November 4, 1933 – November 10, 2011
Born in Ohio, pioneering publisher Barbara Glycine Grier spent much of her childhood in Detroit and attended ninth grade at Highland Park Community High School. She came to understand herself as lesbian as a teenager after requesting books on homosexuality at the Detroit Public Library. Grier went on to edit the magazine The Ladder and to co-found the Naiad Press with her partner Donna McBride.
New York Times, November 13, 2011
Lesbian Herstory Archives oral history of Barbara Grier
Barbara Grier-Naiad Press Collection at the San Francisco Public Library
April 15, 1928 – September 30, 2014
Born in Highland Park, Caryl Pauline Freeman grew up in Sturgis and graduated with the class of 1946 from Sturgis High School. She earned her B.A. at Michigan State, her M.A. from Harvard, and her doctorate at New York University. She later joined the faculty of the Western Michigan University College of Business, retiring in 1987. Freeman was survived by her partner Marcia Mascolini of Portage.
Redmond Funeral Home
April 18, 1934 – August 17, 2019
George Russell Francoeur of Bloomfield Township graduated from Highland Park High School, studied design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and earned his MFA from the University of Michigan. He later taught art history at Henry Ford Community College for 30 years. Francoeur was preceded in death in 2007 by his life partner of 42 years Gerald “Jerry” Earls.
Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors
February 19, 1956 – March 14, 1999
George Edmund Potts, resident and booster of the Palmer Park neighborhood in Detroit was born in Highland Park and worked for many years in administration at Henry Ford Hospital. He later worked as a grant writer for the Detroit Department of Parks and Recreation. Potts was a familiar customer at Menjo’s.
Cruise, March 24, 1999
August 2, 1960 – February 11, 2019
James Osmond Brown II, known to customers and leather community members as Diamond Jim, grew up in Highland Park and graduated from Detroit’s Cass Tech High School. Over the years, he held such titles as Mr. R&R, Mr. Leather Detroit, and Mr. Michigan Leather and in 1994 helped form the Michigan International Gay Rodeo Association. From 2001 to 2010, Brown operated Diamond Jim’s Saloon.
Between The Lines, March 7, 2019
October 24, 1944 – August 24, 1993
Detroit resident and Highland Park native Edward Walker grew up in Dearborn Township. He joined the U.S. Army following high school and was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds he received while serving in Vietnam. During the 1970s, he worked as an assembler at Ford Motor Company. From 1980 until his death, Walker operated the Hayloft Saloon with his lover Len Lippert.
Cruise, September 22, 1993
July 13, 1949 – June 27, 2010
In 1966, Gretchen Sue Fogel-Daniels graduated from Highland Park High School, where she sang in the choir. She studied voice at Oberlin College and later worked as a secretary at the University of Michigan. Fogel and her life partner Carla Daniels sued University Townhouses in Ann Arbor when denied “family” housing, securing a settlement that opened the co-op to same-sex couples.
The Tennessean, June 30, 2010
In Memory of Gretchen Fogel
December 21, 1947 – September 24, 2009
Raised in Highland Park, Leslie Leonelli attended Oakland University and worked in local theater in Rochester and beyond Michigan before moving to New York City in 1973. Following a career off-Broadway, she worked as a massage therapist and helped found the women’s production company Ars Pro Femina. Later in life she operated Pearl’s Rainbow, a renowned resort for women.
Lesbian Connection, January/February 2010
January 25, 1921 – December 26, 1997
Actor and artist, Clifford Reynolds Jr. grew up in Highland Park and attended what was then called Wayne University in Detroit. He married in 1945, moved with his wife to California in 1952, and they divorced in 1968. A radio and television performer, Reynolds was survived by companion Lorne Gay.
Bay Area Reporter, January 1, 1998
May 12, 1984 – June 27, 2006
Known for his “fallout” dance move, Robert “Reebe” Hatcher became involved in the Ruth Ellis Center for homeless LGBT youth in Highland Park in his late teens. He died of complications from a heart condition at age 22.
Between The Lines, July 20, 2006