June 20, 1961 – December 12, 1992
William Harrison Ashley graduated with the class of 1979 from Pontiac Central High School. In 1983, Ashley was one of three partners who opened Chosen Books in its original location on McNichols in Detroit. Ashley left the business in 1987 and moved to Ohio, later settling in Washington, DC. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 31.
Cruise, February 3, 1993
August 18, 1946 – January 14, 2011
Cynthia Susan Everling, known to friends as Cindy, graduated from Pontiac Central High School and studied philosophy at Oakland University, with additional studies at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. She was a case manager and grant writer for the HIV/AIDS Resource Center. Everling resided in Ann Arbor with her partner of 28 years Lin Jacobs.
October 26, 1951 – October 26, 2009
A longtime HIV survivor, Douglas Pizzala was born and raised in Pontiac. He earned a B.A. in education from Central Michigan University and later worked for the AIDS Consortium of Southeast Michigan and AIDS Partnership Michigan. Pizzala and his life partner of 28 years Ken Pape shared a home in Pleasant Ridge. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.
Between The Lines, October 29, 2009
Sullivan & Son Funeral Directors
December 28, 1958 – January 3, 2012
Born in Pontiac, Mark George Bidwell earned his bachelor’s at Lawrence Technological University. He also attended SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary and earned a master’s in pastoral ministry at the Samaritan Institute of Sunshine Cathedral. In 1989, Bidwell joined the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, rose to the position of deacon, and later served as senior pastor until his resignation in 2011.
Between The Lines, January 20, 2012
September 1, 1944 – May 2, 2018
Born in Pontiac, Peresephone Reynolds grew up in Lake Orion and, in 1971, moved to Harrisville where she lived with her life partner Gloria Laurette. She taught with the Oscoda Area Schools and Alpena Community College, earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and retired in 2007. Reynolds and Laurette moved downstate to Clinton Township in 2016.
Oscoda Press, May 2, 2018
September 2, 1943 – November 24, 2015
Born in Pontiac, Randell “Randy” French served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, worked at the GM V-8 Engine Plant in Flint, and belonged to the Masonic Lodge in Ortonville. For a time, he also tended bar at the Interchange and other Detroit gay nightspots.
Flint Journal, May 15, 2016
April 7, 1921 – June 15, 2014
As a fighter pilot in World War II, Pontiac native and Rochester Hills resident Robert Harper survived weeks in the jungles of the Philippines after his plane was shot down. With degrees from Albion and Michigan State University, he taught in the Waterford Schools for twenty-five years. Harper was of a generation that never told their parents they were gay.
Oakland Press, June 22, 2014