April 12, 1932 – May 14, 2018
Orphaned as a child, former Detroiter Carl Mitchell joined the U.S. Army at age 17 and served as a combat medic during the Korean War. While home in Detroit on leave, he discovered the gay bars downtown, where his uniform attracted much attention. He later worked as a nurse in Detroit-area hospitals. Mitchell was survived in St. Petersburg, Florida by Robert Stanley, his partner of 48 years.
Between The Lines, May 24, 2018
July 27, 1932 – July 18, 2017
Nancy Ledins was born in Cleveland, Ohio as William Griglak, was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1959, and served as an assistant rector at St. Anthony parish in Detroit in the early 1960s. After leaving the priesthood to marry a nun, William transitioned to Nancy in 1979 and was obliged to divorce. In her last years, Rev. Ledins resumed ministering with a congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Charlotte Observer, July 22, 2017
Nancy S. Ledins profile at LGBT Religious Archives Network
May 4, 1932 – October 19, 2012
In 1953 and 1954 Barbara Jean “Barb” Sowers played outfrield with Muskegon Belles and the Grand Rapids Chicks in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Born in Detroit, she grew up in Livonia and retired as a high school counselor with the Livonia schools, where she headed the teachers’ union in the mid-1970s. Sowers was preceded in death by Shirley Weaver, her companion of 45 years.
Roberson Funeral Home and Crematory
December 5, 1932 – February 19, 2014
Born in East Grand Rapids, John “Jack” Campbell attended the University of Michigan for a year before finishing his B.A. in accounting at Kent State. In 1965 he opened the Club Baths in Cleveland, the launch of a national chain of gay bath houses. Later in Miami, he helped lead resistance to Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” crusade. Campbell remained active in Democratic Party politics throughout his life.
Grand Rapids Press, October 12, 2014
March 23, 1932 – February 27, 2005
Marlene Kutz grew up in Dearborn and later resided in Livonia and Harrison Township. A subscriber to the Ladder in the early 1970s and supporter of the Forum Foundation in the 1990s, Kutz was also a sister in the Catholic Church.
Detroit News, March 1, 2005
April 27, 1932 – May 28, 2013
Born in the small town of Quincy, Muriel Van Patten earned her B.A. and M.A. at Eastern Michigan University. She taught visual arts at Fenton High School and served as an elementary art teacher and principal in the Wayne-Westland Schools. She retired from the Michigan Department of Education. Van Patten had her own art shown in numerous exhibitions. She was survived by her partner Wanda Jubb.
Detroit News, June 2, 2013
June 14, 1932 – September 5, 2015
Battle Creek resident Betty Clark graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1950 and earned her B.A. and M.A. in education from Western Michigan University. She taught elementary and junior high in the Harper Creek Community Schools from 1960 to 1986. Clark was survived by her life companion of 65 years Silver Lee Garske.
Battle Creek Enquirer, September 7, 2015
January 19, 1932 – December 14, 2017
Grayling resident Phyllis Ann Erb worked for 24 years as a wound specialist with the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. She met her life partner Patricia Teal in the mid-1960s when both were heterosexually-married housewives and mothers. Erb and Teal operated the Heritage House Bed and Breakfast in Gaylord from 1991 to 1996.
Ann Arbor News, December 24, 2017
September 17, 1932 – June 23, 2010
A native of Ypsilanti, Donald Hazlett served in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s. Hazlett later operated Don’s Beef N Ale in Detroit and with Paul Espenscheid co-owned Menjo’s during the 1990s. He and Espenscheid shared the Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the 1994 Detroit area Pride Banquet.
Toledo Blade, June 26, 2010