November 6, 1949 – July 14, 1988
Longtime Lansing resident Joseph Martin “Joe” Courter graduated from John H. Gabriels High School and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1981. Following his military service, Courter worked for General Telephone Company and, for the last two years of his life, resided in Alma. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.
Alma Morning Sun, July 21, 1988
September 16, 1954 – February 23. 2019
Jeri Shupe of Pontiac grew up in Taylor and graduated with the class of 1972 from Taylor High School. She worked variously as a ballroom dance instructor, a law office manager, and a licensed cosmetologist. Shupe was active in the Flint-area group Transgender Connect and in 2016, according to her obituary, transitioned from male to female. Her life partner Diane Morin survived her.
Sparks-Griffin Funeral Home
March 23, 1952 – March 5, 2009
Pleasant Ridge resident Gaye Ann Leeny grew up in Detroit. She was employed as a designer of prototypes in the automotive industry and also operated Rainbow Graphics in Hazel Park. In 1986, she joined with five others to establish Windover Resort, an all-women’s campground near the Thumb village of Owendale. Leeny was survived by her loving partner Janie Plunkett Henderson.
July 27, 1933 – March 22, 2019
Margaret “Peg” Powell was born in Lansing and served as an MP with the Women’s Army Corps during the Korean War. She raised her younger sister and two children of her own and studied to become an LPN, specializing in hospice care. Powell was active in Lansing’s lesbian community in the 1970s and 1980s before moving to Wisconsin. She was survived by Mary Kay Schleiter, her partner of 32 years.
Lesbian Connection, November/December 2019
Casey Family Options
May 1, 1942 – November 18, 1992
Born in Texas, Rodolfo “Rudy” Aviles grew up in Bay City and served four years in the U.S. Navy. He attended Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University and worked with the Michigan Employment Security Commission. Aviles was active in numerous civic causes, including bilingual education and raising money for Hispanic scholarships. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 50.
Bay City Times, November 18, 1992
June 2, 1964 – July 2, 2018
Joseph Patrick Periard of Kalamazoo, formerly of Southfield, was born in Bay City and graduated from Bay City Western High School. He earned his Bachelor’s in computer science from Michigan Technological University and was later employed with Ford Credit in Detroit. In March 2017, Periard was united in marriage with Joseph Biron II, who survives him.
Kalamazoo Gazette, July 3, 2018
October 14, 1949 – August 6, 1994
Taylor resident Larry Thomas Gaynier taught high school English and communications in Brownstown Charter Township for 22 years. A member of the Association of Suburban People in the early 1980s, Gaynier later served on the boards of Affirmations and the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 44.
Detroit Free Press, August 9, 1994
Affirmations Newsletter, September 1994