Joanne Rettke

Joanne Rettke pic

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

Vicki Marlane

Vicki Marlane pic

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

James Johnstone

James Johnstone pic.jpg

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

Bobby Duggins

Bobby Duggans pic

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