May 30, 1952 – November 6, 1999
Virgil Julius “Tony” Leone was born in Detroit and graduated with the class of 1970 from Mt. Pleasant High School. At Central Michigan University, he was an early member of Gay Liberation, serving as its president in the mid-1970s. Leone later moved to San Francisco where he worked as a Registered Nurse and became involved in local HIV/AIDS activism. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.
Bay Area Reporter, November 18, 1999
September 22, 1946 – June 27, 2011
A dedicated and influential figure in Kalamazoo’s LGBTQ community, Jim Knox was co-founder in 1985 of Community AIDS Resource and Education Services and co-founder in 1987 of the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center, later renamed OutFront Kalamazoo. Knox was also a longtime employee of the Barn Theatre in Augusta.
Between The Lines, July 7, 2011
Kalamazoo Gazette, July 8, 2011
April 14, 1958 – October 24, 2012
Sally Ann Hopkins was born in Jackson and graduated in the class of 1976 from Jackson High School. She later earned her Associates Degree from Columbia College in Missouri and served 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Following her service, Hopkins worked at Home Depot and resided in Atlanta, Indiana with her partner Kathryn “Kathi” Lee Miller.
Jackson Citizen-Patriot, October 28, 2012
July 8, 1942 – March 11, 2019
Frankfort resident Kathleen June Blake was a native of Massachusetts and earned her Bachelor’s from the New Bedford Institute of Technology. A longtime Lansing resident, she spent much of her career in state government as an economic development officer. Blake served on the board for the Lesbian Connection and was survived by her partner Julann McFarlane.
Lansing State Journal, March 16, 2019
Lesbian Connection, July/August 2019
February 5, 1992 – December 11, 2017
Kristen Kay Laughton was born in Midland, graduated from Bullock Creek High School in 2010, studied at Mid Michigan College, and worked at Dow Chemical. Laughton lost her life in a fatal car crash due to winter road conditions. Her spouse Jessica Laughton survived her.
Midland Daily News, December 16, 2017
November 5, 1928 – January 3, 2009
Born in Saginaw, Gerald Laverne Hillert was a draftsman for Consumers Power in Saginaw in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and later worked as an interior designer for Sears-Roebuck in Detroit. Hillert was also an early subscriber to ONE magazine. He and his companion of 56 years Robert Costa retired to Vero Beach, Florida.
TC Palm, January 8, 2009
January 11, 1953 – December 26, 1995
Cappisene Ford, known to most in the gay community as Ms. L.T.D. (for La Twiggy Darling), began to entertain in the 1970s at the Escape, My Fair Lady, and other Detroit bars. She later went on to perform in Paris and Hong Kong. From 1979 to 1980 she served as Records Officer for the Michigan Organization for Human Rights. She died from AIDS-related complications at age 42.
No known obituary
September 16, 1950 – November 14, 2010
Longtime Bloomfield Hills resident and advertising executive Lois Anne Yeagley graduated from Marian High School in 1968 and earned her Bachelors and Masters in advertising from Michigan State University in 1972 and 1973. Yeagley was co-founder in 1999 of the Godmothers, a Metro Detroit social and charitable group.
Between The Lines, December 2, 2010
January 28, 1925 – June 21, 2003
Hal Lawson, a graduate of Wayne State University, was founding chair from 1958 to 1960 of the Detroit Area Council of the Mattachine Society, the first known organization for homosexuals in Michigan. He was later involved in ONE in Detroit, the Association of Suburban People, the Michigan Organization for Human Rights, the Unitarian-Universalist Gay Caucus, and Dignity/Flint.
Between The Lines, July 17, 2003
May 4, 1932 – October 19, 2012
In 1953 and 1954 Barbara Jean “Barb” Sowers played outfrield with Muskegon Belles and the Grand Rapids Chicks in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Born in Detroit, she grew up in Livonia and retired as a high school counselor with the Livonia schools, where she headed the teachers’ union in the mid-1970s. Sowers was preceded in death by Shirley Weaver, her companion of 45 years.
Roberson Funeral Home and Crematory