Mary Banister

Mary Banister pic

July 16, 1945 – February 18, 2017

Mary Barbara Virginia Banister, co-owner with her life partner Wendy Robertson of the Touch of Country Mall, was born in Detroit and later lived in Warren before moving to Howell in 1972.  Before acquiring the antique mall, she worked for various lumber, hardware, and nursery stores.  Banister was a devoted member of Hardy United Methodist Church.

Livingston Daily Press and Argus, February 21, 2017

Gretchen Fogel-Daniels

July 13, 1949 – June 27, 2010

In 1966, Gretchen Sue Fogel-Daniels graduated from Highland Park High School, where she sang in the choir.  She studied voice at Oberlin College and later worked as a secretary at the University of Michigan.  Fogel and her life partner Carla Daniels sued University Townhouses in Ann Arbor when denied “family” housing, securing a settlement that opened the co-op agreed to same-sex couples.

The Tennessean, June 30, 2010

In Memory of Gretchen Fogel

Ernest Gutierrez Jr.

Ernest Gutierrez pic

February 15, 1944 – November 3, 2014

A native of Ecuador with a Bachelor’s from Columbia University and a Master’s from American University, Ernest “Tito” Gutierrez Jr. enjoyed a 20-year career at the Kresge Foundation in Troy.  While a resident of Royal Oak, Gutierrez served on the board for Affirmations and played a significant role in capital fundraising for construction of the community center’s own building in downtown Ferndale.

Between The Lines, November 13, 2014

Jay Ralko

Jay Ralko pic

July 13, 1992 – Last seen December 10, 2014

Jay Ralko of Warren was active in the GLBTA Student Union while a student at Wayne State University and was employed at Kroger.  The 22-year-old trans man went missing on December 10, 2014, sparking an extensive regional search.  He was found dead in his car thirteen days later.  Police suspected that Ralko took his own life.

Oakland County Times, December 24, 2014

Windy City Times, December 26, 2014

Remembering Jay Video

Craig Case

May 9, 1964 – April 1, 2003

Craig Edwin Case was born in Jackson and grew up in Battle Creek.  After graduating from Battle Creek Central High School in 1982, he managed Custer Party Store and was later operations manager for the Battle Creek Flower Exchange.  Case was united with his life partner Martin Burgess in a commitment ceremony in 1998.

Battle Creek Enquirer, April 3, 2003

Henry Trent

Henry Trent pic

September 16, 1927 – October 2, 2005

Union Lake resident Henry Charles Trent served in the U.S. military and operated Trent’s Prime Rib Beef Market in Detroit prior to opening Menjo’s in Detroit with Mike Crawford and Joe LaRosa.  Trent also owned the Prudential Health Club in Detroit.

Detroit Free Press, October 4, 2005

Cindy Pigeon

Cindy Pigeon pic

April 9, 1959 – October 10, 2018

Known as “Auntie” to tribal youth in Michigan, Cindy Pigeon of Wayland led workshops on native culture and was active with the Grand Rapids Inter-Tribal Council and the Indian Workers Conference of the United Methodist Church.  She was an avid sports enthusiast, kept score for Hopkins Public Schools, and pitched softball with the Salem Indian Mission team.  She was survived by her wife Faith Pigeon.

Grand Rapids Press, October 14, 2018