May 12, 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
November 29, 1957 – January 23, 2011
Royal Oak resident Diane Helen Collins graduated with the class of 1975 from Capac High School and went on to serve in the U.S. Navy. She worked as a dental assistant was a member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. Collins was survived by her son.
Oakland Press, February 9, 2011
August 4, 1966 – February 24, 2020
Michael Hugh Guigar was born in Marlette and earned his B.S. in computer science at Saginaw Valley State University. He later resided in Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Hazel Park and became active with the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus for many years. Guigar was employed by 7-Eleven and attended the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. His partner Brent Toner survived him.
Between The Lines, March 5, 2020
December 15, 1952 – December 19, 2000
Brenda Joyce Blizzard was born in Columbia, South Carolina. She moved to Michigan in her 20s, worked for the Southland Corporation, and was a longtime member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, where she served as a deacon. In 1992, Blizzard moved to Washington State and became assistant pastor of MCC Seattle. She was survived by her partner Loran Timmons.
Tacoma News Tribune, December 21, 2000
February 15, 1939 – April 5. 1995
Grand Rapids native and Alpine Township resident Daniel Kenneth Brauer graduated from Ottawa Hillls High School in 1957 and served in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1963. Brauer was pastor of the Muskegon Metropolitan Community Church from 1991 until his death from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty water heater in his home. He also served a vice chair of Muskegon Area AIDS Resource Services.
Muskegon Chronicle, April 7, 1995
Third Coast Magazine, May 1995
July 23, 1953 – May 1, 2019
Warren resident Chrissy Surewater attended Fordson High School in Dearborn, studied at Rochester College in Rochester, and worked at Precision Imagery and as a photographer for Ford Motor Company. She was also a longtime member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, for three years serving as office administrator. Surewater was survived by her beloved fiancé Michelle Fox-Phillips.
Between The Lines, May 2, 2019 [online only]
February 2, 1944 – April 3, 1995
David John Zechel of Farmington Hills was born in Detroit and graduated from Edwin Denby High School in 1962. He went on to work as a noted local interior decorator. In the early 1970s, along with his then partner, Rev. Robert Cullinan, Zechel was an early member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 51.
Detroit Free Press, April 5, 1995
October 14, 1949 – August 6, 1994
Taylor resident Larry Thomas Gaynier taught high school English and communications in Brownstown Charter Township for 22 years. A member of the Association of Suburban People in the early 1980s, Gaynier later served on the boards of Affirmations and the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 44.
Detroit Free Press, August 9, 1994
Affirmations Newsletter, September 1994
March 29, 1948 – September 20, 2018
Betty Jane Martin, a lifelong Caledonia resident, graduated from Caledonia High School and earned her MSW from Grand Valley State University. Her career encompassed worked with the YWCA, Pine Rest Christian Hospital, and her brother’s dairy farm. Martin served as board president for Reconciliation Metropolitan Community Church in Grand Rapids where she also played drums in the church band.
Grand Rapids Press, September 23, 2018
February 12, 1943 – November 24, 2014
Rockford resident Patricia “Patti” Gibbs graduated with the class of 1961 from Central High School in Grand Rapids and retired from Quest Diagnostics. She was a longtime member of Reconciliation Metropolitan Community Church and served as one of its directors.
Reyers North Valley Chapel