May 21, 1925 – July 6, 2014
Detroit native Margaret Elnora Wenzell played nine seasons in the 1940s and 1950s for numerous teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including the Grand Rapids Chicks, the Muskegon Lassies, and the Battle Creek Belles. Employed with General Motors in Michigan and later an electric company in California, she was laid to rest next to her life companion and spouse Dorothy Kamenshek.
Forest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuary
October 11, 1925 – Jun 19, 2012
Jerry Mae Palmer served as a role model for masculine-identified lesbians in Detroit’s African American LGBTQ community. Born in Alabama, she later moved to Michigan where she worked on the line as an assembler for one the automobile manufacturers. Before her death at age 86, Palmer and her friends provided vital safe spaces for people to proudly be themselves through a variety of social events.
Stinson Funeral Home
September 10, 1925 – December 20, 2014
Longtime Farmington Hills psychologist Howard Norton Baver began his career in Hartford, Connecticut before moving to Metro Detroit. As a straight therapist with a number of gay and bisexual clients, he founded The Gay Connection as a monthly discussion group in 1985 when many of them told him the only places they would meet were gay bars. Haver was also a key supporter of the Jewish Gay Network.
Between The Lines, January 8, 2015
April 18, 1925 – November 2, 2017
Erie, Pennsylvania native John DeCecco, a pioneering scholar of sexuality and longtime editor of the Journal of Homosexuality, taught at the University of Detroit from 1953 to 1955 and at Michigan State University from 1955 to 1960. Turning his interests to psychology, he moved on to an esteemed career at San Francisco State University until his retirement in 2003.
Windy City Times, November 12, 2017
San Francisco Chronicle, April 26, 2018
John DeCecco papers at the GLBT Historical Society
January 28, 1925 – June 21, 2003
Hal Lawson, a graduate of Wayne State University, was founding chair from 1958 to 1960 of the Detroit Area Council of the Mattachine Society, the first known organization for homosexuals in Michigan. He was later involved in ONE in Detroit, the Association of Suburban People, the Michigan Organization for Human Rights, the Unitarian-Universalist Gay Caucus, and Dignity/Flint.
Between The Lines, July 17, 2003
May 31, 1925 – March 13, 1918
Thomas Lohr Sr. was born in Saginaw, attended Arthur Hill High School, and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After graduating from NYU, he earned his M.D. from Harvard, then served in the Air Force before returning to Michigan, where he practiced medicine for 39 years. In retirement, he and his husband Robert Rousch spent winters in New Mexico and summers in East Tawas.
Saginaw News, April 29, 2018
January 18, 1925 – September 4, 2015
Kenneth Garnett grew up in Bay City and for many decades owned and operated the Art Shoppe in Flint. Toward the end of his life, he was a familiar face at the Pachyderm Pub. Garnett was preceded in death by his life partner of 47 years Beverley Dunnington Wayt Jr. in 1994.
Flint Journal, September 6, 2015
August 3, 1925 – June 11, 2008
Max Edward Toy was schooled in Lansing and graduated from Albion College. He served as a sonar operator in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Before his retirement, Toy was employed at Michigan Employment Security Commission offices in Niles and Detroit. Toy was a subscriber to ONE magazine in the 1950s.
Lansing State Journal, June 13, 2008
September 8, 1925 – December 19, 2017
Born in upstate New York, Mable Stewart Merritt moved with her family as a child to Grosse Pointe, where she graduated from high school. She worked as a typesetter for the United Auto Workers union for 40 years. Merritt was interviewed by Roey Thorpe in 1992 about her involvement in lesbian life in Detroit during the 1950s.
Kansas City Star, January 3, 2018
March 12, 1925 – January 11, 1980
Duane Andrew VanderYacht attended Holland Public Schools, graduated from Hope College, and lived most of his life in Holland before moving to Muskegon. He worked as a salesman, janitor, and later in life was self-employed as a consultant. During the 1950s, VanderYacht was a subscriber to ONE magazine.
Muskegon Chronicle, January 14, 1980