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
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
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
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
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
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
August 5, 1940 – May 2, 2017
Artist, athlete, and San Diego native Dale Muir earned degrees from Graceland University and the University of Michigan. She settled in Ann Arbor, working in recreation and early education. In 2006, she retired to Oregon with her partner Vicki Gardner.
Ann Arbor News, May 7, 2017
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
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
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