Jill Ramseyer

Jill Ramseyer pic

September 19, 1934 – August 4, 1992

Born in Bay City, Jill Marilyn (Conway) Ramseyer graduated from the Henry Ford Hospital nursing program in 1955 and began work as an RN for the Genesee County Public Health Department in 1972.  The first nurse in Flint to do HIV testing, she was founder and later president of Wellness HIV/AIDS Services.  Ramseyer retired to Au Gres in 1991 and was survived by her husband and two children.

Flint Journal, August 5, 1992

Cynthia Wrentmore

Cynthia Wrentmore pic

December 5, 1934 – October 28, 2001

A native of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Cynthia Jane (Young) Wrentmore started as a public health nurse with the Washtenaw County Department of Public Health in 1958 and became as its communicable disease coordinator in 1981.  She served on the board for Wellness Networks/Huron Valley, later known as the HIV/AIDS Resource Center, and was a pioneering AIDS educator in the Ann Arbor area.

Between The Lines, November 29, 2001

Therese Marie Bluhm

April 5, 1934 – September 25, 2012

Mancelona resident Therese Marie Bluhm attended Detroit parochial schools, received her Bachelor’s at Marygrove College, and earned her Masters at the University of Detroit.  After teaching public school she moved to Massachusetts in the early 1960s and had a 33-year career with the Silver Burdett Ginn textbook company.  Bluhm was preceded in death by her beloved partner Elizabeth Houston.

Boston Globe, September 26, 2012

Bedford Funeral Home

George Francoeur

George Francoeur pic

April 18, 1934 – August 17, 2019

George Russell Francoeur of Bloomfield Township graduated from Highland Park High School, studied design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and earned his MFA from the University of Michigan.  He later taught art history at Henry Ford Community College for 30 years.  Francoeur was preceded in death in 2007 by his life partner of 42 years Gerald “Jerry” Earls.

Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors

Harold McCormick

Harold McCormick pic

January 4, 1934 – May 9, 1999

Civil rights activist Harold McCormick was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1962.  After moving to Metro Detroit, he was engaged in social work and became CEO of Quality Human Services.  McCormick led a largely closeted life until he was found murdered in his Royal Oak Township apartment, the victim of a man he met at an adult book store.

Detroit Free Press, May 13, 1999

Between The Lines, June 10, 1999

Between The Lines, July 1, 1999

Nancy Unwin

Nancy Unwin pic

February 15, 1934 – January 27, 2020

Former Rochester Hills resident Nancy Ann Unwin earned her M.A. in clinical psychology from the University of Detroit and served as a school psychologist for 25 years in Detroit, Clawson, and Lapeer.  Through Affirmations in 2001, she formed OUTSkirts, a discussion group for older lesbians.  Unwin also co-founded Women OUT & About to provide a social outlet with dances, picnics, and other activities.

Detroit Free Press, January 31, 2020

Between The Lines, February 20, 2020

Suzie Dowden

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

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