Nona McKenna

July 7, 1940 – October 20, 2008

Nona Diane McKenna of Dexter was born in the Upper Peninsula town of Hermansville, graduated from Roosevelt High School in Ypsilanti, earned her B.A. in physical education from Eastern Michigan University, and served in the U.S. Marines from 1961 to 1966.  In 1991, she and Sally Johnson became the first same-sex couple to register as domestic partners.  They married in California in 2008.

Ann Arbor News, October 23, 2008

Sandra Langeland

Sandra Langeland pic

December 4, 1940 – July 6, 2020

A graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Monroe, Sandra Lee Langeland earned her B.S. in physical education from Michigan State University in 1964.  She received her Ph.D. at the University of Denver and taught psychology at the Oakland Community College Highland Lakes Campus for 29 years.  Langeland and her life partner Susan Murdock shared homes un Union Lake before moving to Florida.

Oakland Press, July 10, 2020

Sharon Smith

Sharon Smith pic 2

May 2, 1940 – April 10, 2005

Royal Oak resident Sharon Lee Smith was born in Detroit and graduated of Redford High School in 1958.  She was later employed as an office manager for many years.  Smith enjoyed lesbian romance novels, the LPGA, the History Channel, and Jeapardy.  Before a stroke forced her to live in a nursing home, she shared a home with her partner of 29 years Joyce.

Lesbian Connection September/October 2005

David Sindt

David Sindt pic

December 8, 1940 – December 3, 1986

Originally from Minneapolis-St. Paul, David Sindt earned degrees in horticulture and divinity before earning his Masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan in 1971.  During his studies at UM, he examined the recently formed Detroit Gay Liberation Front.  After moving to Chicago, Sindt founded Presbyterians for Gay/Lesbian Concerns.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 46.

David Sindt Profile at LGBTQ Religious Archives Network

David Sindt Papers at the Presbyterian Historical Society

Marina Doukales

July 7, 1940 – August 11, 2011

Born in Newport, Rhode Island, Marina Doukales moved with her mother to Ann Arbor in the 1960s.  She later worked as a phlebotomist with the University of Michigan Hospital for 20 years.  Doukales and her partner of 32 years Nora Forde resided in Whitmore Lake before retiring to Desert Hot Springs, California.

Desert Sun, August 20, 2011

Bruce Dettloff

Bruce Dettloff pic

August 6, 1940 – December 29, 1990

Bruce Dettloff started his gay bar career as a waiter at the Conquest Lounge in Detroit, rising to the position of manager and rechristening it Blue Boy.  In 1975, he opened the Gold Coast Saloon and later operated Applause.  He also helped establish the BTI Bowling League and was co-founder of the Detroit Bar Guild.  Dettloff was shot and killed at his home at age 50.

Cruise, January 9, 1991

Ten Percent, January 15-28, 1991

Suzanne Gary

Suzanne Gray pic 2

July 5, 1940 – April 2, 2019

Suzanne Cumberworth Gary was an Indiana native and graduated from Grosse Pointe High School.  At the University of Michigan, she earned her B.A. and won the prestigious Hopwood Award for her poetry in 1960 and 1961.  Following college, she drove to San Francisco and stayed, discovering lesbian feminism and teaching in Alameda, California.  Gary was survived by her partner of 18 years Laura Bock.

Lesbian Connection, September/October 2019

Sharon Tobin

Sharon Tobin pic

September 19, 1940 – March 16, 2017

Noted Los Angeles psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker Sharon Louise Tobin was a longtime board member of Christopher Street West and active in Southern California Women for Understanding.  In later life, Tobin and her wife and partner of 34 years Shannon Steck resided in Clay Township in St. Clair County.

Port Huron Times-Herald, March 19, 2017

Zan Alley

Zan Alley pic

January 9, 1940 – July 12, 2019

Farmington Hills resident Zan Alley attended high school and college in Birmingham, Alabama before moving to Michigan where she taught high school in Royal Oak for 17 years.  She later worked as a director with the Michigan Education Association, negotiating more than three dozen union contracts.  Alley was survived by her partner and wife Murphy Ayers.

Detroit Free Press, July 21, 2019

Jack Birkinsha

January 22, 1940 – December 18, 2001

Jack Birkinsha of Byron Center was a Kansas native, earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and retired from the Great American Life Insurance Company.  As an attorney in Detroit in the late 1970s, Birkinsha served as a trustee for the monthly paper Metro Gay News and, as a member of the Committee for Gay Rights, helped push for the city’s Omnibus Human Rights Ordinance.

St. Joseph News-Press, December 25, 2001