July 22, 1957 – April 17, 2013
Paul Edward Steczek of Royal Oak grew up in Detroit and was on the staff of the Backstage in the 1980s. He later worked as manager for 24 Hour Video and then operated Blue Moon Video for 11 years. Steczek was preceded in death by his partner Richard Shank in 1992 and survived by Daniel Christine, with whom he was joined in a civil union in 1995.
Between The Lines, May 2, 2013
August 17, 1915 – December 27, 1977
Harold James “Buddy” Bigham grew up in Royal Oak and had a long career as a photographer in the research department of General Motors. A homeowner in Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood, Bigham was a familiar patron for many years at the Diplomat, Bookie’s Club 870, and other local gay bars.
Detroit Free Press, December 28, 1977
May 2, 1940 – April 10, 2005
Royal Oak resident Sharon Lee Smith was born in Detroit and graduated of Redford High School in 1958. She was later employed as an office manager for many years. Smith enjoyed lesbian romance novels, the LPGA, the History Channel, and Jeapardy. Before a stroke forced her to live in a nursing home, she shared a home with her partner of 29 years Joyce.
Lesbian Connection September/October 2005
February 15, 1958 – February 20, 2015
Antony Eugene “Tony” Brown of Madison Heights was born in England and graduated from Dondero High School in Royal Oak. He later studied voice at Michigan State University and in the early 1980s was a noted singer at Detroit gay bars. Brown served on the board of the Performers Awards of Detroit and received multiple PAD honors, including best go-go boy and Male Entertainer of the Year.
No known obituary
May 10, 1965 – March 4, 2020
A noted figure in Detroit’s electronic music scene, James Joseph Stone Jr. was born in Royal Oak and graduated from Seaholm High School in Birmingham in 1984. He attended Eastern Michigan University and came out as a young gay man on the dance floors of Todd’s and Heaven. A musician and DJ, Stone became an important distributor and promoter of house and techno throughout the metro area.
Potere-Modetz Funeral Home
The Advocate: Jim Stone, 1965-2020
January 4, 1934 – May 9, 1999
Civil rights activist Harold McCormick was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1962. After moving to Metro Detroit, he was engaged in social work and became CEO of Quality Human Services. McCormick led a largely closeted life until he was found murdered in his Royal Oak Township apartment, the victim of a man he met at an adult book store.
Detroit Free Press, May 13, 1999
Between The Lines, June 10, 1999
Between The Lines, July 1, 1999
September 18, 1963 – April 3, 2020
Growing up in the 1970s, Ellen Marie Rogowski of Holly was the first girl to play in a boys’ baseball league in Royal Oak. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from Oakland University and taught middle school in Pontiac and English at Henry Ford Community College and Lewis College of Business. She was also an accomplished musician, releasing three albums. She and Rosemary Jozwiak shared 30 years together.
Sharp Funeral Homes
December 13, 1957 – May 9, 2000
The owner and operator of Boomers Deli, Carol Jane Newberg was a 1976 graduate of Dearborn High School and went on to become one of Royal Oak’s most beloved business women. Through the last year and a half of her life, as she battled cancer, Newberg was cared for by her close-knit circle of friends. She was survived by her partner Gail Green.
Between The Lines, May 18, 2000
Eulogy for Carol Newberg
January 9, 1940 – July 12, 2019
Farmington Hills resident Zan Alley attended high school and college in Birmingham, Alabama before moving to Michigan where she taught high school in Royal Oak for 17 years. She later worked as a director with the Michigan Education Association, negotiating more than three dozen union contracts. Alley was survived by her partner and wife Murphy Ayers.
Detroit Free Press, July 21, 2019
May 28, 1969 – June 23, 1990
Diane Kotila was born in Southfield and graduated with the class of 1987 from Kimball High School in Royal Oak. She was a student at Oakland University and was employed by William Beaumont Hospital. After losing her life in an automobile accident, friends held a benefit at the Railroad Crossing for a fund in her name at Affirmations to help provide lesbian and gay youth with counseling and support.
Royal Oak Daily Tribune, June 24, 1990
Affirmations newsletter, September 1990