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

Donald True

February 13, 1940 – March 25, 2016

Donald Edward True grew up in Harbor Beach in Michigan’s Thumb and attended Our Lady of Lake Huron Catholic High School.  Following graduation, he moved to New York City, where he operated Country City glassware in Manhattan from 1963 to 2012.  True married his life partner of more than 50 years Angelo Tufarelli in September 2015.  Tufarelli survived him by one month.

Midland Daily News, March 30, 2016

Karen Sundberg

Karen Sundberg pic

November 5, 1940 – August 13, 2018

Karen Sundberg of Taylor was born in Marquette, graduated from Ishpeming Public Schools, earned her B.A. from Northern Michigan University, and received an M.A. from Wayne State.  In the 1980s, she was active in Lesbian Sisters Building a Network and served as treasurer of the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council.  Sundberg was also active for many decades in the National Organization for Women.

Mining Journal, August 29, 2018

Mary Ellen Raleigh

Mary Ellen Raleigh pic

June 2, 1940 – January 29, 2012

A graduate of Mott Community College and the University of Michigan, Mary Ellen Raleigh taught English and business writing at UM-Flint from 1975 to 1995.  She served on the campus Task Force on Sexual Orientation, played competitive Scrabble, and authored a longtime column for East Village Magazine.

Flint Journal, January 31, 2012

Judith Ann McNeill

Judith McNeill pic

February 5, 1940 – February 1, 2016

Judith Ann McNeill graduated from Wayne State University and worked for the Detroit House of Correction before moving to Holland in 1976.  She operated the Zeeland Pet Shop in the 1980s and finished her career with Sears.  McNeill was survived by her wife Nora Ewing.

Holland Sentinel, February 3, 2016

Judy Cole

January 10, 1940 – May 12, 2015

Valedictorian of the Class of 1958 at Hudson High School, Judith “Judy” Cole attended Sienna Heights College and was later employed in shipping and receiving for an office supply firm.  She and her life partner Linda MacBeth shared a home in Adrian.

Adrian Daily Telegram, May 14, 2015