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
October 15, 1971 – December 29, 2015
Andrea Elizabeth Still Gray grew up in Royal Oak and earned her B.A. in cultural anthropology from Wayne State University and later received her Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in Boston. Her career included working for a communications firm and as an archivist at Harvard and a librarian for the Massachusetts State House. She and her spouse Julie Gray were married in 2009.
Detroit News, January 10, 2016
Remembering Andrea Still Gray
November 20, 1941 – February 2, 1989
Oliver Wellington Sipple was born in Detroit, grew up in Royal Oak, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967 to 1970, including a tour-of-duty in Vietnam. After leaving the military, he moved to San Francisco, where he could live a more open gay life. On September 22, 1975, Sipple made headlines and history when he prevented an attempted assassin from shooting President Gerald Ford.
New York Times, February 4, 1989
Radiolab story on Oliver Sipple
February 15, 1944 – November 3, 2014
A native of Ecuador with a Bachelor’s from Columbia University and a Master’s from American University, Ernest “Tito” Gutierrez Jr. enjoyed a 20-year career at the Kresge Foundation in Troy. While a resident of Royal Oak, Gutierrez served on the board for Affirmations and played a significant role in capital fundraising for construction of the community center’s own building in downtown Ferndale.
Between The Lines, November 13, 2014
August 5, 1984 – March 7, 2013
Pleasant Ridge resident Anthony Leonard Maniaci was born in Detroit. He worked as a popular bartender at Menjo’s and Backstreet in Detroit, and at Pronto in Royal Oak. At the time of his death, Maniaci was manager at Inuendo.
OutPost, March 13, 2013
April 11, 1941 – July 24, 1973
Larry Frost grew up in Royal Oak. He left Metro Detroit as a young adult and lived in various cities until he landed in New Orleans, where he worked as a bar manager and attended the local Metropolitan Community Church. Frost is believed to be one of three unidentified arson victims of the Upstairs Lounge Fire that killed 32 people.
The Advocate, November 15, 2015