September 28, 1956 – February 22, 2021
Otisville resident Lauriejane Clare Smith was born in Flint, grew up in Davison, and graduated with the class of 1974 from Davison High School. After completing the criminal justice program at Mott Community College, she worked as a park ranger and later as a patrol deputy and paramedic for the Genesee County Sheriff. In 2015, Smith married her partner Patricia Lawrence-Smith, who died in 2019.
Hensen Funeral Home
June 9, 1969 – November 15, 2020
An early member of the House of Chanel, Jennifer Holiday Chanel graduated with the class of 1987 from Flint Central High School and went on to attend Eastern Michigan University. She performed at the Nectarine in Ann Arbor, later worked at Gigi’s in Detroit, and won the Miss Gigi’s title in 1997. The Performers Awards of Detroit honored Chanel with its Bookie Stewart Hall of Fame Award in 2017.
Between The Lines [online only], November 19, 2020
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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