Jim Moyski

Jim Moyski pic

November 27, 1953 – January 13, 1993

James Ernest Moyski was born in Detroit, graduated in 1971 from Walled Lake Western High School, and earned his B.S. from Eastern Michigan University.  He worked as a licensed cosmetologist, was active in theater and dance, and resided in Ferndale with his lover William Markel.  Moyski also performed for 8 years with the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 39.

Cruise, January 20, 1993

Jeffrey Schoch

Jeffrey Schoch pic

September 29, 1957 – January 8, 1994

Detroit native Jeffrey Louis Schoch graduated with the class of 1975 from Henry Ford High School and later attended Tri-State University in Indiana.  Schoch moved to Texas in 1980 and worked as a seller for a meat broker in San Antonio before returning to Michigan to live with his mother in the last months of his life.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 36.

Detroit Free Press, January 14, 1994

This Week in Texas, February 4, 1994

Veronica Mitchell

Veronica Mitchell pic

January 9, 1956 – March 1, 2003

Detroit native Veronica Perryman Mitchell attended Mumford High School.  In a 1995 Detroit Free Press feature, she revealed how HIV helped her turn from a life of addiction.  Among her achievements, Mitchell served as AIDS ombudsperson for the City of Detroit, began a women with AIDS support group in C-HAG, and sat on the board of Men of Color.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.

Detroit Free Press, March 6, 2003

Between The Lines, March 13, 2003

Robert Penick III

Robert Penick III pic

September 24, 1965 – May 23, 1992

Robert Edward Lee Penick III graduated with the class of 1983 from Cass Tech High School in Detroit.  He came out in the early 1980s on the dance floors of such gay nightclubs as Todd’s, Bookie’s, and the Famous Door.  At age 20, Penick moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 28.

No known obituary

Michael Phelan

Michael Phelan pic

June 6, 1949 – January 9, 1990

Michael Phelan grew up in St. Clair Shores and graduated from Lakeview High School.  During the 1970s, he performed female impersonation as Whitney Blake at various Detroit bars and won titles for Miss Todd’s, Miss Bookie’s, and Miss Michigan before moving to California.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.

Cruise, January 24, 1990

Bill Ashley

Bill Ashley pic

June 20, 1961 – December 12, 1992

William Harrison Ashley graduated with the class of 1979 from Pontiac Central High School.  In 1983, Ashley was one of three partners who opened Chosen Books in its original location on McNichols in Detroit.  Ashley left the business in 1987 and moved to Ohio, later settling in Washington, DC.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 31.

Cruise, February 3, 1993

Sean Sasser

Sean Sasser pic

October 25, 1968 – August 7, 2013

Detroit native Sean Franklin Sasser graduated from Cass Technical High School and attended the University of Chicago for a year.  He gained national celebrity a few years later as the HIV-positive AIDS educator boyfriend of Pedro Zamora on MTV’s The Real World in San Francisco.  Sasser went on to become a pastry chef and was survived by husband and longtime partner Michael Kaplan.

Washington Blade, August 8, 2013

CNN, August 8, 2013