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

Michael Barto

Michael Barto pic

January 9, 1962 – November 7, 1995

Actor, director, playwright, and Grand Rapids native Michael Gerard Barto of Chicago earned his B.A. in theater at the University of Michigan-Flint.  In 1987, while pursuing his M.F.A. at the University of Iowa, Barto directed and co-wrote The Wizard of AIDS, which was performed more than 700 times over seven years throughout the Midwest.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 33.

Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1995

John Brooks

John Brooks pic

February 20, 1941 – May 19, 1993

Flint native and Swartz Creek resident John Rex Brooks was a graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. and M.A. specializing in counseling and psychology.  He was a teacher and counselor at Longfellow Junior High, later Longfellow Middle School, for 29 years, and was long active in the Flint teacher’s union.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 52.

Flint Journal, May 20, 1993

Mark Chittle

Mark Chittle pic

January 25, 1951 – November 19, 1994

Flint native Mark Douglas Chittle graduated from St. John Vianney High School and served a year in the Army in the early 1970s.  He lived for a time in Key West, Florida and for much of his life Chittle worked as an accountant in San Francisco.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 43.

Bay Area Reporter, December 22, 1994

John Ferman

John Ferman pic

July 6, 1950 – May 1, 1995

John Barry Ferman attended Davison High School and worked as a go-go dancer in Detroit gay bars during the 1970s.  While pursuing a degree in psychology, he founded the first gay student organization at the University of Michigan-Flint.  A longtime Flint resident, Ferman spent his last years in Key West, Florida.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 44.

Flint Journal, May 4, 1995

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald pic

October 18, 1963 – March 17, 1996

Born in Flint, Brian Keith McDonald spent most of his life in Otisville.  He majored in theater at the University of Michigan-Flint and worked for 13 years for the Flint Youth Theater.  McDonald was also employed by the local VGs grocery chain.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 32.

Flint Journal, March 18, 1996