October 3, 1928 – February 21, 2020
Benzonia resident and lifelong musician Nancy Pierce Kasperzak grew up in Metro Detroit and graduated from Birmingham High School. After divorcing and with her children grown, Kasperzak joined her childhood classmate Susan Reeder Breuer to forge a life partnership. They eventually settling on Crystal Lake in Benzie County and late, for a time had a horse farm. Breuer preceded her in death by four days.
Benzie County Record, March 4, 2020
November 5, 1928 – January 3, 2009
Born in Saginaw, Gerald Laverne Hillert was a draftsman for Consumers Power in Saginaw in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and later worked as an interior designer for Sears-Roebuck in Detroit. Hillert was also an early subscriber to ONE magazine. He and his companion of 56 years Robert Costa retired to Vero Beach, Florida.
TC Palm, January 8, 2009
August 26, 1928 – April 12, 2013
Born in Escanaba, William James Hirn earned his Bachelor’s from Western Michigan University and did his graduate studies at the University of Michigan. After teaching in Muskegon and Ann Arbor, he moved to New York State, where he was on the early faculty of Rockland Community College. Hirn and his life partner of 48 years Joseph Rogers retired to Spain and later lived in Houston and Las Vegas.
Escanaba Daily Press, April 19, 2013
March 29, 1928 – November 1, 2007
A native of Ypsilanti, Mary White earned a B.A. from Eastern Michigan University in 1950, served as a counselor for the Orchard Ridge Campus of Oakland Community College from 1966 to 1992, and was active in the Gaia Women of the Great Lakes Basin chorus. She worked as a psychologist in Royal Oak before retiring to Gilbert Lake near Empire, Michigan.
Lesbian Connection, March/April 2008
December 19, 1928 – April 15, 2005
An accounting clerk in local radio before her retirement in 1983, Helen King was active in the Cub Scouts, Little League, Dolphin Swim Team, Alliance of Mental Health, and Salvation Army in Midland. In the late 1980s, King co-founded the local chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Midland Daily News, April 17, 2005
June 19, 1928 – October 20, 1995
Negaunee native Jack Genore performed as Fat Jack at the Diplomat, the Gold Dollar, and other Detroit drag venues during the 1960s and 1970s. He was particularly noted for his rendition of “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”
Mining Journal, October 22, 1995
October 3, 1928 – December 22, 2011
Born in Allegan, Henry Lewis Van Dyke Jr. served in the U.S. Army and earned a B.A. and M.A. at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he developed lifelong gay friendships. He later authored several novels and taught as a writer-in-residence at Kent State.
Akron Beacon Journal, January 8, 2012
Henry Van Dyke papers in the Labadie Collection
January 25, 1928 – July 21, 2007
Rabbi Sherwin Wine, founder of the Birmingham Temple and the Humanistic Judaism movement, hosted a monthly gathering of closeted gay professionals called the First Sunday Group that provided discreet financial support to more public LGBTQ activism in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
New York Times, July 25, 2007
Sherwin T. Wine papers at the Bentley Historical Library