Michael Barto

Michael Barto pic

January 9, 1962 – November 7, 1995

Actor, director, playwright, and Grand Rapids native Michael Gerard Barto of Chicago earned his B.A. in theater at the University of Michigan-Flint.  In 1987, while pursuing his M.F.A. at the University of Iowa, Barto directed and co-wrote The Wizard of AIDS, which was performed more than 700 times over seven years throughout the Midwest.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 33.

Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1995

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald pic

October 18, 1963 – March 17, 1996

Born in Flint, Brian Keith McDonald spent most of his life in Otisville.  He majored in theater at the University of Michigan-Flint and worked for 13 years for the Flint Youth Theater.  McDonald was also employed by the local VGs grocery chain.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 32.

Flint Journal, March 18, 1996

James Minterfering

James Minterfering pic

April 1, 1970 – January 2, 1998

Falmouth resident James Douglas Minterfering graduated from Mt. Morris High School, where he performed in the marching band.  He was employed for many years with Perry Drug Store in Flint.  Minterfering also performed in local dinner theater.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 27.

Flint Journal, January 4, 1998

Michael Murray

April 28, 1949 – November 7, 1990

Michael Murray earned a Bachelor’s in theology at Loyola University of Chicago and oversaw religious education at two Catholic parishes and at the Michigan School for the Deaf in the mid-1970s.  Murray was a founding member of Dignity/Flint and portrayed Jesus in productions of Godspell with the Flint Community Players in 1977 and 1984.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.

Indianapolis Star, November 12, 1990

Flint Journal, December 11, 1990

Doug Niles

Douglas Niles pic

February 22. 1938 – August 26, 1981

Douglas Lauren Niles graduated with the Flint Central High School class of 1956 and operated hair salons in downtown Flint for more than 20 years.  He was long active in local community theater and civic ballet.  Niles was found shot to death in his car.

Flint Journal, August 27, 1981

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

Lenore Simon

lenore simon pic

December 31, 1950 – October 26, 2011

Saginaw resident Lenore Simon was born in Chicago and earned her JD from Creighton University Law School in Omaha. Nebraska.  In addition to practicing law as an attorney and mediator for more than 20 years, Simon co-founded a queer theater company Center in Monterey, California in the early 1990s and later continued the troupe in Las Vegas.  She and her partner Connie Hoffman were married in 2009.

Lesbian Connection, March/April 2012