October 20, 1937 – February 26, 2003
The Rev. Dr. Barbara Edith Edgecombe, a Chicago native, graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and studied piano at the University of Michigan. While working as a piano teacher back in Chicago, she decided to train for the ministry. Edgecombe came out after graduating theological seminary and in the late 1990s served as the openly lesbian pastor of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Greater Lansing.
Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2003
May 28, 1937 – July 13, 2014
Kalamazoo resident Patricia Ann Cutshaw was known as “Sport” at Richland High School, where she played on the basketball team all four years. She later worked for Gibson Guitar until Multiple Sclerosis forced her into retirement. Cutshaw was preceded in death by her life partner Nydia Nichols.
Betzler Funeral Homes
March 28, 1937 – February 3, 2016
Carole Lynn Stoneking was raised in Grosse Pointe, received her Bachelor’s at Wayne State University, and in 1967, she earned a scholarship to pursue her Masters in recreational leadership. She had a 27-year career with the YWCA and later owned the Stress Management Institute of Therapeutic Massage in Columbia, South Carolina. Stoneking also served on the steering committee for Old Lesbians Organizing for Change.
The Reporter, June 2016
Barr-Price Funeral Home
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
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
July 11, 1937 – April 9, 2014
Longtime Grand Rapids resident Myra Elizabeth Marshall was employed by City Water Repair and belonged to Reconciliation Metropolitan Community Church. She was preceded in death by her life partner Marcella Robinson.
Grand Rapids Press, April 23, 2014
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
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
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
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