Jim Proffitt

Jim Proffitt pic

May 13, 1947 – February 8, 1993

Detroit native and onetime seminary student James Earl Proffitt was an out real estate agent and for sixteen years was organist for Zion Lutheran Church in Ferndale.  In the 1980s, he served as an officer of the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council and later worked for AIDS Care Connection.  Proffitt fathered a daughter with lesbian friend J. Charlene Genther.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 45.

Detroit Free Press, February 10, 1993

Royal Oak Tribune, February 10, 1993

Jeff Kucharski

Jeff Kucharski pic

January 13, 1964 – October 25, 1995

Jeffry Florian Kucharski of Dearborn earned a piano scholarship to Wayne State University.  He later received a B.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the Wayne State Law School.  Kucharski worked as helpline coordinator at Affirmations Community Center and enjoyed traveling with his partner of 12 years Tom Wilczak.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 31.

Between The Lines, December 1995

Between The Lines, December 1996

Miranda Starr Bennett

Miranda Bennett pic

November 14, 1993 – January 2, 2016

Born in Muskegon, Miranda Starr Bennett was active in sports and music at Muskegon High School with a special devotion to the saxophone.  She worked for Wendy’s and Taco Bell.  Among her survivors was her life partner Kendra Boos.

Muskegon Chronicle, January 5, 2016

Usein Alieff

Usein Alieff pic

April 24, 1929 – April 16, 2004

Usein “Mike” Alieff Jr. grew up in Pontiac and for many years ran his own piano school in Birmingham.  He and his life companion Max LePard shared a home in Royal Oak for more than forty years.  In their retirement, he and LePard were crochet instructors at the Royal Oak Senior Center.

A.J. Desmond & Sons

Stennis Ousley

Stennis Ousley pic

November 4, 1914 – January 18, 1991

Pianist Stennis Ousley accompanied Bramwell “ChiChi” Franklin at the Golden Slipper and other venues in the 1950s.  She performed solo at various straight and gay bars into the 1980s, including the Willis Show Club, the Tryst Club, and the Deck.

No known obituary.

Heather Moana

Heather Moana pic

February 14, 1973 – June 3, 2015

Self-described tech nerd, scuba diver, traveler, musician, artist, photographer, cook, and gardener, Heather Moana spent her early years in Frankenmuth before moving to Battle Creek, where she graduated from Lakeview High School in 1991.  Following high school, she worked for the Battle Creek Enquirer and, in 2005, relocated to California.

Battle Creek Enquirer, June 15, 2015

Amy Oak

Amy Oak pic

January 11, 1951 – November 7, 2016

Twin Oak resident Amy Oak taught special education and led teacher training workshops throughout Michigan.  An avid gardener, cook, community activist, and drummer, she performed with her wife Barbara Pitcher in the musical ensemble Framing Rhythm.

Grand Haven Tribune, November 12, 2016