Updated January 11, 2023
At some point in our lives that time will come: when the gig’s up, you kick the bucket or push up daisies, go six feet under or bite the dust, take your last breath, a long walk off a short pier or maybe, cash in your chips.
It may sound like you just had a conversation with a threatening gangster, but those are all supposed to be euphemisms designed to make saying that someone has died a little less harsh. Somehow, they don’t seem to soften the impact very well.
This is a story we do every year. It’s not particularly pleasant, and it’s definitely not a lot of fun, though it can be interesting.
But then, the loss of a life isn’t such a positive thing, though reflecting back on it can be rewarding.
It doesn’t matter if they were a local individual that you may have known personally or a famous recording artist, writer, actor, philosopher or political figure who somehow impacted your life through their work, the loss can still be painful. Despite the discomfort, it’s important to remember the contributions they all made and celebrate what we can.
Here’s to those we lost in 2022, thanks for making our world a better place to be!
May 18,1934 – January 9, 2022
Dwayne Hickman starred in the television series “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” alongside Bob Denver (perhaps better known in the role of Gilligan in the TV series “Gilligan’s Island”) and Sheila Kuehl. His friendship with Kuehl, who later came out as a lesbian during her terms of office in the California House and the California state senate, took him down the path of advocate and ally for the LGBTQ community. At the age of 87, Hickman died of natural causes
August 10, 1943 – January 12, 2022
The lead singer of the group Ronnie and The Ronettes was married to convicted murderer and musical genius Phil Spector before seeking a divorce on the grounds of extreme mental cruelty. The Ronettes’ 1964 hit song “Be My Baby” and her return to the musical industry 20 years later in a duet with singer Eddie Money with the song “Take Me Home Tonight” cemented her place in music history and as an ally to the LGBTQ community. According to family members, Spector died after a brief battle with cancer.
Andre Leon Talley
October 16, 1948 – January 18, 2022
An American fashion journalist, stylist, creative director, and editor-at-large of Vogue magazine, Talley worked with the company from 1983 to 2013. The openly gay fashion denizen served as a stylist for President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. As well, he authored three books and received the coveted North Carolina award for his role in literature. His death was the result of a heart attack brought on by a bout with the COVID-19 virus.
December 21, 1948 – January 23, 2022
Mugler was a French fashion designer, whose over the top creations provided women with clothing like they’d never seen before: in essence, disguises that were reminiscent of cars, robots, aliens and insects. His career spanned six decades and his couture graced the frames of such celebrated individuals as Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Tipping Hedren, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Celine Dion among many others. He was the height of avant-garde fashion in the 1980s and ’90s and created costuming for music videos and motion pictures, as well. The openly gay Mugler died of natural causes at his residence in Vincennes, France.
April 28, 1991 – January 30, 2022
Kryst was a successful attorney, a former Miss North Carolina, a former Miss USA and a 2019 top 10 contender for the title of Miss Universe. In recent years she had made regular appearances as an entertainment news correspondent for the television program Extra. She was a tireless supporter of human equality and always an advocate for individuals in need. Her life, from the outside, was considered by many to be nothing short of magical.
But Chelsie Kryst had a secret she kept from everyone. While her mother confirmed that she was indeed high functioning, Kryst suffered from crippling depression
and her parents were unaware of just how bad things were. Before throwing herself from the 30th floor balcony of her apartment, she sent a final text message to her mother. “First, I’m sorry. By the time you get this, I won’t be alive anymore, and it makes me even more sad to write this because I know it will hurt you the most. I love you, mom, and you are my best friend and the person I’ve lived for, for years. I wish I could stay with you but I cannot bear the crushing weight of persistent sadness, hopelessness and loneliness any longer…”
Frank Edwin Dalrymple
March 17, 1954 – February 1, 2022
Frank Dalrymple was 68 when he passed away in early 2022. His involvement with Qnotes dates back to the mid 1990s, when he offered to volunteer with the publication after returning to the city following experiences living abroad and teaching English in China; directing and acting in theater in New York for over a decade; and living and working professionally in the field in Boone, North Carolina, Kansas City, Missouri, and Savannah, Ga. At Qnotes he frequently assisted in production and was a regular content creator, writing stories about entertainment, sporting events and interviewing LGBTQ individuals of note, among others. A native of Savannah, his family moved to Charlotte when he was a young child. He spent his final years in Kansas City, where he continued to work in theatrical music presentation. He spent a lifetime traveling and pursuing his passions and his creative contributions to the world will be missed.
Joel Nathan Smith
November 7, 1961 – February 25, 2022
Charlottean Joel Nathan Smith worked with Qnotes, assisting in publishing, distribution, creating copy and layout from the mid 1980s through the early 1990s. Survived by his partner of 38 years, Jim Fetchero, the two shared a home in Charlotte and enjoyed traveling extensively throughout Europe. He was a graduate of North Rowan High School in 1980 and later attended Appalachian State University. In recent years, his career took him to Apple computers, where he served as a senior technical advisor. An avid car buff, he was passionate about the Mini Cooper. In 2021 he organized the first annual Mini Meetup in Spencer, North Carolina, at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. Just 60 years old, Smith is survived by his partner; mother and many other loving family members and friends.
Teresa Rogers Bryant
March 18, 2022
A native of Gastonia, and a lifetime North Carolina resident, Teresa Rogers Bryant was 72 at the time of her passing. Described by those who knew her as a “renaissance woman,” she was known for her love of sports, a career spent in law enforcement and eventually as the owner of a nightclub known as Night Owls. The LGBTQ nightclub, a rarity in Gaston County, was an advertiser with Qnotes and Bryant was an appreciated friend to the publication. In her later years she worked as a representative for Carolina Mortuary Service in Charlotte. She is survived by sons, grandchildren, a host of loving friends and a family of multiple chihuahuas.
October 8 1958 – May 14, 2022
Although she was born in india, LGBTQ rights activist writer and lawyer Urvashi Vaid became an American citizen. She was an expert in sexuality and gender issues and served as a consultant in matters of social justice. She was partnered to comic Kate Clinton since 1988 at the time of her death earlier this year. Of particular note, she spent 10 years with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the oldest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the country. While serving as the organization’s executive director, she disrupted a presidential press conference being held by George H.W. Bush with a sign that read “Talk is cheap. AIDS funding is not.” According to a report in the New York times Vaid’s death was the result of breast cancer.
December 28, 1932 – July 30, 2022
The legendary actress who was beloved by many as Lieutenant Uhura on the original series of Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek” was a civil rights advocate and an unequivocal ally to the LGBTQ community. At the age of 89, she died from natural causes.
September 26, 1948 – August 8, 2022
A British-Australian actress, singer and activist, Newton-John was a four-time Grammy winner whose career included 15 top singles and one of the most celebrated starring laws in film history in the movie “Grease.” In later years she appeared in two gay themed films, ‘It’s My Party” (1996) and “Sordid Lives” (2000) and further confirmed her friendship with the LGBTQ community in an interview: “Of course I love my gay audience. They’re like family. They’ve always been there for me and they’ve always been very loyal. They’re not just a great audience, they’re friends.” Newton-John’s death was the result of a long-term occurring battle with cancer.
May 25, 1969 – August 11, 2022
The bisexual actress captured the world’s attention when she became openly involved with out comic Ellen DeGeneres. The relationship didn’t last very long, and not many people were particularly surprised. Heche reportedly had a history of mental illness and unpredictable behavior. After splitting with DeGeneres she went on to marry Coley Laffoon and have children, though she maintained she still considered herself a part of the LGBTQ community. While her death was ruled an accident by the LA coroner, it is unlikely we will ever know why Heche was driving at close to 90 miles an hour before slamming her car into a house and causing a fire that would result in Heche’s death and the destruction of the home.
October 16, 1925 – October 11, 2022
Angela Lansbury was a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community. She raised millions during the height of the AIDS pandemic, and, like all good LGBTQ icons, she was even married to a gay man briefly. Although her marriage to Richard Cromwell only lasted a year, they remained friends until his death in 1960. As a stage actress, Lansbury was best known for her roles in “Mame” and “Sweeney Todd.” In film, she captured the world’s attention in “The Manchurian Candidate. On television, she captured the hearts of queer fans and the rest of America in the television series “Murder, She Wrote.” Just days short of her 97th birthday, her passing was due to natural causes
April 29, 1955 – October 24, 2022
Leslie Jordan used to joke that he couldn’t hide his sexual orientation no matter how hard he tried, so he always lived his life as an openly gay man. Perhaps best known for his role as the closeted character Beverly Leslie on the television series “Will and Grace” he also laid claim to fame via the staged, film and television series versions of “Sordid Lives” playing the character of Brother Boy. Other appearances included shows such as “Murphy Brown,” “Star Trek: Voyager” “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” and, more recently, “American Horror Story.”
Early in the morning on the date of his death, Jordan had been on his way to shoot scenes for the television series he was working on at the time, “Call Me Kat” when his car slammed into a building at Cahuenga Boulevard and Romain Street in Los angeles. It is believed he experienced a medical episode that led to the crash. Jordan was pronounced dead at the scene.
September 27, 1944 – October 31, 2022
Paul Haggerty and his band Lavender Country released the first known album of gay country music in 1973. They would go on to perform at gay pride events in places like Seattle and San Francisco and sell out of all the original 1,000 pressings of the independently produced record. Eventually the band split, and Haggerty and the other band members moved on with their lives. Front man Haggerty saw a resurgence in his career in 1999 when a publication known as The Journal of Country Music proclaimed him “the lost pioneer of out gay country music.” That prompted him to reform his band and even tour with contemporary LGBTQ performers like Trixxie Mattel, performing much of his original material (songs with titles like “Back in the Closet Again” and “Georgie Pie”} along with a handful of new tunes. The group even recorded an album of all new material in 2019, called “Blackberry Rose.” Still on the road touring as recently as March of 2022, his partner confirmed he passed away at home in Bremerton, Washington, at the age of 78.
Coti Collins also known as David Lohman
March 27, 1960 – November 14, 2022
A popular female impersonator and drag diva throughout North Carolina, and the mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States, Collins captured national attention when he was asked by country music performer Reba McEntire to join her tour. She posted the following words on Twitter just after his passing. “In the early 90s, I saw Coti Collins/David Lowman impersonating me as part of the Cowboys LaCage show in downtown Nashville. He was incredible. When we were coming up with ideas for our 1996 tour, we decided to take David on the road with us. We’ve stayed in contact ever since and I was so saddened to hear about his passing this week. We recently had the chance to visit for a few moments and I am so glad we did. Rest in peace, David.” Collins ‘ cause of death remains unknown.
July 2, 1947 -November 21, 2022
Former Equality NC (ENC) co-director Ed Farthing served his community through ENC from 2003 to 2008. A long time resident of Hickory, he was born in Greensboro and was a graduate of the Grimsley High School Class of 1965, the UNC-Chapel Hill Undergraduate Class of 1965 (with a degree in History) and UNC law school’s Class of 1972. One of his more notable accomplishments for the LGBTQ community was founding and serving as president of the NC Gay and Lesbian Attorneys Association. After leaving ENC, he remained an active member of the Hickory Community Relations Council and the president of the Green Park neighborhood association, he was also a three-term elder at Northminster Presbyterian Church. Farthing’s death was likely the result of complications from heart failure.
March 18, 1959 – November 25, 2022
An American singer, songwriter and actress of african, Puerto Rican and Cuban heritage, she first captured industry attention when she appeared on Broadway and later in the film version of “Sparkle.” Just a few short years later she would appear in the film version of the movie “Fame,” (1980) singing the title track and other songs on the movie’s soundtrack album. The song shot to the top of the pop and dance charts, thrusting Cara into the spotlight and making way for other hits to follow such as “Out Here, On My Own,” “Flashdance: What a Feeling” (1983) and “Breakdance,” (1984) among others, but mainstream success was to be elusive, as the record label refused to pay her due and she was blacklisted when she chose to fight back. She eventually won, but the path to victory was a long financial challenge. In the 2000s, Cara made multiple appearances at LGBTQ Pride events around the country, playing to the audiences who loved her best. In all of the reports that have been released since her death the cause is still listed as unknown.
November 7, 1949 – October 6, 2022
Stand up comic, actress, singer and accordion player Tenuta always acted like she really wanted to be a gay man. She loved the LGBTQ Community, enjoyed performing for them and never missed a chance to fight for queer rights. Known to her fans as the “Love Goddess” and the “Aphrodite of the Accordion,” she appeared with gay writer and celebutante Bruce Vilanch in the movie “Sister Mary” and made multiple appearances on the daytime soap opera “General Hospital.” She died of ovarian cancer at the age of 72.
Dan Van Mourik
November 8, 1948 – October 15, 2022
Upon his arrival here in 1986, Van Mourik initially took a position with Carowinds as the stage director for the entertainment theme park. By the early 1990s, however, he changed directions, and snagged the role of associate editor for Qnotes. From 1992 to 2000 he would juggle the dual roles of editor (with Qnotes) and graphic designer for another local gay publication known as Blue Knights, which he would later focus on entirely. During the final years of Blue Knights (now defunct), he would return to Qnotes, this time offering his talents as a graphic designer from 1998 to 2000. Later that same year he made the decision to hop over to White Rabbit Books, where he initially worked as a sales clerk before transitioning into the store manager position. In total, he spent 10 years there, and was always ready to greet potential customers with a friendly smile and kind words. Van Mourik ‘s death was sudden and unexpected. Aside from a close friend confirming he had complained of physical discomfort in recent weeks, no information has been released to confirm has cause of death.
1999 – December 16, 2022
A transgender activist and deputy press secretary for politics at the Human Rights Campaign, Berg-Brousseau was only 24 when he made the decision to end his own life. His mother, Kentucky state senator Karen Berg, confirmed that her son died by suicide in his home after struggling for years with his mental health — “not because he was trans,” she wrote, “but … from his difficulty finding acceptance.” After working at HRC since his college graduation in 2021, he had recently been promoted, “but that could not undo the brokenness that he already felt,” she wrote. “On a daily basis at his job, Henry would be aware of the hateful and vile anti-trans messaging being circulated around this country and focused at his workplace.”
December 12, 1989 – December 12, 2022
Born and raised in South Carolina, trans man Marquis Jackson, 33, later relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he became deeply involved in transgender activism, supporting Philadelphia’s William Way Center and the Transgender Legal Defense Fund. Jackson’s body, with facial lacerations and cranial wounds, was discovered in a Philadelphia neighborhood known as Nicetown. Police are investigating his death as a homicide, indicating he may have been dead for as long as 48 hours before his body was found. A suspect in Jackson’s murder was reportedly detained, but released due to lack of evidence.
September 25, 1929 – December 30, 2022
Walters was a legend. She began working professionally as a journalist in 1951 and continued to do so until her retirement in 2015. For many years she was revered for her interviewing capabilities and she was well-liked among television viewers. She hosted multiple programs including NBC’s Today, the ABC Evening News, 20/20 and The View.
While there are other journalists in the broadcast News field who have an outstanding history, Walters was different. As a woman and a journalist, her career remains unparalleled. She interviewed impossible to pin down people, asked the hard questions and got the answers most could not.
On both a personal and professional level she took a special interest in the fight for LGBTQ civil rights and never hesitated to confront anyone she perceived as homophobic or simply bigoted when it came to the issue. It was her coverage of the controversy surrounding the restaurant chain Cracker Barrel and her personal admission that she had no intention of eating at the restaurant until the issue was resolved and LGBTQ employees could once again rest easy knowing their jobs would not be snatched out from under them because of their sexual orientation.
Barbara Walters died in her Manhattan home after an accomplished career and a full and lengthy life.