May 10, 1929 – December 15, 1986
Wilfred Zinow Thompson was born in Hamtramck, went to Pershing High School in Detroit, attended the University of Michigan in the early 1950s, and earned his B.A. in liberal arts from Wayne State University in 1958. For a time, Thompson was affiliated with writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten and was an antiques dealer by trade. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.
Detroit Free Press, May 10, 1987
March 19, 1929 – February 17, 2020
Detroit native Susan Reeder Breuer graduated from Birmingham High School, studied at Northwestern University, was married, raised three children, and earned her Ph.D. in psychology before divorcing in the late 1970s. At her 40th high school reunion, Breuer became reacquainted Nancy Kasperzak and the two became life partners, settling In Benzie County. Kasperzak survived her by four days.
Benzie County Record, March 18, 2020
January 21, 1929 – November 21, 1953
A native of Morristown, Tennessee, Lewis Shields Treece served for a time in the U.S. military and entertained as part of the Black Drag revue at Uncle Tom’s Plantation on Eight Mile Road in Detroit in the early 1950s. He was killed in an auto crash at age 24 following a performance at the night club.
Detroit Tribune, November 28, 1953
Michigan Chronicle, November 28, 1953
June 18, 1929 – April 28, 2016
Gobles High School graduate Ruth Evonne Ketchum attended Western Michigan University and worked for many years at Upjohn pharmaceuticals. She played on the Brodys competitive fast-pitch softball team as catcher. Ketchum also took part in Kalamazoo’s annual Pride parade, attended Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and belonged to Phoenix Community Church.
Kalamazoo Gazette, May 1, 2016
December 25, 1929 – February 7, 2017
Lawyer, professor, and labor activist Patricia Eames earned her BA. at Reed College, her M.A. from Columbia, and her J.D. from Yale Law School. In the 1980s, she served as general counsel for Wayne State University. While in Detroit she and her life partner Connie Hart were active with the Forum Foundation and SEMGLA, the South East Michigan Gay/Lesbian Association.
Reed Magazine, 2017
November 12, 1929 – April 20, 2003
Originally from Beverly, Massachusetts, Marcella “Marcy” Louise Robinson served in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1955. She later moved to Grand Rapids, where she worked as a draftsperson and as an assembler for Laser Alignment. Robinson and her life partner Myra Marshall attended Reconciliation Metropolitan Community Church.
Grand Rapids Press, April 23, 2003
July 8, 1929 – September 23, 2012
A native of Breckinridge, Texas, Nita Hardie served as political science professor from 1964 to 1992 at Western Michigan University. There, she inaugurated courses on race and gender, established the Women’s Studies Program. Hardie was also a founding member of the Michigan Democratic Party Women’s Caucus.
Kalamazoo Gazette, October 14, 2012
April 24, 1929 – April 16, 2004
Usein “Mike” Alieff Jr. grew up in Pontiac and for many years ran his own piano school in Birmingham. He and his life companion Max LePard shared a home in Royal Oak for more than forty years. In their retirement, he and LePard were crochet instructors at the Royal Oak Senior Center.
A.J. Desmond & Sons
June 6, 1929 – March 14, 2016
From 1948 to 1954, June Ann Peppas played first base and as a pitcher with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including the Battle Creek Belles and the Kalamazoo Lassies teams. She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and later operated PJ’s Printing in Allegan with her life partner of 46 years, Polly Huitt.
TC Palm, March 20, 2016