Joanne Rettke

Joanne Rettke pic

March 11, 1934 – December 14, 2009

Joanne Rettke earned her doctorate at Michigan State University, where she served as director of the Women’s Resource Center.  She helped found First Friday gatherings in the Lansing area in the mid-1970s and in 1977 played a key role in inaugurating Everywomen’s Weekend.  Rettke retired to Glen Arbor, where she ran the Duneswood retreat with Marge Ives, her partner of 34 years.

Glen Arbor Sun, January 10, 2010

Lesbian Connection, March/April 2010

Thomas Weier

Thomas Weier pic

May 24, 1939 – July 20, 2003

Thomas Weier was 20 at the time of his arrest on felony charges in January 1960 in a crackdown on homosexual activity on campus at the University of Michigan.  Later a noted psychiatrist, he was employed at the Mayo clinic for thirty years, and then served as medical director for the Pride Institute.  Weier was survived by a daughter and son, an ex-wife, and his partner Kee Paisansinsup.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 21, 2003

Charles Casper

Charles Casper pic

February 3, 1938 – June 28, 2011

At age 21, Charles Casper was among nearly three dozen men entrapped by police in a crackdown on homosexual activity at the University of Michigan in late 1959 and early 1960.  He earned his B.A. at UM and went on to receive a J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.  As an attorney, Casper practiced law in his hometown of LaGrange, Illinois.

Chicago Tribune, July 21, 2011

Shearon Dudley

Shearon Dudley pic

April 30, 1924 – October 31, 1989

Navy veteran and 1954 University of Michigan graduate Shearon Dudley was a 36-year-old Ypsilanti resident when he was charged in November 1959 with attempting to procure gross indecency as part of an undercover police crackdown on homosexual activity at UM.  Married with six children, he had a career in marine biology and later became a minister in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Obituary unknown

Bryant Fillion

Bryant Fillion pic

October 18, 1938 – November 3, 2003

Bryant Fillion was a 21-year-old undergrad when he was arrested in January 1960 in a crackdown on homosexual activity at the University of Michigan.  He was allowed to complete his B.A. at UM and later earned degrees from Long Island University and Florida State.  became a professor of education at Wichita State University.  Fillion was survived by his daughters and former wife.

Wichita Eagle, November 5, 2003

Virginia Szymanski

Virginia Szymanski pic

March 14, 1927 – August 23, 2013

A suburban housewife and mother, Virginia Dolores Szymanski inherited the Royal Show Bar from her step-father in the early 1960s.  While she owned and operated the Detroit bar, it became a popular gathering place for black sissies, black gay men, and black drag queens.

A.H. Peters Funeral Home

William Karagas

William Karagas pic

May 10, 1919 – December 25, 1995

A native of Philadelphia, William Angel Karagas served as a warrant officer during World War II.  Beginning in 1954, he was the heterosexual owner of Detroit’s Woodward Lounge, which he operated for more than forty years with his brothers Sam and Andy.

Detroit Free Press, January 2, 1996

Joseph Covello

Joe Covello pic

September 20, 1920 – April 23, 2010

A 1939 graduate of Eastern High School in Lansing, Joseph Covello served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.  He operated Joe Covello’s as a mainstay in Lansing’s gay community from the early 1970s until it was closed for urban renewal in the early 1990s.  Covello was preceded in death by Helen, his wife of 63 years.

Lansing State Journal, April 25, 2010

Joseph Accardi

July 17, 1905 – December 11, 1980

Born in Italy, Joseph Accardi immigrated to the U.S., married in 1937, and worked as a storekeeper and an autoworker in Detroit before moving to Grand Rapids.  He owned and operated Papa Joe’s Show Bar from the late 1950s until his death.

Grand Rapids Press, December 13, 1980

Metra, December 18, 1980

Karl Reichenbach

Karl Reichenbach pic

May 8, 1905 – July 10, 1989

A native of Connecticut, Karl Henry Reichenbach earned his graduate degree in history at Yale in 1929 and was assistant professor at the University of Michigan, teaching there for 44 years.  During the 1950s, he was part of an Ann Arbor gay crowd that attended parties hosted by Henry Van Dyke.  As his “drag” name at such events, Reichenbach was known as “Frieda.”

Ann Arbor News, July 12, 1989