April 17, 1934 – January 31, 2010
A native of Parkersburg, West Virginia, Suzanne “Suzie” Dowden majored in physical education at Miami University of Ohio and earned her Master’s from the University of Michigan in 1966. She taught at Eastern Michigan University and had a varied career of teaching, counseling, and coaching in Detroit, Ferndale, and Kalkaska. Dowden lived in Traverse City with her partner of 42 years Connie Riopelle.
Traverse City Record-Eagle, February 4, 2010
March 11, 1934 – December 14, 2009
Joanne Rettke earned her doctorate at Michigan State University, where she served as director of the Women’s Resource Center. She helped found First Friday gatherings in the Lansing area in the mid-1970s and in 1977 played a key role in inaugurating Everywomen’s Weekend. Rettke retired to Glen Arbor, where she ran the Duneswood retreat with Marge Ives, her partner of 34 years.
Glen Arbor Sun, January 10, 2010
Lesbian Connection, March/April 2010
September 5, 1934 – July 3, 2011
Minnesota native Vicki Marlane was among a troupe of female impersonators who performed at the Diplomat Lounge in Detroit in the early 1960s. Born Donald Sterger, Marlane underwent gender affirmation surgery in San Francisco, where she continued to perform into her 70s. She was subject of the 2009 documentary Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight. She died from AIDS-related complications at age 76.
Bay Area Reporter, July 14, 2011
Vicki Marlane photographs and artifacts at the GLBT Historical Society
Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight on Vimeo
August 2, 1934 – June 26, 2006
A graduate of Michigan State University, Clinton Township resident James Johnstone taught math with the Fraser Schools for 30 years. He served as a union leader with the Michigan Education Association, was long active in Democratic politics, and was an ardent supporter of the ACLU, NOW, and PFLAG.
Detroit News, July 9, 2006
July 2, 1934 – April 28, 1991
North Carolina native and Army veteran Bobby Duggins joined the mass migration of southerners who moved north in the 1950s to work in the auto industry. Employed for 30 years with General Motors, Duggins was a longtime patron of Flint’s State Bar.
Winston-Salem Journal, April 29, 1991