Jerry Palmer

Jerry Palmer pic

October 11, 1925 – Jun 19, 2012

Jerry Mae Palmer served as a role model for masculine-identified lesbians in Detroit’s African American LGBTQ community.  Born in Alabama, she later moved to Michigan where she worked on the line as an assembler for one the automobile manufacturers.  Before her death at age 86, Palmer and her friends provided vital safe spaces for people to proudly be themselves through a variety of social events.

Stinson Funeral Home

Paulettia French

Paulettia French pic

April 10, 1947 – February 4, 2018

Paulettia Ann French of Kalamazoo, originally from Arkansas, graduated with the class of 1965 from Berrien Springs High School and later worked as non-profit directors for senior services.  French and her partner of 27 years Tammy Vollrath were married in 2016.

Kalamazoo Gazette, February 6, 2018

John Monahan

John Monahan pic

May 10, 1945 – January 1, 2002

Colorado native and longtime Saginaw resident John Michael Monahan worked as a rehabilitation therapist.  During the 1980s, he became active in the Michigan Organization for Human Rights and in 1990 co-founded the Triangle Foundation and served as its president.  Following a heart transplant in 1993, Monahan moved to Detroit to engage in activism full time.

Between The Lines, January 10, 2002

Saginaw News, January 16, 2002

Andrea Still Gray

Andrea Still Gray pic

October 15, 1971 – December 29, 2015

Andrea Elizabeth Still Gray grew up in Royal Oak and earned her B.A. in cultural anthropology from Wayne State University and later received her Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in Boston.  Her career included working for a communications firm and as an archivist at Harvard and a librarian for the Massachusetts State House.  She and her spouse Julie Gray were married in 2009.

Detroit News, January 10, 2016

Ferd Eggan

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October 1, 1946 – July 15, 2007

Born in Lansing, Frederick Irving Eggan, later known as Ferd, grew up in Alpena and graduated from Alpena High School.  In the mid-1960s, Eggan dropped out of college to register black voters in South Carolina, later took part in the Chicago Gay Liberation Front, and in the late 1990s served as the AIDS coordinator for the City of Los Angeles.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 60.

Windy City Times, July 11, 2007

Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2007

Howard Baver

Howard Baver pic

September 10, 1925 – December 20, 2014

Longtime Farmington Hills psychologist Howard Norton Baver began his career in Hartford, Connecticut before moving to Metro Detroit.  As a straight therapist with a number of gay and bisexual clients, he founded The Gay Connection as a monthly discussion group in 1985 when many of them told him the only places they would meet were gay bars.  Haver was also a key supporter of the Jewish Gay Network.

Between The Lines, January 8, 2015

Thaddeus Rusztowicz

Thaddeus Rusztowicz pic

January 24, 1959 – July 16, 2011

Thaddeus Allen Rusztowicz of East Lansing and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida was born in Detroit and earned his Bachelor’s in marketing in 1982 from Michigan State University.  He enjoyed a long career in design, retiring as president of the auto supplier LPC Manufacturing to a new career in real estate.  Rusztowicz was survived by Mark Clouse, his life partner of 21 years.

Lansing State Journal, July 19, 2011