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  Attorney Ralla Klepak dies, longtime LGBTQ ally

Ralla Klepak, a legendary attorney in Chicago's LGBTQ and legal communities, passed away April 25 of multiple organ failure. She was 82. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 30, 1:30 p.m. at Chicago Jewish ...


  PASSAGES Richard David Wold, 62

Richard David Wold passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at home on April 17. He was 62. After graduating from Maine South High School and attending North Park College, Richard worked for Willow Creek Church as director ...


  DiProva celebration May 18 at Fox Run

A celebration of the life of advocate Vicky DiProva will be held Saturday, May 18, 12:30-3:30 p.m. at Elk Grove Village's Fox Run Golf Links, 333 Plum Grove Rd. DiProva, 54, died Feb. 12 due to ...


  PASSAGES Ragnar 'Ray' Hammerberg

Windy City Times recently was notified that Ragnar "Rag" Hammerberg, a onetime Chicago resident, was killed last October in Key West, Florida, when his bike collided with a truck, as noted in The Miami Herald. He ...


  PASSAGES Restaurant manager Chyna Sky Gonzalez dies

Chyna Sky Gonzalez died by suicide March 9 after a long struggle with drug addiction. She was 32. Born in San Leandro, California, on Dec. 4, 1986, Gonzalez spent her childhood in the Bay Area and ...


  PASSAGES Filmmaker Barbara Hammer dies at 79

Pioneering experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer—whose works involved a distinctive lesbian perspective—has died of ovarian cancer, ARTNews reported. She was 79. Hammer's breakthrough film, Dyketactics ( 1974 ), features more than 100 shots in just over four ...


  PASSAGES Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh dies at 91

Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh ( D-Indiana )—a champion of women's rights and author of two amendments to the U.S. Constitution—died March 14 from several illnesses at age 91, reported. Bayh was the father of ...


  PASSAGES Longtime non-profit advocate Vicky DiProva dies

[UPDATE: A celebration of the life of Vicky DiProva will be held Saturday, May 18, 12:30-3:30 p.m. at Elk Grove Village's Fox Run Golf Links, 333 Plum Grove Rd.] Victoria "Vicky" DiProva died Feb. 12 ...


  Lambda Legal Mourns Death of Kansas LGBTQ Leader Stephanie Mott, Honors Legacy

( New York, NY - March 5, 2019 ) — After the passing of LGBTQ leader and trailblazer Stephanie Mott, former chair of Equality Kansas and founder of Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project ( K-STEP ), ...


  Urbana ally Bernadine Evans Stake dies

Bernadine Evans Stake—a longtime Urbana, Illinois, resident who was an ally of the LGBTQ+ community—has died at 92, reported. Personal PAC CEO Terry Cosgrove relayed the news to Windy City Times. Stake was born on ...


  PASSAGES Pioneering trans Jackie Shane dies at 78

Jackie Shane—a Black Canadian transgender soul singer who found fame in nightclubs in 1960s Toronto and who had a Grammy-nominated record in her 70s—has died in Nashville at age 78, The New York Times reported. Shane ...


  Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld dies

Iconic German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld—who was the fashion visionary and creative director of Chanel—has died at age 85, related. Lagerfeld, who started leading Chanel in 1983, was typically seen with his dark glasses, a ...


  PASSAGES Writer Patricia Nell Warren dies at 82

Best-selling novelist Patricia Nell Warren has died at 82, several outlets reported. Warren's 1974 novel, The Front Runner, told the story of an affair between a closeted coach and his out star athlete. LGBTQ running groups ...


  PASSAGES Joseph 'Patrick' Miska

On Dec. 9, 2018, San Francisco resident Joseph "Patrick" Miska passed away unexpectedly in Chicago, The Bay Area Reporter noted. He was 64. MIska came to San Francisco in 1972 and fell in love with the ...


  PASSAGES Brian Patrick Donegan, Air Force veteran

Brian Patrick Donegan—a U.S. Air Force veteran and much-loved dog-walker and house sitter who was a native of Algonquin—passed away Feb. 2. He was 59. Brian served in the Air Force from 1977 to 1997 in ...


  PASSAGES Grab co-owner Nagel passes away

According to activist Lori Cannon, Grab Magazine Co-Publisher and Co-Founder Mark Nagel was an "old-school, go-to guy" who saw the devastation of the AIDS epidemic in the community in the '80s and "was forever changed by ...


  PASSAGES Transgender activist 'Babs' Siperstein dies

Barbra "Babs" Siperstein—the first openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee ( DNC )—has died at 76, according to Siperstein served on the DNC's Executive Committee from 2011 to 2017. Also importantly, Siperstein was ...


  PASSAGES John Hisel

John Myron Hisel—a painter and fine artist in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood who was a native of Kankakee—passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at home Jan. 26. He was 61. John earned his B.A. in painting from the ...


  Colleagues, student remember generous gay art-history professor

Martha Pollak remembered colleague Ross Edman bringing his Pekinese dogs to campus at the University of Illinois at Chicago ( UIC ), which she considered a welcome surprise. Pollak—art history professor and chair of the department ...


  PASSAGES Annie O'Dowd

Ann "Annie" O'Dowd, of The Villages, Florida, passed away Dec. 26, 2018. Annie was born on April 26, 1929 in Chicago. She was 89 when she died. Her mother, Agnes, her father, Henry, and five siblings ...


  Carol Channing dies at 97

Broadway legend Carol Channing—who was known for her signature lead role in the Jerry Herman musical Hello, Dolly! and who continued performing into her 90s—died of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, at ...


  PASSAGES Al Petras, former Gay Games organizer, dies in Boston

A J Petras, better known as Al, died in Boston Jan. 1, 2019 of a massive heart attack. Petras served two years as co-chair of the original organizing committee that brought Gay Games VII to Chicago ...


  PASSAGES Lesbian suburban businesswoman Marge Bellisario dies

Margaret "Marge" Bellisario died Jan. 3 of complications from ovarian cancer. She was 50. At the time of her death, Bellisario lived in Forest View, Illinois. She became the sole owner of Forest View Lounge Bar ...


  Local passages in 2018

—Chicago lesbian pioneer and civil-rights activist Jackie Anderson died after a short illness on Jan. 7. —Chicagoan Therese Curran passed away Jan. 8 unexpectedly from a tragic fall. —Phlebotomist and amateur photographer Adrien Iris Pakovsky passed ...


  NATIONAL Colorado baker, ball-culture pioneer dies, Mich. pro-trans move

Jack Phillips—the Colorado baker whose decision to deny a cake to a gay couple landed him in the Supreme Court over the summer—was back in court recently facing another allegation of LGBTQ discrimination, USA Today reported. ...


  PASSAGES Hubbard Street founder Claire Anne Bataill dies at 66

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago ( HSDC ) founding company member Claire Anne Bataill died Dec. 30, 2018, at her home in Oak Park following a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 66. Born in Elmhurst in ...


  PASSAGES Khuleklani Diogricious 'Kaylem' Goba

Durban, South African-born Khuleklani Diogricious Goba (nicknamed "Kaylem"), of Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, passed away unexpectedly at home Dec. 22, 2018. He was 31. He was the beloved husband of Anthony Brent Goba; faithful papa to Princess ...


  PASSAGES Kathleen Ada Shaw (Cathy Shaw, Coach Shaw)

Kathleen Ada Shaw died Dec. 20 of endometrial cancer. She was 62. She was the daughter of Ada Pye Shaw and Eddie T. Shaw. She was born and lived most of her life in the Chicago ...


  NATIONAL Gay doctor, PFLAG death, Emma Gonzalez, 'pumping'

NBC News recently profiled Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, who the outlet called the "radical gay doctor" behind New York City's declining HIV rate. Daskalakis—deputy commissioner for the Division of Disease Control at the New York City Department ...


  PASSAGES Todd Anthony Lillethun

Todd Anthony Lillethun—a filmmaker and social worker who was a native of Janesville, Wisconsin, and a resident of Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood—passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by the love of family, on Nov. 14. He was ...


  Memorial events for Bernard J. Brommel in Nov., Dec.

There will be two memorial events for Dr. Bernard J. Brommel coming up in the near future—one in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and one in Chicago. —On Saturday, Nov. 10,, in Kalamazoo, there will be a tea in ...


  PASSAGES Steven William Jones, architect

Steven William Jones, 48, architect, died November 2, 2018 at his home, in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. After earning his B.S. from The University of Virginia's School of Architecture and M.S. in Architecture from Syracuse University, Steve ...


  PASSAGES Robert Klein Engler

Robert Klein Engler, of Chicago and Omaha, passed away Oct. 3 in Omaha. He was 75. Robert was a well-known and brilliant writer, leaving thousands of poems, innumerable plays and books of short stories, and countless ...


  Gursch memorial set for Oct. 20

A memorial gathering for Arthur Gursch, who died June 22, will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, 1-4 p.m., at Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn St. Gursch, in recent years, was a member of Gay Liberation Network, ...


  Grant celebration of life Oct. 2

A celebration of life for Harry Hodges, aka entertainer Ginger Grant, will take place Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Baton Show Lounge, 436 N. Clark St., at 8 p.m. Hodges passed away the week of Sept. ...


  Bernard Brommel passes away at 88

Memorial information linked below

Bernard Brommel, a retired Northeastern Illinois University ( NEIU ) professor, therapist and philanthropist, passed away Sept. 22 at his home in Kalamazoo, Michigan, according to an NEIU statement. He was 88. Brommel taught from 1971-1997 ...


  Slain trans woman's mother reflects on daughter's life, passing

Valerie Griffin will always remember her late daughter—Dejanay Stanton, who went by the nickname Dada—as a free spirit who loved to both travel and shop, and was always respectful and affectionate toward her mother. "She never ...


  The Baton Show Lounge's Ginger Grant remembered

Entertainer Harry Hodges, a.k.a. Ginger Grant, passed away the week of Sept. 10 in Chicago. Hodges, performing under Grant's persona, was a longtime emcee at The Baton and a close friend of its owner, Jim Flint. ...


  Making no small plans: Marcia Lipetz has died

Marcia J. Lipetz, 71, a foundational person in the Chicago LGBT community, has died. A no-nonsense professional, she fought for women's rights and social justice since she was a teenager growing up in Louisville, Kentucky. And, ...


  Oscars producer Zadan dies at 69

Craig Zadan—the prolific producer behind movies, TV projects and Broadway musicals—has died at 69. The cause involved complications related to shoulder-replacement surgery. Along with his producing partner, Neil Meron, Zadan produced the Oscars 2013-15, earning an ...


  Marking Danny Sotomayor's 60th birthday

Danny Sotomayor—an AIDS activist, artist and ACT-UP Chicago co-founder—would have turned 60 on Aug. 30. He passed away on Feb. 5, 1992. Pictured is a Sotomayor cartoon from 1989. Image courtesy of Lori Cannon ...


  PASSAGES Edward George Raap

Edward George Raap, 78, retired architect, world traveler; of Chicago and Puerto Vallarta; passed away unexpectedly but peacefully after a brief illness. Beloved life partner of 35+ years of Daniel J. De Marco, dear father of ...


  Aretha And that Seven Letter Word

For musicologists and pop culture nerds there is a very funny inside joke in Taylor Hackford's musical bio film Ray ( 2004 ). Ray Charles ( played by Jamie Foxx ) informs his collaborators, record producer ...


  Aretha Franklin dies at 76

Aretha Franklin— the long-reigning "Queen of Soul" who had countless hits ranging from "Respect" to "Freeway of Love" to "I Knew You Were Waiting" (the latter with the late George Michael)—died Aug. 16 at age 76. ...


  PASSAGES Women's music leader Esther Anne Fuller dies

Esther Anne Fuller, 82, of Whitestown, Indiana, has died. She was a past president of Women In the Arts, a former National Women's Music Festival president, and she was the Fuller to Baskin of the landmark ...


  Dedry Jones, remembered

More than 200 people gathered at DuSable Museum of African American History on Chicago's South Side Aug. 8 for the memorial ceremony of Dedry Jones, who passed away July 26. He was 64. Jones was a ...


  PASSAGES James M. Schulze

James M. Schulze, a lifelong Chicago Heights resident, has passed away at 60. Jim was a member of the Bloom High School class of 1976, and attended Butler University and the Keller School of Management. He ...


  PASSAGES Business owner Val Camilletti dies

Val's halla Records store owner Val Camilletti, 78, died July 24 at the British Home in Brookfield, Illinois of complications from breast cancer. She was a resident of Cicero at the time of her death. Camilletti ...


  DignityUSA Mourns Death of Retired Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen

From a press release

July 23, 2018. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion for LGBTQI people in our church and society, joins many in the Church and justice communities, especially in the northwestern U.S., ...


  HRC Remembers Founding Board Member Jerry Weller

From an HRC press release

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) released the following statement on the passing of HRC founding board member Gerald ( Jerry ) K. Weller Jr. Among his many roles as an LGBTQ ...


  PASSAGES '50s actor Tab Hunter dies at 86

Tab Hunter—who rose to movie stardom in the 1950s ( thanks to his surfer-by looks ) and who, in his later years, came out of the closet as gay—has died at 86. In his 2005 memoir, ...


  PASSAGES Activist Arthur Gursch dies at 72

Longtime LGBTQ activist Arthur Gursch died June 22. He was 72. He was born on April 23, 1946. Art was an LGBTQ activist for nearly 50 years. He also identified with the struggles of other oppressed ...


  PASSAGES Nancy Wynne Crane dies

Nancy Wynne Crane, 74, born January 22, 1944. Nancy left us far too soon in the early morning hours of June 24th in the presence of her beloved partner. She was born in Chicago to Benjamin ...


  PASSAGES Gay-rights pioneer Dick Leitsch dies at 83

Gay-rights icon Dick Leitsch, who led so-called "sip-in" protests during the 1960s, died in New York City on June 24, according to NBC News. He was 83. Born in Kentucky, Leitsch became a cornerstone of the ...


  'Bewildered' author Ron Weaver remembered

In his program notes for the 2017 Hell in a Handbag production Bewildered—a musical parody of Bewitched told from the vantage point of nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz—playwright Ron Weaver wrote of his two things he loved ...


  Memorial for musician Paula Walowitz June 16

A memorial will be held Sat., June 16 for Chicago-based singer/songwriter, therapist and activist Paula A. Walowitz, who died May 23, 2018 after a short battle with cancer. She was surrounded by friends and her wife, ...


  Friends recall connections with Howard Wax

Attorney and River Forest resident Howard Wax, who passed away in May, was remembered by close friend Lee Griesbach, among others, as someone who "collected friends" in the best sense of the phrase. "He was a ...


  PASSAGES Connie Kurtz from 'Ruthie & Connie' film dies

Lesbian pioneer Connie ( Constance ) Kurtz died peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones, the evening of Sunday, May 27 after a long illness. Born July 19, 1936 in Brooklyn, she moved with her husband ...


  PASSAGES Singer, therapist Paula Walowitz dies

Videos below

Chicago-based singer/songwriter, therapist and activist Paula A. Walowitz, born Sept. 16, 1952, died May 23, 2018 after a short battle with cancer. She was surrounded by friends and her wife, Jean Durkin. Walowitz was known internationally ...


  Body of missing River Forest man located

The body of a West Suburban gay man who went missing two weeks ago was recovered May 24, according to the Chicago Tribune. Howard Wax was last seen at his River Forest home the morning of ...


  PASSAGES Lesbian scientist Neena Schwartz dies

Northwestern University reproductive biologist Neena Schwartz—who discovered the hormone inhibin and its role in the regulation of reproductive cycles—died April 15, according to The Scientist, a magazine for life-science professionals. She was 91. Among other accomplishments, ...


  LGBT activist, volunteer Kea "Kookie" Kelly dies

Kea M. ( Kookie ) Kelly, age 74, passed away on May 15, 2018 at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, following a short illness. Kookie's sisters, Patti King and Veronica Kaiser, and her dear friend/adopted son Martin Ridge, ...


  PASSAGES Community activist Bruce Barnes dies

Community activist Bruce Barnes Jr. died April 4 at home due to complications from HIV and cancer. He was 62. Barnes was born April 29, 1955, in Chicago. His family soon moved to Antioch, Illinois and ...


  SF Pride, SF Dykes on Bikes Mourn Passing of DOB Founding Member Soni S.H.S. Wolf

From a press release

San Francisco — The San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® Women's Motorcycle Contingent announces the death of Soni S.H.S. Wolf, a founding member of Dykes on Bikes and an inspiring mother of the movement for lesbian pride ...


  PASSAGES William Lloyd Barber

William Lloyd Barber, 74, educator, native of Raleigh, NC, formerly of Chicago's Gold Coast Neighborhood, passed away April 20th 2018. After graduating from East Carolina University, Lloyd served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam ...


  Passages: Elliott Collazo

Elliott Collazo, son of Elizabeth Gonzalez and Franklin Collazo, grandson of Adolfo and Isabelle Gonzalez, was born in Lorain, Ohio on April 27, 1954. He died last Nov. 10, and his family has released these details ...


  Barbara Bush laid to rest

Barbara Bush—who was only the second woman in history ( besides Abigail Adams ) to be the wife of one president ( George H.W. Bush ) and mother to another ( George W. Bush )—died April ...


  PASSAGES South Asian LGBTQ community organizer Deepa Patel dies

Original Trikone Chicago board member Deepa Patel, 31, died March 9 at Loyola Medical Center surrounded by family and friends. Patel, who identified as a lesbian, was the first woman to be elected to the queer ...


  PASSAGES Sharon Avalon O'Flynn dies

Sharon Avalon O'Flynn, 75; longtime Lakeview resident, native of Copiague, Long Island, New York; retired airline sales rep, passed away peacefully April 17, 2018. An amateur vocalist and vivacious redhead, Sharon is remembered for her Irish ...


  Barbara Bush dies at 92

Barbara Bush—who was only the second woman in history (besides Abigail Adams) to be the wife of one president (George H.W. Bush) and mother to another (George W. Bush)—died April 17. She was 92. She had ...


  PASSAGES Poet J.D. McClatchy passes away at 72

J.D. "Sandy" McClatchy, the acclaimed poet at literary critic, died April 10 at his home in Manhattan following a long battle with cancer. He was 72. McClatchy was the author of eight highly praised volumes of ...


  PASSAGES Pioneering LGBTQ advocate Donna Red Wing dies, organizations respond

From press releases

From One Iowa: [Des Moines]—Donna Red Wing passed away on Monday, April 16 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. Red Wing served as executive director of One Iowa from 2012-2016, expanding the organization's work into ...


  Former Lambda attorney kills self over environment

Well-known Lambda Legal attorney David Buckel was found dead in a public park in Brooklyn, New York, Saturday, having apparently taken his own life in protest over the use of fossil fuels. Buckel was on the ...


  PASSAGES Daniel Joseph Howard

Daniel Joseph Howard, 53, born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, grew up in Detroit, and lived the last 18 years in Chicago, passed away Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018, in Chicago. Beloved son of the late Francis ...


  PASSAGES South Side Help Center founder Betty L. Smith

South Side Help Center ( SSHC ) founder Betty L. Smith, 76, died March 6 at home from Alzheimer's disease complications and a long illness. Smith was born Feb. 5, 1942, in Sandhill, Mississippi and at ...

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