Mary Fenton

Mary Fenton pic

July 23, 1937 – April 12, 2006

A native of Kansas, Mary Frances Fenton earned her B.F.A. at the University of Oklahoma.  She later earned her M.A. at Western Michigan University, where she served a professor of graphic arts for nearly three decades.  Fenton and her partner of 24 years Mary Appelhof participated in the lesbian group Aradia in Grand Rapids and were long active in the women’s community in Kalamazoo.

Lesbian Connection, September/October 2006

Sandra Cole

Sandra Cole pic

September 17, 1937 – May 15, 2017

Noted sexologist Sandra Cole founded the Comprehensive Gender Identity Program at the University of Michigan in 1993 and served as its director until retiring in 2000.  She was also a longtime advocate for transgender legal and civil rights, and helped secure gender identity as a protected category in the UM bylaws and Ann Arbor’s human rights ordinance.

Ann Arbor News, June 23, 2017

Sandra S. Cole papers at the Bentley Historical Library

Louise Griffin

Frimmitte Griffin pic

July 29, 1937 – September 21, 2011

Miami native Frimmitte “Louise” Griffin attended the University of Michigan in the 1950s and went on to become a pioneering female voice on Black radio in South Florida.  She later served with a medical unit in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War.  Griffin and her life partner Maryanne Powers met in 1963.

Lesbian Connection, January/February 2012

Bob Gross

Bob Gross pic

January 23, 1937 – June 26, 1996

A native of the Isabella County town of Weidman, Bob Gross covered high school sports for the Lansing State Journal for 34 years and lived a largely closeted life.  In 1996, he was murdered by a young man he picked up at Stober’s Bar.  Gross was posthumously inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Between The Lines, August 1996

James Markunas

James Markunas pic

June 8, 1937 – October 19, 1986

Fr. James Markunas was a graduate of Detroit’s Cody High School and Albion College.  While serving as associate rector of St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, Fr. Markunas was arrested for peaceably demonstrating after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 49.

Bay Area Reporter, October 23, 1986

Larry Barnard

September 20, 1937 – March 15, 1990

A retired school teacher, Larry Barnard founded the Greater Lansing Gay Men’s Chorus, was active with the Lansing Area AIDS Network, and served as an officer and volunteer in several capacities for the Lansing Association for Human Rights and the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.

LAHR Newsletter, April 1990