February 19, 1956 – March 14, 1999
George Edmund Potts, resident and booster of the Palmer Park neighborhood in Detroit was born in Highland Park and worked for many years in administration at Henry Ford Hospital. He later worked as a grant writer for the Detroit Department of Parks and Recreation. Potts was a familiar customer at Menjo’s.
Cruise, March 24, 1999
July 19, 1961 – June 10, 1986
Robert Dean Lowe, Boo-Boo to friends, graduated with the class of 1980 from Lakeshore High School in St. Clair Shores. He worked as doorman at Menjo’s nightclub in the mid-1980s and was co-owner of the popular afterhours dance emporium Heaven. Lowe was found shot to death in his Palmer Woods home in Detroit at age 25.
Cruise, June 18, 1986
Metra, June 18, 1986
July 15, 1930 – June 21, 1993
Stanley Raymond Jankiewicz, better known in Detroit’s gay bar world as Don Cherry, graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1949 and attended Wayne State University. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and later managed four city golf courses until retiring in 1987. For 27 years he tended bar at such establishments as the Woodward Lounge, the Gas Station, and Menjo’s.
Cruise, June 30, 1993
January 22, 1943 – June 23, 2005
Erroll Wayne Hert took his mother’s name Vaunda for his stage name, wowing audiences as the renowned Vaunda Lee at Menjo’s, the Gold Coast, Triple XXX, and other Detroit bars in the 1970s and 1980s. He won the Camp Prize from the Performer Awards of Detroit in 1982. Hert resided in his hometown of Bedford, Indiana at the time of his death.
Our Community Roots
July 13, 1964 – Last seen July 21, 1983
Shawn Patrick Raymond graduated from Algonac High School and worked in an area restaurant. On the night of July 21, 1983, the 19-year-old disappeared after spending an evening out at Menjo’s in Detroit. His remains were not found until 1992 and forensics identified them as his only in 2004. The homicide case remains unsolved.
OutPost, April 14, 2004
NBC News, July 28, 2018
Port Huron Times-Herald, August 1, 2018
September 16, 1927 – October 2, 2005
Union Lake resident Henry Charles Trent served in the U.S. military and operated Trent’s Prime Rib Beef Market in Detroit prior to opening Menjo’s in Detroit with Mike Crawford and Joe LaRosa. Trent also owned the Prudential Health Club in Detroit.
Detroit Free Press, October 4, 2005
August 5, 1984 – March 7, 2013
Pleasant Ridge resident Anthony Leonard Maniaci was born in Detroit. He worked as a popular bartender at Menjo’s and Backstreet in Detroit, and at Pronto in Royal Oak. At the time of his death, Maniaci was manager at Inuendo.
OutPost, March 13, 2013
September 2, 1941 – April 20, 1992
Detroit native and onetime resident of Dallas, Texas, Sharon Piazza worked as a bouncer at Menjo’s in Detroit and performed in local community theater.
This Week in Texas, May 1, 1992
May 29, 1940 – April 18, 1994
Joseph LaRosa Jr. was born in Ann Arbor, graduated from Dexter High School, and attended Cleary Business School. In the early 1970s, LaRosa hosted Lillian’s Down Under in the lower level of Bookie’s Club 870 in Detroit. In December 1974, he, Michael Crawford, and Hank Trent opened the former supper club Menjo’s as a gay dance club. LaRosa later operated Orca’s before moving to Phoenix.
Dexter Leader, May 4, 1994
September 17, 1932 – June 23, 2010
A native of Ypsilanti, Donald Hazlett served in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s. Hazlett later operated Don’s Beef N Ale in Detroit and with Paul Espenscheid co-owned Menjo’s during the 1990s. He and Espenscheid shared the Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the 1994 Detroit area Pride Banquet.
Toledo Blade, June 26, 2010