Jesse Melot

Jesse Melot pic

June 15, 1981 – December 10, 2018

Born in Lansing, Jesse James Sherman Melot graduated from Fulton High School in Middleton in 1999.  He later earned his Associate’s at Lansing Community College and his Bachelors from Sienna Heights University, going on to work as operations manager for Farm Bureau Insurance.  Melt met his future husband Derek Melot in March 2004 and the two wed in October 2013.

Lansing State Journal, December 14, 2018

Carol McGill-Colagrossi

Carol McGill-Colagrossi pic

July 9, 1953 – February 17, 2018

A resident and native of Indiana, Carol Ann McGill-Colagrossi operated a hair salon and pursued her MSW at Western Michigan University.  She went on to work as a social worker in substance abuse rehabilitation at a number of health care clinics and agencies in her home state.  McGill-Colagrossi met her future wife Jean McGill in 1990 and the two were married in Iowa in 2013.

South Bend Tribune, February 21, 2018

Frank Bigger

Frank Bigger pic

July 23, 1927 – March 5, 1998

Originally from Illinois, Frank Lloyd Bigger Jr. worked as manager and bartender at Joe Covello’s in Lansing from 1975 to 1991.  He went on to manage JB’s Saloon for three years before helping launch the Esquire Bar in 1994.  The Lansing Association for Human Rights recognized Bigger with a Prism Award in 1995.  Following his death in a car accident, an annual euchre charity event was named in his honor.

Between The Lines, April 16, 1998

Craig Economy

Craig Economy pic

September 17, 1952 – November 2, 1996

Detroit resident Craig Economy grew up in Dearborn, attended Dearborn High School, and pursued studies in Vermont and Arizona.  On returning to Michigan, he worked as a popular hairdresser at Jacobsen’s and other salons.  A longtime survivor of HIV, Economy was active in Friends Alliance, the AIDS Interfaith Network, and other organizations.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.

Cruise, November 20, 1996

Erin Oyster

Erin Oyster pic 2

Erin Nicole Oyster was born in Cadillac and graduated from Reed City High School in 1997.  She attended Western Michigan University, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and where she earned her Bachelor’s in education in 2002.  After college Oyster taught high school English in Arizona.  She was survived by her life partner Heather Schonfeld.

Big Rapids Pioneer, January 15, 2021

Ken Arnold

Ken Arnold pic

August 15, 2947 – March 17, 2005

Kenneth John Arnold was born in Detroit and graduated in 1965 from Lincoln Park High School in Lincoln Park.  He later moved to Bay City and in the early 1970s, he became proprietor of Chalet Interiors in Saginaw.  Often known by his drag name Bambi, Arnold took over Tallulah’s Show Bar in the 1990s and rechristened it Bambi’s Bottoms Up.

Saginaw News, March 19, 2005

Heidie Speer

Heidie Speer pic

February 27, 1967 – June 9, 2011

After graduating from Springport High School in 1986, Springfield resident Heidie Ann Speer went on to serve in the U.S. Army.  From elementary and high school into adulthood, she played on several softball teams, helping to take one to the league championship.  In later years, Speer was employed as a cook at Centennial House restaurant.  She was survived by two sons and Angie Graham, her former life partner.

Jackson Citizen Patriot, June 13, 2011

Kelli Hand

Kelli Hand pic

September 15, 1964 – August 3, 2021

Kelli Maria Hand, known professionally as K-Hand, grew up in Detroit where she attended Henry Ford High School.  In the 1980s, she discovered the dance scene at the Paradise Garage nightclub in New York and became hooked on the music.  Before long she landed gigs as a DJ, including at the Detroit gay venue Zipper’s, and came to achieve international acclaim as the “first lady of Detroit techno.”

Between The Lines [online only], August 5, 2021

New York Times, August 9, 2021

Remembering Detroit Techno Trailblazer Kelli Hand

Damon Williams

Damon Williams pic

February 2, 1968 – January 1, 2022

Damon Michael Williams was born in Flint and graduated with the class of 1986 from Grand Blanc High School.  He relocated to Columbus where he attended Ohio State University.  At the time of his death, Williams worked as Educational Coordinator for OhioHealth.  He was preceded in death by his mother.  Survivors included his father, his siblings, and his boyfriend Ricky.

Lawrence E. Moon Funeral Home

Darnell Clark

Darnell Clark pic

October 10, 1951 – February 10, 2010

Born in Lansing, Darnell Austin Clark graduated from Everett Hight School in 1970 and as a youth performed with the Suitcase Theater on two tours in Europe.  He was later employed with Oldsmobile as a purchasing technician for more than 30 years.  Clark died at age 58 of complications from diabetes and was survived by his life partner John McGarey.

Lansing State Journal, February 18, 2010