Jim Toy

Jim Toy pic

April 29, 1930 – January 1, 2022

Denison University graduate James Willis Toy moved to Detroit in the late 1950s to become a church organist.  In 1970, he helped co-found the Detroit Gay Liberation Front and the Ann Arbor GLF.  A year and a half later co-founded the Human Sexuality Office at the University of Michigan, where he earned his MSW in 1981.  Toy’s activism and achievements for Michigan’s LGBTQ community are unparalleled.

Between The Lines, January 13, 2022

James W. Toy papers at the Bentley Historical Library

William Popps

William Popps pic

November 30, 1955 – January 19, 2005

William Arthur Popps was born in the small Upper Peninsula town of Ewen, graduated with the class of 1973 from Marquette Senior High School, and earned a degree in theater from Northern Michigan University.  Popps was co-owner with Brian Thorsen of Club Xpress in Escanaba, the only gay bar in the UP, from 1992 to 2002.

Canale-Gwinn Funeral Home and Cremation Services

Ilona Sabo-Shuler

Ilona Sabo-Shuler pic

April 6, 1949 – September 28, 2021

Lansing resident Ilona Rae Sabo-Shuler was born in Grand Rapids, graduated from South High School, attended Calvin College, and later studied at Garrett Theological Seminary in Illinois.  After serving as pastor of Williamston United Methodist Church from 1982 to 1994, she became a real estate agent in East Lansing.  Sabo-Schuler was preceded in death in 2020 by her partner of 42 years Jean Fillingham.

Palmer, Bush, & Jensen Family Funeral Home

Tony Rome

Tony Rome pic

November 19, 1936 – April 29, 2021

Klaus Reich, better known to gay Metro Detroiters by Tony Rome, was born in Berlin, Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1950s.  After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he began an aircraft servicing business in Ypsilanti.  He later operated Foof’s Down Under downstairs at Gigi’s nightclub in Detroit.  From 1979 to 1999, Rome published Cruise magazine before retiring to warmer climates.

Desert Sun, May 13, 2021

Treva Bass

Treva Bass pic

July 31, 1955 – November 8, 2021

Bloomfield Hills resident and Detroit native Treva Bell Bass graduated from Cass Tech High School and pursued acting in Los Angeles.  On returning to Detroit, Bass attended Specs Howard University and became a chief engineer with her family’s radio stations.  Bass and June Washington, her partner of 33 years, gave generously to Affirmations, the Ruth Ellis Center, Hotter Than July, and other causes.

Between The Lines, November 25, 2021

Virlena Reed

Virlena Reed pic

November 8, 1971 – November 27, 2016

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Virlena Cerese Reed of Ann Arbor, previously of Ypsilanti, graduated from Belleville High School and attended Washtenaw Community College.  She earned her Bachelor’s at Eastern Michigan University in 2000 and worked as a case manager as well as an artist.  Reed was survived by her son Christopher Fitzner-Reed and her co-parenting partner Melinda Fitzner.

Ann Arbor News, November 30, 2016

Kurt Tamm

October 26, 1966 – December 21, 2007

Born in Los Angeles, Kurt Andrew Tamm went to Bentley High School in Livonia.  He later tended bar at Backstreet in Detroit and Cobalt in Ferndale.  In his last years, Tamm made a home in Puerto Rico.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.

Between The Lines, January 17, 2008

Thomas Turner

Thomas Turner pic

June 20, 1961 – November 3, 1989

Thomas Edward Turner, lifelong resident of Ann Arbor, was a 1979 graduate of Huron High School.  He went on to own and operate Parkway Printing Company.  During his two-year battle with illness, Turner became active with Friends/Huron Valley.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 28.

Cruise, November 22, 1989

Wilfred Thompson

Wilfred Thompson pic

May 10, 1929 – December 15, 1986

Wilfred Zinow Thompson was born in Hamtramck, went to Pershing High School in Detroit, attended the University of Michigan in the early 1950s, and earned his B.A. in liberal arts from Wayne State University in 1958.  For a time, Thompson was affiliated with writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten and was an antiques dealer by trade.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.

Detroit Free Press, May 10, 1987

Bruce Allen

Bruce Allen pic

March 3, 1945 – December 6, 1992

Native Detroiter Bruce Leonard Allen attended Lutheran West High School.  He was a member of Tribe and a co-founder of Baccus and worked as a bartender at the R&R, the E-Ramp, and Ruby’s.  Allen also performed as Tracy Daye, notably as a member of the house cast at Gigi’s, receiving the Performers Awards of Detroit Lifetime Achievement in 1992.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.

Cruise, December 16, 1992