William Corby

October 4, 1955 – November 4, 1990

Detroit native William Robert “Bill” Corby II attended Ferris State University and was employed with the Chrysler Corporation.  Active in the leather community, he was DJ at the R&R Saloon and the Detroit Eagle.  For a time in the mid-1980s, Corby and his lover Chuck Turza worked as stewards and waiters for a Hawaiian cruise line.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 35.

Cruise, November 28, 1990

Karen Biehl

Karen Biehl pic

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

Roger Reisdorf

Roger Reisdorf pic

May 30, 1949 – November 21, 2010

Roger Stanley Reisdorf graduated from Redford Union High School and earned his B.S. from Ferris State University.  He held positions with Grandview Nursing Home, McWilliams Credit Reports, and the Detroit Transportation Corporation.  In the early 1990s, Reisdorf became active with Affirmations, later served on the board of directors, and helped raise more than $5 million for its new building.

Between The Lines, December 9, 2010

Larry Kunkle

larry kunkle pic

September 24, 1964 – March 10, 2002

Ferndale resident Lawrence James Kunkle, better known as Larry, was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated in 1973 from Warren High School.  He earned his Bachelor’s in advertising from Ferris State University in 1987 and worked in advertising, journalism, and computer tech.  Kunkle was active in WAGS, Wonderful Animals Giving Support, and was named Mr. Detroit Eagle 2002.

Between The Lines, April 11, 2002

Richard Villaire

Richard Villaire pic

May 8, 1948 – January 19, 1995

Ferndale resident and pioneering AIDS activist Richard William Villaire was born in Wyandotte and attended Roseville High School and Ferris State University before earning his B.A. in psychology at Eastern Michigan University.  He was an officer of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights and was a founder of Wellness Networks, Friends Alliance, and the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project.

Between The Lines, February 1995

Metra, February 15, 1995

Between The Lines, March 1995

Ty Bady

Abraham Bady pic

July 2, 1959 – May 23, 1987

Abraham “Ty” Bady grew up in Saginaw, graduated from Buena Vista High School, and attended Ferris State University before moving to San Francisco in 1982.  Bady was active in the organization Black and White Men Together.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 27.

Saginaw News, May 28, 1987

Bay Area Reporter, June 4, 1987

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

Arlene Kish

Arlene Kish pic

October 12, 1950 – January 7, 2017

Business owner Arlene Kish attended Shafer High School in Southgate and studied marketing and advertising at Ferris State University.  A devoted transgender community organizer and activist, Kish served on the board of Affirmations.  As a conservative political independent, she often took flack for supporting Republican causes.

Heritage Newspapers, January 11, 2017