May 10, 1929 – December 15, 1986
Wilfred Zinow Thompson was born in Hamtramck, went to Pershing High School in Detroit, attended the University of Michigan in the early 1950s, and earned his B.A. in liberal arts from Wayne State University in 1958. For a time, Thompson was affiliated with writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten and was an antiques dealer by trade. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.
Detroit Free Press, May 10, 1987
March 2, 1974 – March 8, 2016
Matthew William Robison came from Erie, Pennsylvania in the early 1990s to attend the University of Michigan, where he was active in the Queer Unity Project. After earning degrees in psychology and social change from UM, he went to Stanford for his J.D. and later worked as an attorney for the ACLU in New York City. Robison returned to his native state and remained involved in LGBTQ+ activism.
Erie Times-News, April 10, 2016
July 9, 1992 – May 16, 2021
Born in Missouri, Ann Arbor resident David Lawrence Hutchinson grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and earned his B.A. from Truman State University. He went on to pursue his doctorate in history at the University of Michigan where his research interests included the Black diaspora, African American intellectual history, and queer studied. Hutchinson was killed in an automobile accident at age 28.
Thatcher’s Funeral Home
October 20, 1937 – February 26, 2003
The Rev. Dr. Barbara Edith Edgecombe, a Chicago native, graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and studied piano at the University of Michigan. While working as a piano teacher back in Chicago, she decided to train for the ministry. Edgecombe came out after graduating theological seminary and in the late 1990s served as the openly lesbian pastor of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Greater Lansing.
Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2003
August 26, 1933 – September 19, 2005
Born in Chicago, Barbara Lee Christiansen graduated from Baldwin High School in Birmingham and earned her degree in dental hygiene from the University of Michigan. A resident of Huntington Woods, she was active with the local library, the garden club, the Detroit Zoo, and other causes. With her involvement with Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Christiansen was also a PFLAG mom.
Detroit News, September 21, 2005
September 2, 1954 – February 22, 2018
Wilbert Anthony “Billi” Gordon Jr. graduated from Union High School in Dowagiac, class of 1972. He left seminary to attend the University of Michigan, where he became involved in gay activism, including as spokesperson for the Ann Arbor Black Gay Caucus. Gordon went on to become a celebrated model, entertainer, writer, and neuroscientist. He was survived by his spouse of 30 years Robert Schallert.
Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2018
April 5, 1944 – December 10, 1985
Born in Elmhurst, Illinois, James Martin earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Illinois before earning his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1969. After a year clerking for a federal appeals judge, Martin joined the UM Law School and had a distinguished 15-year career there while living a discreet gay life in Ann Arbor. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.
Ann Arbor News, December 22, 1985
August 24, 1942 – September 30, 2013
Linda Ann Reuther, the daughter of UAW founder Walter P. Reuther, grew up in Detroit and Rochester and earned her Bachelor’s in education from the University of Michigan in 1965. She taught head start for several years, operated a quilt store in Marin County, California, and later created a meditation retreat center to the north in Albion. Reuther was survived by her life companion Michele Tellier.
Fort Bragg Advocate-News, October 10, 2013
February 27. 1958 – November 20, 2020
Deborah Jane “Deb” Price started college at the University of Michigan before transferring to Stanford, where she earned her B.A. and M.A. In 1992, while working for the Detroit News, she began writing a regular column on gay life, the first for a mainstream daily newspaper. The column was soon syndicated throughout the U.S. and continued for 18 years. Price was survived by her wife Joyce Murdoch.
Between The Lines, December 10, 2020
New York Times, December 10, 2020
January 7, 1921 – January 18, 1975
Brooklyn-bred Chester Simon Kallman was a librettis, poet, and longtime companion to poet W.H. Auden. Kallman pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan and while in Ann Arbor he and his roommate Strowan Robertson were the nuclei of a gay social circle. He went on to write three volumes of poetry and authored or co-authored librettos for several operas.
New York Times, January 19, 1975