October 8, 1947 – May 16, 1994
Born in Detroit, Carl Rippberger graduated from Denby High School and served a tour of duty in Vietnam as a U.S. Army draftee. He bartended at Tiffany’s before acquiring the Escape Lounge, which he opened as Backstreet nightclub in 1979. Rippberger served as president of the Detroit Bar Guild and helped raise funds for Wellness House and Affirmations. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 46.
Detroit Free Press, May 19, 2994
Cruise, May 25, 1994
May 29, 1963 – February 2, 1995
Hamtramck resident George Benjey was born in Detroit, grew up Downriver, and graduated from Woodhaven High School in 1981. A longtime member of Metro Detroit’s LGBTQ community, Benjey worked at the Gold Coast Saloon, Backstage, and Tiffany’s.
Cruise, February 8, 1995
Metra, February 15, 1995
March 9, 1947 – March 31, 1987
Allen Robinson grew up in Port Huron and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Robinson moved to Detroit in his early 20s, lived for a time in San Francisco, and in the early 1980s returned to Michigan, where he worked at Tiffany’s and the Interchange, and at Metra magazine as managing editor. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.
Cruise, April 8, 1987
April 12, 1959 – June 20, 1993
Detroiter Pete Malek graduated from Cody High School and worked as a waiter in Phoenix, Arizona before returning to his hometown, where he was a familiar face at Tiffany’s. He died of complications from AIDS at age 34.
Cruise, July 7, 1993