Virgil Leone

Virgil Leone pic

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

Jim Knox

Jim Knox pic

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

Sally Ann Hopkins

Sally Hopkins pic

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

Kathleen Blake

Kathleen Blake pic

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

Kristen Laughton

Kristen Laughton pic

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

Gerald Hillert

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

Cappisene Ford

Cappisene Ford pic

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

Lois Yeagley

Lois Yeagley pic 2

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

Hal Lawson

Hal Lawson pic

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

Barb Sowers

Barb Sowers pic

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