Bruce Hays

Bruce Hays pic

February 26, 1968 – pronounced dead November 6, 1999

Mundy Township resident Bruce Michael Hays attended Grand Blanc High, came out as a teen sneaking into Detroit bars, and in the mid-1980s started a computer dating service for Flint-area gay youth.  He later completed three years of college and worked as a bartender.  Hays gained national notoriety for swiping Michael Jackson’s glove from the Motown Museum.  He took his own life at age 31.

Flint Journal, November 12, 1999

Ralph Stallings

Ralph Stallings pic

March 11, 1910 – February 8, 1994

World War II vet Ralph Thompson Stallings began working as a bellhop while attending Saginaw High School and rose in the ranks of hotels in Flint and Detroit.  He met his life partner Ralph O’Reilly at a bridge party when neither played bridge.  They soon shared an apartment in Detroit and later a home in Davisburg, where they raised Japanese bonsai before moving to Escondido, California in the early 1980s.

Times-Advocate, February 11, 1994

Jason Johnson

Jason Johnson pic 2

April 1, 1983 – June 18, 1999

Swartz Creek resident Jason Michael Johnson was born in Flint and attended Swartz Creek High School.  He was a member of the concert band and the swim team and participated in quiz bowl.  He was also active in the online gay community.  Johnson lost his life at age 16 in an automobile crash in I-75.

Between The Lines, July 1, 1999

Wayne Friday

Wayne Friday pic 2

November 26, 1936 – October 12, 2016

Originally from Flint, Wayne Friday served in the U.S. Navy following high school and later worked as a stock broker on Wall Street and in San Francisco where Friday became close friends with future gay supervisor Harvey Milk.  He also tended bar and for more than three decades he wrote a political column for the Bay Area Reporter.  Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Friday took his own life at age 79.

Bay Area Reporter, October 13, 2016

Jill Ramseyer

Jill Ramseyer pic

September 19, 1934 – August 4, 1992

Born in Bay City, Jill Marilyn (Conway) Ramseyer graduated from the Henry Ford Hospital nursing program in 1955 and began work as an RN for the Genesee County Public Health Department in 1972.  The first nurse in Flint to do HIV testing, she was founder and later president of Wellness HIV/AIDS Services.  Ramseyer retired to Au Gres in 1991 and was survived by her husband and two children.

Flint Journal, August 5, 1992

Shannon Holihan

Shannon Holihan pic

December 10, 1966 – May 30, 1998

Flint resident Shannon Daniel Holihan attended Grand Blanc High School, was employed as a computer programmer for the Kmart corporation in Troy, and cared for his mother.  Holihan was murdered at age 31 after leaving the parking lot of the State Bar, his body found bludgeoned in the head behind a nearby restaurant.

Between The Lines, June 11, 1998

Betty Finout

Betty Finout pic

December 20, 1922 – August 6, 2019

Lake Ann resident and Clare native Betty Jane Finout worked on the assembly line in Flint during World War II and earned her B.S. from Central Michigan University.  She went on to coach and teach physical education at schools in Fenton, Holly, Lake Fenton, and Owosso.  Finout enjoyed an active retirement into her 90s and was survived by two children and by longtime partner Samantha Niergarth.

Lesbian Connection, January/February 2020

Fredrica Bartz

Fredrica Bartz pic

January 22, 1927 – June 1, 1989

Fredrica Kathryn Bartz graduated from Flint Central High School in 1943.  After divorcing her husband, she received her B.A. from the Flint College of the University of Michigan.  She later earned her M.A. at UM-Ann Arbor and her Ph.D. from MSU.  She taught English at UM-Flint for 22 years, and at her death was chair of the department.  Bartz shared a home in Montrose with her companion Mary Ellen Raleigh.

Memo, June 26, 1989

Ernie Lee

Ernie Lee pic

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

Susan Christner

Susan Christner pic

June 23, 1945 – April 11, 2012

Longtime Wyandotte resident Susan Ann Christner graduated from Central High School in Flint in 1963 and earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1976.  She went on to get her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UM in Ann Arbor in 1998 and went into private practice.  She was survived by two sons and her partner Linda Sprankle.

Flint Journal, April 15, 2012