Robert Penick III

Robert Penick III pic

September 24, 1965 – May 23, 1992

Robert Edward Lee Penick III graduated with the class of 1983 from Cass Tech High School in Detroit.  He came out in the early 1980s on the dance floors of such gay nightclubs as Todd’s, Bookie’s, and the Famous Door.  At age 20, Penick moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 28.

No known obituary

Michael Phelan

Michael Phelan pic

June 6, 1949 – January 9, 1990

Michael Phelan grew up in St. Clair Shores and graduated from Lakeview High School.  During the 1970s, he performed female impersonation as Whitney Blake at various Detroit bars and won titles for Miss Todd’s, Miss Bookie’s, and Miss Michigan before moving to California.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.

Cruise, January 24, 1990

Ken Collier

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January 9, 1949 – February 19, 1996

Known as the Godfather of House, legendary DJ Ken Collier spun music around Detroit for more than 30 years at such gay clubs as Bookie’s Club 870, Heaven, Todd’s, the Chessmate, and L’uomo.  His skill with the turntable inspired a new generation of DJs and helped put Detroit’s dance scene on the global musical map.

Metra, February 28, 1996

MetroTimes, May 15-21, 1996

Bobby Calvert

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November 28, 1942 – February 15, 1986

A onetime store manager for Kmart, Bobby Calvert and his life partner Dan Campbell operated both Todd’s Sway Lounge and the Akron Health Club on Detroit’s East Side.  Calvert also testified before city council in favor of including sexual orientation in the 1979 Omnibus Human Rights Ordinance.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 43.

Metra, February 26, 1986