March 29, 1908 or 1916 – September 2, 1981
A native of Chicago, Samuel Fouche performed in the 1930s as Peggy Joyce at nightclubs in New York and became famous as the “Sepia Mae West.” By the early 1940s, he was living in Detroit and working as a waiter. In later life, Fouche found employment as a steward on an ocean liner, a job that took him to such ports of call as Columbia, France, Spain, Panama, and Venezuela.
Tampa Tribune, September 5, 1981
November 12, 1978 – May 9, 2021
Bay City resident Brandon Socia was born in Saginaw and attended Bay City Central High School. After working on the family potato farm growing up, he went on to cook at a number of local restaurants. Socia was survived by his partner Jordan Ward.
Ambrose Squires Funeral Homes
February 3, 1938 – December 31, 2022
Violet Betty “Vy” Reed graduated with the class of 1955 from Dearborn High School. She pursued a career in education, earning her B.A. from Western Michigan University and M.A. from Michigan State, then working as a teacher and counselor in Roseville. She found community in the 1960s at Fred’s Bar and later as a member and facilitator of Silver Foxes and the Senior Koffee Klatch at Affirmations.
Detroit Free Press, January 24, 2023
Between The Lines, February 1, 2023 [online only]
August 6, 1929 – December 26, 2009
Rene Delos Amaya earned his A.B. at Adrian College in 1951 and his Masters from the University of Michigan in 1959. He worked as a librarian at the Detroit Public Library, Oakland Community College, and the Los Angeles Public Library. As a resident of Boston-Edison in the 1970s, Amaya pressed Detroit to redefine family in its zoning ordinance. He was survived by his partner of 45 years John C. Lodge.
Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2010
November 28, 1958 – June 12, 2007
Born in Kalamazoo, Cathy Marie Bryant attended Parchment High School and went on to study electrical engineering and graphic arts at Western Michigan University. Bryant and her beloved partner Emily Blanchard met in 1990 and subsequently moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kalamazoo Gazette, June 15, 2007
September 13, 1937 – December 8, 2007
Wisconsin native Robert Joseph Loescher pursued his Ph.D. in art history at the University of Michigan, where he taught in the 1960s. He later served on the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for 34 years. In recognition of Loescher’s work heralding Spanish culture, King Juan Carlos of Spain granted him honorary knighthood in 1990.
Windy City Times, December 19, 2007
April 15, 1951 – February 3, 2021
Gregory Charles Piazza moved to Detroit from Wisconsin to attend Wayne State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s in speech. He soon became enmeshed in local gay culture and in 1974 moved into the Palmer Park apartment district. His research was instrumental in having the neighborhood added to the National Register of Historic Places. Piazza was also long active in the leather club Tribe.
Between The Lines, February 11, 2021 [online only]
September 4, 1965 – January 9, 2023
Originally from Ohio where she attended high school and college, Yolinda Kaye “Linda” Pierce worked as a DJ at WOAP radio in Owosso and was an on-air personality for WWGZ in Lapeer. She DJ’d, as well, for many local women’s events and was a library administrator at Kettering University. Pierce shared a home on Flint’s eastside with her loving wife Dee Johnson.
Hill Funeral Home
August 22, 1995 – December 11, 2021
Former Plymouth resident Suraj Mathew Mahadeva studied neuroscience and dance at Michigan State University, where he decried cultural appropriation. After earning his Bachelor’s in 2018, he moved to Chicago and became a medical clinician. Active in Asian and LGBTQ communities, Mahadeva was shot and killed on the porch of a friend’s home by an unknown assailant.
Between The Lines, December 22, 2021 [online only]
March 15, 1947 – September 1, 2016
Marceline Elaine Lewis grew up in Flint, graduated from Flint Central High School, and attended Mott Community College. She was later employed with the marketing consulting firm TGI Direct and for a time owned and operated a cleaning business. A month before her passing, Lewis married her partner of 19 years Edith Pauline Foote.
Flint Journal, September 6, 2016