 2003

Sheila Fortuin

Sheila Fortuin pic

May 3, 1952 – November 23, 2016

Born in Byron Center, Portage resident Sheila Fortuin graduated from Byron Center High School in 1970, and attended Ferris State University for a short time before taking a job with the city of East Grand Rapids.  She later worked at the Rock-Tenn paper plant in Otsego until its closure in 2004.  Fortuin and her life partner Trish Breithaupt shared 21 years together.

Life Story

Billie Hill

Billie Hill pic

April 22, 1925 – January 27, 2002

A native of Pennsylvania, Mabel “Billie” Hill moved to Detroit in her youth and discovered Detroit’s gay bar scene while working in an auto factory during World War II.  She later owned an antiques business with her then-partner Rose Bonham.  A longtime member of the Metropolitan Church of Detroit, Hill tended the door at the Underground and, as a lesbian senior, was profiled in the Detroit News.

Between The Lines, January 30, 2002

Randy French

Randy French pic

September 2, 1943 – November 24, 2015

Born in Pontiac, Randell “Randy” French served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, worked at the GM V-8 Engine Plant in Flint, and belonged to the Masonic Lodge in Ortonville.  For a time, he also tended bar at the Interchange and other Detroit gay nightspots.

Flint Journal, May 15, 2016

Homer F___

August 8, 1908 – November 13, 1984

Autoworker Homer F___ was arrested in 1938 while cruising in the Strand Theater in downtown Flint.  The judge in his case asked if he should be sterilized, if that would solve his condition.  After completing probation, he served in U.S. Army during World War II, married, and later moved to Washington State, fathering five children.

Anacortes American, November 14, 1984