December 19, 1943 – December 26, 2017
Born in Negaunee, Thomas Louis Baldini graduated from St. Paul’s High School in 1961 and earned his Bachelor’s from Northern Michigan University in 1965. He taught at Marquette Senior High for nearly 20 years and served on the Michigan Technological University Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2016. Baldini was elected to the Marquette City Council in 2014 and died a month after becoming mayor.
Canale Tonella Funeral Home and Cremation Services
December 1, 1944 – December 15, 1989
A Bay City native and onetime resident of Midland and Saginaw, Joyce Kayden attended Bay City Central High School. She went on to work as assistant store manager for Rite Aid. Kayden preceded in death by her father and brother and was survived by her mother and daughter.
Bay City Times, December 17, 1989
May 23, 1936 – December 10, 2022
Native Detroiter Charles Robert Alexander came out into the gay world while a student at Cass Tech. He earned his B.A. at Wayne State University and had a long career with the Detroit schools. An acclaimed artist, he was active with Affirmations and MCC Detroit, and in 1997 received the local LGBTQ Lifetime Achievement Award. Alexander wrote more than 700 columns over 27 years for Between The Lines.
Between The Lines, December 22, 2022
Driving Mother Knickers
February 20, 1989 – November 19, 2022
LGBTQ community artist, activist, and icon Marissa “Rizza” Marie Benton attended Haslett High School, where as a senior they won a portfolio award for their art. They were later stylist at and operator of the Roots Hair Lounge salon at Wild Ferns Wellness in Lansing. Benton also served on the board of the Salus Center. They were survived by their son Oliver and by five days by their partner Sydney Eckhoff.
WKAR, December 9, 2022
Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes
November 28, 1965 – August 21, 2022
Dearborn native PJ Redbird Two Ravens of Ypsilanti graduated from the University of Michigan in 1990 and earned an MSW from Eastern Michigan University in 1999. He worked at U-M as a sleep technician and an HIV/AIDS social worker. He also formed the group Gender Explorers and volunteered with HARC. Two Ravens was preceded in death by his fiancé Amy Chesbro and was survived by his partner Jay.
Ann Arbor News, September 8, 2022
March 8, 1954 – April 12, 2022
James Patrick “Jimmy” Dowdle, known to many in the LGBTQ+ community as Poodles, was born in Battle Creek and graduated in 1972 from St. Philip Catholic Central High School. After moving to Detroit, he joined the waitstaff at Menjo’s, later served as manager, and was co-owner for several years in the early 2000s. For the last 16 years of his life, Dowdle tended bar at Danny’s Irish Pub in Ferndale.
OutPost, May 2022
Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care
October 18, 1963 – July 9, 1989
Jeffrey Dee Whitmyer graduated from Okemos High School in 1982. He attended Lake Superior State University for a year before moving to Dallas, Texas, returning to Michigan in 1989. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 25.
Lansing State Journal, July 11, 1989
This Week in Texas, October 19, 1990
June 4, 1969 – July 26, 1996
David Scott May was 1987 graduate of Holt High School, where he was a champion diver. May was preceded in death in 1995 by his lifetime soulmate Klayton Shepard. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 27.
Lansing State Journal, July 28, 1996
August 7, 1964 – May 27, 1991
Jamaican-born Duane Ivanhoe Richards graduated from Lansing Everett High School, attended the University of Michigan. and went on to work as a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines. He shared a home in Detroit and later Atlanta with Brent Dorian Carpenter, his life partner of more than four years, who was at his side when Richards passed away. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 26.
Lansing State Journal, May 31, 1991
Between The Lines, May 23, 2002
November 4, 1966 – September 11, 1997
A Lansing native Juan Hernandez graduated with the class of 1984 from Eastern High School. Hernandez became involved with the Lansing Area AIDS Network in the 1990s. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 30.
Lansing State Journal, September 14, 1997