September 28, 1937 – September 2, 1985
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Clifford William Kelley worked as a regional sale representative for Detroit Edison and was involved in Wayne County politics. While separated from his wife, he was found murdered in his Royal Oak apartment. Known as “John” in the gay world, Kelley was last seen leaving an adult bookstore near Woodward and Six Mile in Detroit with another male.
Detroit Free Press, September 6, 1985
Cruise, November 13, 1985
April 16, 1960 – January 4, 2018
Lesbian writer, filmmaker, and punk musician Rayya Mokdessy Elias was born in Syria, grew up in Metro Detroit, and graduated from Center Line High School. She moved to New York in the 1980s, returning intermittently to Michigan, living in Warren and Royal Oak. Elias directed the film shorts Anonymous and Lunchroom and authored the memoir Harley Loco. She was survived by Elizabeth Gilbert.
The Cut, January 5, 2018
The Alpha Wolf
August 4, 1966 – February 24, 2020
Michael Hugh Guigar was born in Marlette and earned his B.S. in computer science at Saginaw Valley State University. He later resided in Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Hazel Park and became active with the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus for many years. Guigar was employed by 7-Eleven and attended the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. His partner Brent Toner survived him.
Between The Lines, March 5, 2020
June 27, 1957 – March 2, 2020
Long Island, New York native Beth Sara Greenapple resided in Royal Oak and Southfield after moving to Metro Detroit in 1995 and taught music at Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills and the Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills. She was a founding member of the Jewish Gay Network of Michigan and served as its early president. Greenapple was survived by her partner Julia Pais and their son Nadav Pais-Greenapple.
Hebrew Memorial Chapel
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