Carl Rippberger

Carl Rippberger pic

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

Ronald Hoenig

Ronald Hoenig pic

January 8, 1947 – October 4, 2014

Ronald Hoenig of Bonita Springs, Florida was born in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Adrian and Blissfield.  He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and later operated a cabinetry business with Art Trevino, his partner of 27 years.  The couple would have liked to have married but Hoenig died months before the Supreme Court made it legally possible.

Adrian Daily Telegram, October 11, 2014

Robert Murphy

Robert Murphy pic

January 22, 1935 – November 5, 2017

Detroit native and Novi resident Robert Murphy served in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Chief Petty Officer from the Naval Reserves.  A long active in the leather community under the name Mark Ensinger, he was a member of Detroit’s Studs 30 and the Chicago Hellfire Club.  He was posthumously awarded the 2018 Chuck Renslow President’s Award by the Leather Archives and Museum.

Detroit News, November 7, 2017

Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors

Thomas Lohr Sr.

Thomas Lohr Sr pic

May 31, 1925 – March 13, 1918

Thomas Lohr Sr. was born in Saginaw, attended Arthur Hill High School, and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.  After graduating from NYU, he earned his M.D. from Harvard, then served in the Air Force before returning to Michigan, where he practiced medicine for 39 years.  In retirement, he and his husband Robert Rousch spent winters in New Mexico and summers in East Tawas.

Saginaw News, April 29, 2018

Floyd Spikings

April 16, 1916 – February 17, 1991

Kalamazoo resident Floyd James “Jim” Spikings was born in Lawton, worked for the railroad in Chicago, and served in the Army during World War II.  He later worked as an assembler for the Kozy Coach Company in Kalamazoo and for many years was employed by Musselman’s apple orchards cooperative in Paw Paw.  Spikings was also a correspondent with the homophile organization ONE.

Paw Paw Courier-Leader, February 22, 1991

Oliver Sipple

Oliver Sipple pic

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

Henry Trent

Henry Trent pic

September 16, 1927 – October 2, 2005

Union Lake resident Henry Charles Trent served in the U.S. military and operated Trent’s Prime Rib Beef Market in Detroit prior to opening Menjo’s in Detroit with Mike Crawford and Joe LaRosa.  Trent also owned the Prudential Health Club in Detroit.

Detroit Free Press, October 4, 2005