November 19, 1936 – April 29, 2021
Klaus Reich, better known to gay Metro Detroiters by Tony Rome, was born in Berlin, Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1950s. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he began an aircraft servicing business in Ypsilanti. He later operated Foof’s Down Under downstairs at Gigi’s nightclub in Detroit. From 1979 to 1999, Rome published Cruise magazine before retiring to warmer climates.
Desert Sun, May 13, 2021
November 8, 1971 – November 27, 2016
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Virlena Cerese Reed of Ann Arbor, previously of Ypsilanti, graduated from Belleville High School and attended Washtenaw Community College. She earned her Bachelor’s at Eastern Michigan University in 2000 and worked as a case manager as well as an artist. Reed was survived by her son Christopher Fitzner-Reed and her co-parenting partner Melinda Fitzner.
Ann Arbor News, November 30, 2016
July 7, 1940 – October 20, 2008
Nona Diane McKenna of Dexter was born in the Upper Peninsula town of Hermansville, graduated from Roosevelt High School in Ypsilanti, earned her B.A. in physical education from Eastern Michigan University, and served in the U.S. Marines from 1961 to 1966. In 1991, she and Sally Johnson became the first same-sex couple to register as domestic partners. They married in California in 2008.
Ann Arbor News, October 23, 2008
December 5, 1934 – October 28, 2001
A native of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Cynthia Jane (Young) Wrentmore started as a public health nurse with the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health in 1958 and became as its communicable disease coordinator in 1981. She served on the board for Wellness Networks/Huron Valley, later known as the HIV/AIDS Resource Center, and was a pioneering AIDS educator in the Ann Arbor area.
Between The Lines, November 29, 2001
February 20, 1966 – July 19, 2000
Stephen Gendin was a teenage member of Mensa and valedictorian of the Ypsilanti High School class of 1984. While studying at Brown University, he learned he had HIV. Gerdin went on to become a leading activist in ACT UP/New York, a columnist for POZ magazine, and the founder of Community Prescription Service, a mail-order pharmacy distributor. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 34.
New York Times, July 22,2000
Remembering Stephen Gendin on YouTube
Stephen Gendin Papers at Yale University
June 2, 1966 – February 21, 2019
Lisa Maria Rodriguez Ortiz was born in Chicago and as a teenager moved to Michigan, where she graduated from Okemos High School and attended the University of Michigan and Boston College. For 26 years she taught Spanish at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor. Ortiz resided in Ypsilanti with her daughters and wife Julia Marvin.
Ann Arbor News, February 28, 2019
February 12, 1938 – February 1, 2016
Louis Rhodes Farmer was born in Lynchburg, Virginia and moved to Michigan in 1956. He was employed as a custodian for the University of Michigan while working his way through college, served in the U.S. military from 1961 to 1963, and earned his M.A. in education from Eastern Michigan University in 1970. Farmer retired from teaching with the Chlesea School District in 1988 and lived in Ypsilanti.
Ann Arbor News, February 16, 2016
June 13, 1946 – January 25, 2018
Judith Altheo Bohms of Lansing was born in Ypsilanti, grew up in Adrian, and taught elementary school in Charlotte, retiring in 2009 after 40 years in the classroom. Bohms and her partner of 27 years Lisa Haston sang with Sistrum, the Lansing Women’s Chorus and were active with the Lansing Association for Human Rights.
Lansing State Journal, January 28, 2018
April 30, 1924 – October 31, 1989
Navy veteran and 1954 University of Michigan graduate Shearon Dudley was a 36-year-old Ypsilanti resident when he was charged in November 1959 with attempting to procure gross indecency as part of an undercover police crackdown on homosexual activity at UM. Married with six children, he had a career in marine biology and later became a minister in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
March 29, 1928 – November 1, 2007
A native of Ypsilanti, Mary White earned a B.A. from Eastern Michigan University in 1950, served as a counselor for the Orchard Ridge Campus of Oakland Community College from 1966 to 1992, and was active in the Gaia Women of the Great Lakes Basin chorus. She worked as a psychologist in Royal Oak before retiring to Gilbert Lake near Empire, Michigan.
Lesbian Connection, March/April 2008