Troy-SandsWilliam Troy Sands, 48, died in his home in Oak Cliff on Sept. 18. His partner of 12 years, E. Morgan Millican III, and their dog iPod were at his side.

Sands was raised in West Palm Beach, Fla. In high school, he was involved in track and field and wrestling and was a member of the West Palm Beach Youth Orchestra. He lived in Washington, D.C. before moving to Dallas in 1985.

Sands worked for a number of employers, including Bruce Flint Attorneys, American Express Corporate Travel and, his favorite, the Apple Store in Highland Park as a Mac specialist.

He was an expert in music software, technologies and components. He was also an accomplished composer and played piano, organ and violin.

For 25 years, Sands was a DJ in Dallas. He learned his skill from his friend, the late DJ Buc. He worked for the remixing companies Hot Tracks, Direct Hits and Roadkill Records, recording and remixing dance, progressive, trance, house and vocal anthems and progressing from vinyl to CDs to computer. For a decade, he was the house DJ at the Brick. He became a circuit DJ and spun at clubs across the country.

Sands had been battling lung cancer with gusto and an unwavering determination for five years. Despite his recent chemotherapy, he was back in the DJ booth at Dallas Eagle and performed just a week before his death, which he found therapeutic and exhilarating. He said, “Music is a journey and on that musical journey, everyone is welcomed. That is what DJs do. They entertain people with words, sounds and emotions.”

Sands is survived by his partner, Morgan Millican III; his mother, Judy Sands; his grandmother, Louise Crotts; his sister, Theresa Marshall; his brother-in-law, Jim Marshall; his niece, Jackie Marshall; his nephews, Bryan and Brett Wilson; his aunts and uncles, Willene and Ron Burch, Bill and Carol Crotts and Phyllis and Skip Steckley; countless wonderful cousins; Millican’s supportive family; and friends, old and new, around the world.

The family said a special thanks to Brian Husbands, Dan Shupert, Bobby Barron and the Hampton Hills Neighborhood Association. Sands always said he had the best doctors and hospital in the world and ended every visit by saying, “thank you.”

Sands wished to be cremated and plans for a remembrance celebration in the next month will be announced. He also wanted a dance party fundraiser to be held in his name, which is also being planned. Donations in his name can be made to Amelia Court at Parkland Hospital, Resource Center Dallas or a charity of your choice.


Richard-Potter-Obit-picRichard Michael “Rick” Potter, 56, died Saturday, Sept. 10, at Heritage Gardens Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Carrollton.

Potter was born in Heidelberg, Germany on June 8, 1955. As a child growing up in Denison, Potter attended Parkside Baptist Church from the age of 5 until he moved to Gainesville. He held a perfect attendance record for 14 consecutive years at Parkside.

Potter graduated from Denison High School in 1973 and continued his education at Grayson County College to become a licensed vocational nurse after he graduated in 1974. His love for nursing started at Madonna Hospital in Denison where he worked as an orderly, and he worked in a variety of medical facilities in places such as the state school in Gainesville, the Louisiana State Prison in Angola, La., and the Dallas County Jail. He continued his nursing education at Tarrant County Junior College where he studied nursing home administration.

Potter worked as a nurse in the Vocational Counseling & Rehabilitation Services in St. Louis, Mo. He also worked in Boca Raton, Fla., and at Savoy Nursing Home, Savoy, Texas. He did a lot of private duty nursing for many of his friends.

Potter also loved landscaping and he worked in Dallas for many years as an independent landscaper and as an employee for Noel David Pullam Garden Design. He also loved to travel and collecting matchbox cars and antiques. He touched many lives during his short life and he will be missed greatly.

Potter was reunited by telephone in 2007 with his birth mother, Irmgard Walter, and found out about his eight brothers and sisters and his huge extended family in Germany. Shortly after the telephone reunion with his birth mother, he flew to Heidelberg, Germany, and was reunited with his mom and met his brothers and sisters for the first time. Each of his brothers and sisters loved him and accepted him with open arms, and Potter made several more trips to Heidelberg to get to know more about his family and German heritage.
Potter was preceded in death by his adopted mother, Hilda Potter of Denison, and his birth mother, Irmgard Walter, of Heidelberg, Germany. He is survived by his adopted father, Jesse C. Potter Jr. of Denison; his sisters, Linda Thomas and her husband Charley Thomas of Denison, and Angelika (Geli) Wind, Dorle Gand, Engrid Zimmerman and Rosie Discher, all of Heidelberg; his brothers, Tomas, Udo, Helmet and Heiner Zimmerman, all of Heidelberg; his niece, Allison Lee-Anne Essin, her husband, Sam Essin, and their daughters, Ella Grace, Kimber Faith and Logann Hope of Sherman; Linda’s sister, Angie Dennis of Pittsburg, Kansas; his aunts Christa Murgida of Beverly, Mass., Irene of North Carolina, Jessie Mae and her husband Bob of South Carolina, Carline of  Georgia, Hannelor Hildebrand and Renada, both of Heidelberg; his uncle Dieter of Heidelberg; numerous nieces and nephews in Heidelberg, and a host of very close friends and extended family in the Dallas, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Raleigh, Mo., areas.

The family extends a special thank you to all of his friends that helped to take care of Potter while he was sick at home, in the hospital and at the rehab center. They were all a blessing and an answered prayer.

A memorial service honoring Potter’s life was held Tuesday, Sept. 20, at Bratcher Funeral Home in Denison, with Dr. Chet Haney officiating. A second memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, at 3 p.m. in the Interfaith Peace Chapel on the campus of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas for those unable to make the journey to Denison.

To honor Potter’s lifelong commitment to helping those in need, the family asks that donations in his name be made to the Resource Center Dallas Food Pantry, The Callie Clinic  Food Pantry of Texoma  in Sherman, The Interfaith Peace Chapel Project at The Cathedral of Hope, Dallas and the Grayson County Shelter.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dallas Eagle DJ Troy Sands passes away

DJ Troy Sands

We were sad to learn that Troy Sands passed away Sunday morning. He was a resident DJ at the Dallas Eagle. Sands built his reputation playing the old Brick on Maple Avenue and made a name for himself as a headlining DJ not only in Dallas, but throughout the country. I had the pleasure of writing this story on him as he made his return to the scene after a tough struggle with cancer.

This was posted by two of the Dallas Eagle’s managers on Facebook on Sunday:

It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that a very beloved member of our family has left us today. DJ Troy Sands passed away this morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Troy’s family and loved ones. The DJ booth at the Dallas Eagle will never be the same without his smile and laugh. You will be missed greatly Troy. We will post additional information concerning any service or memorial as we receive it.

Mark [Frazier] and Cully [Johnson]

Upon the news, people began posting their condolences on Sands’ Facebook page.

—  Rich Lopez

Skate the night away

It’s been a while since LGBTs would trek out every week to Grand Prairie to Forum Roller World for gay skate night, a hit with the community that eventually fizzled away. Never fully deterred, though, Don Blaylock — who used to DJ the event — decided it’s time to bring it back.

“People loved it before,” he says. “I thought it would be great to bring back and have something for people to do.”

Blaylock says that interest had already been brewing when he started handing out flyers on the street.

“The response has been so positive,” he says. “There is an unbelievable interest in it.”

Just don’t expect to find info about it online. Blaylock is old-school and doesn’t do things on “the computer” too much. (Advice to Mr. Blaylock: Facebook is so much easier.)

“I’m just doing it by good ol’ word of mouth,” he laughs. “I’m stuck in the ’70s.”

Skate night won’t be the same as before in two ways. First, Blaylock is not returning to the DJ booth. Instead, he’s in talks with the rink DJ to play tunes that will work for the fabulous crowd as well as for the regular weekend skaters.

Second, it’s going from a weekly event to monthly. Figuring that overexposure may have contributed to waning interest the first time, skate night will be every third Saturday of the month, but this first one will be Friday.

“I just wanted to get it going and began planning it before I thought about it too long,” he says.

Skate nights will begin at a meeting place for a quick energy-boosting nosh, then skaters will roll off to InterSkate Roller Rink in Lewisville. For now the cost will be the admission fee at InterSkate and people can bring their own wheels.

—Rich Lopez

Gay Skate Night, June 17. Meet at Hunky’s, 3940 Cedar Springs Road, at 6:30 p.m., then InterSkate Roller Rink, 1408 S. Highway 121, Lewisville at 8:30 p.m. $3. 214-207-7430

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Bellying up to the bar: Leatherman Payne and partner dive into club ownership with Eagle

MEN OF DENIM | Ostmeyer, Payne, Johnson, Frazier and Roy now all own the Dallas Eagle.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Until about a month ago, everything Jeffrey Payne knew about a bar was how to order a Sprite in one (Payne doesn’t drink). Maybe how to cruise a guy during happy hour. That was it.

That’s changing. Fast.

At the end of January, Payne and his partner David Roy became shareholders in the Dallas Eagle.

“David and I have been speaking about it for a few years. We toyed with starting our own bar, had looked at other bars that had come up for sale in the meantime but never found what we were looking for,” Payne says.

Then last year Mark Frazier, one of the owners of the Eagle, approached them. “He heard we were looking,” Payne says, and asked if they would be interested in investing. Things progressed fairly quickly from there.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Payne says. ”Working with Mark and Cully Johnson and Jerry Ostmeyer, who are the other owners, we all bring something different to the table. We’re all active. There’s no silent partner, no one standing on the sidelines. Lot of changes have either happened or are about to happen. The DJ booth is now against the side; new countertops are being put in; and we have an updated draft [beer] system.”

Payne’s history with the Eagle is notable. He was named Mr. Dallas Eagle in 2008 — the first step on his way to Mr. Texas Leather and finally International Mr. Leather, a title he held from May 2009 to 2010 and for which he received widespread acclaim throughout the community for his leadership.

“Having been around the world like I have been, getting to know the hugely supportive gay community — not just the leather community — I wanted to be more involved,” he says. “The Eagle was just the right thing we were looking for. It’s a Levi/leather bar, but it doesn’t stop there: The bears, the court, the drag queens, softball teams, the bowling league — it’s not limited to just one sector of the community. It’s a wide array of people. Even straight people who are involved in the gay community hold activities there.”

“Bar owner” joins Payne’s other job titles of late, which also include running a court reporting service and serving on his non-profit Sharon St. Cyr Foundation, which raises money for hearing aids and sign interpretation for the deaf community. Payne is going deaf, although it has not progressed as fast as his doctors had predicted.

“It has gradually gotten worse but I’ll hang on to every day I can,” he says. ”Understanding is escaping more and more. David said something to me this morning and what I heard and what he said were on two different planes. Mine was much funnier.”

His hearing impairment also figures into his work at the Eagle — in some not-to-predictable ways.

“Sunday was the first time I worked behind the bar,” he says. “When I’m at the Eagle I don’t wear my hearing aids so people were placing orders and I didn’t hear them.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright