Virlena Reed

Virlena Reed pic

November 8, 1971 – November 27, 2016

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Virlena Cerese Reed of Ann Arbor, previously of Ypsilanti, graduated from Belleville High School and attended Washtenaw Community College.  She earned her Bachelor’s at Eastern Michigan University in 2000 and worked as a case manager as well as an artist.  Reed was survived by her son Christopher Fitzner-Reed and her co-parenting partner Melinda Fitzner.

Ann Arbor News, November 30, 2016

Kurt Tamm

October 26, 1966 – December 21, 2007

Born in Los Angeles, Kurt Andrew Tamm went to Bentley High School in Livonia.  He later tended bar at Backstreet in Detroit and Cobalt in Ferndale.  In his last years, Tamm made a home in Puerto Rico.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.

Between The Lines, January 17, 2008

Thomas Turner

Thomas Turner pic

June 20, 1961 – November 3, 1989

Thomas Edward Turner, lifelong resident of Ann Arbor, was a 1979 graduate of Huron High School.  He went on to own and operate Parkway Printing Company.  During his two-year battle with illness, Turner became active with Friends/Huron Valley.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 28.

Cruise, November 22, 1989

Wilfred Thompson

Wilfred Thompson pic

May 10, 1929 – December 15, 1986

Wilfred Zinow Thompson was born in Hamtramck, went to Pershing High School in Detroit, attended the University of Michigan in the early 1950s, and earned his B.A. in liberal arts from Wayne State University in 1958.  For a time, Thompson was affiliated with writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten and was an antiques dealer by trade.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.

Detroit Free Press, May 10, 1987

Bruce Allen

Bruce Allen pic

March 3, 1945 – December 6, 1992

Native Detroiter Bruce Leonard Allen attended Lutheran West High School.  He was a member of Tribe and a co-founder of Baccus and worked as a bartender at the R&R, the E-Ramp, and Ruby’s.  Allen also performed as Tracy Daye, notably as a member of the house cast at Gigi’s, receiving the Performers Awards of Detroit Lifetime Achievement in 1992.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.

Cruise, December 16, 1992

Matt Robison

Matt Robison pic

March 2, 1974 – March 8, 2016

Matthew William Robison came from Erie, Pennsylvania in the early 1990s to attend the University of Michigan, where he was active in the Queer Unity Project.  After earning degrees in psychology and social change from UM, he went to Stanford for his J.D. and later worked as an attorney for the ACLU in New York City.  Robison returned to his native state and remained involved in LGBTQ+ activism.

Erie Times-News, April 10, 2016

Sue Brooks

Sue Brooks pic

January 17, 1947 – December 16, 2020

Lathrup Village resident Susan Catherine Brooks moved to Michigan from Pennsylvania in the 1970s.  She earned her M.A. from Central Michigan, and worked for various Girl Scouts councils, the YWCA in Flint, and the YMCA in Detroit.  Brooks was also involved in the early lesbian organization Moonrise and with Paws with a Cause.  Her partners Martha Charles and Kathryn Wright preceded her in death.

No known obituary

Carl Fezatte

Carl Fezatte pic

February 14, 1964 – March 17, 1991

Oregon native Carl Lee Fezatte moved to Lansing in his youth and was later employed at Trammp’s nightclub.  He took his own life at age 27 following a standoff with police at a highway rest area.  Fezatte was survived by his partner Terry “Mike” VanAlstine.

Lansing State Journal, March 19, 1991

Walter Drewek

June 27, 1942 – December 8, 2004

Detroit native Walter Mark Drewek worked for more than nearly three decades in kitchen and bathroom design and remodeling.  In his last five years of life, Drewek shared his Ferndale home with his partner Martin Oliver, who survived him.

Between The Lines, December 23, 2004

Debra Robinson

Debra Robinson pic 2

March 27, 1959 – February 26, 2016

Debra Lynn Robinson of Sister Lakes was born in Battle Creek, graduated with the class of 1976 from Gull Lake High School, and studied at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.  She worked as a master electrician at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant and belonged to IBEW Local 131.  In 2014, Robinson married her partner Patricia Cloud who preceded her in death by five months.

Battle Creek Enquirer, March 2, 2016