Michael Lynn Toyer, was born on February 24, 1949, the first child of Pauline Eveline Keller and Arthur Lee Troyer of LaOtto, Indiana. Michael was raised on the family farm with his younger brothers, Phillip and Don, his sister Paula and grandmother Eva Troyer. The nurture and love of that family (and extended family) really made Michael the strong individual he was.
Although he didn’t like all of the physical labor that living on a potato farm involved, he learned the benefits of seeing the fruit of our labor and always knew these was something else that had to be done.
Michael attended public school in LaOtto and Aville, then graduated from East Noble High School in Kendallville, Indiana, in 1967. We went to Marion College in Marion, Indiana, and finally decided to become a high school English teacher when he graduated. During college Michael was involved in several singing groups, including: The Travelers; Top Teens; and the Marion College Concert Choir. Michael’s love of travel had some origins in all of the travel that singing with these groups enabled. He was also fascinated with publishing and was the editor of the college yearbook (The Marionette) as a sophomore.
During college Michael became close friends with Faith Logdson (Louisville, Kentucky) and after graduation there were married in 1972. Michael and Faith were both teachers and lived in Roselle, Illinois while teaching at Lake Park High School for four years. Besides teaching English, Michael was student newspaper advisor for the high school.
Michael was still seeking to express who he really was in the early 1970s. By 1976, Michael and Faith decided that their journeys were going in different directions and they were divorced.
During this time, Michael began to truly learn about integrating the various elements of his life into a cohesive unit—not hiding parts of himself but blending all of the pieces into a healthy whole.
He worked for Telemedia, Inc., (the company taught language and training skills overseas) until 1979. Michael knew what it was like to get fired because of who he was….he was fired from Oak Industries when a vice-president found out he was gay. That experience and others sensitized Michael even more to the plight of different races, different cultures and how women have been treated in different cultures. From 1978 on, when he joined Affirmation: United Methodists for Gay and Lesbian Concerns, Michael’s life included actively working for the equal treatment of all people in the church, in local government and in the personal lives of those around him. Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, agism were absolutely linked to each other according to Michael. Not willing to let oppression continue, Michael often expressed this viewpoint and sometimes sparks flew when the status quo was questioned.
Michael started working for the Presbytery of Chicago in 1980 and took the opportunity of applying his beliefs in the real-life experience of being an office manager, attempting to eliminate racism, sexism classism, agism and homophobia from the workplace.
A colleague, Barry Smith, recalls relating to Michael there: “When I, as an openly gay man called or went to the Chicago Presbytery office during the 1980s and early 1990s on behalf of my Presbyterian congregation, I often dealt with Michael and he was always a friendly and welcoming presence when many of the other Presbytery staff were only professionally polite. In 1982-3, when I was involved in a judicial complaint filed by my congregation against the Presbytery for anti-gay discrimination, Michael maintained an outward manner of neutrality, but was nonetheless personally warm and welcoming. It made a huge difference to me at the time to know that there was a staff member there who was LGBTQIA+ affirming in the midst of the harsh, discriminatory policies of the Presbyterian Church, now thankfully changed.”
Living with Michael was often a community experience; there were roommates, visitors from out-of-town and always someone who came into his life who needed an opportunity to be affirmed and deserved a chance at being included in a community of growing, caring people.
Out of that experience of living in community a number of people formed a “found family” called Dudcrest. This open, sharing and cooking group was the family that many people were amazed could function with so many different kinds of people. That network was the source of many wonderful dinners, parties and events including the Annual Dudcrest Halloween Ball.
Michael died from complication of HIV/AIDS on November 10, 1993.
(This biographical statement taken largely from the biography printed in the funeral bulletin which can be found below.)
Biography Date: January 2021
The worship bulletin produced for Michael's memorial service on November 20, 1993 is here:
https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/media/profile/michael-troyer/Michael Troyer memorial service.pdf
Affirmation (United Methodist) | Methodist (UMC, United Methodist Church) | Activist (religious institutions) | Chicago | Illinois
“Michael Troyer | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed September 26, 2022, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/michael-troyer.