May 15, 1944 – December 6, 2020
Pontiac native Barbara Jean Ziegler of Waterford attended Michigan State and Wayne State University and earned her Master’s at Oakland University. She taught every grade from K through 8th in the Pontiac schools and later became an elementary and junior high principal. After a heterosexual marriage and raising her family, Ziegler united with her life partner Jo Nebeker, who survived her.
Oakland Press, December 9, 2020
April 5, 1944 – December 10, 1985
Born in Elmhurst, Illinois, James Martin earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Illinois before earning his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1969. After a year clerking for a federal appeals judge, Martin joined the UM Law School and had a distinguished 15-year career there while living a discreet gay life in Ann Arbor. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.
Ann Arbor News, December 22, 1985
July 27, 1944 – June 21, 2020
Dearborn Heights resident Joy Estelle Geng graduated from Plymouth High School, earned her MBA at Wayne State, and worked for Ford Motors from 1967 to 1997. Geng was an early board member of the Triangle Foundation, initially using Jay Grange to protect her job, and remained active with the organization after it became Equality Michigan. She was survived by her partner Maria Winiarski.
Between The Lines, July 9, 2020
March 30, 1944 – December 4, 2018
Randall Steven “Randy” Pope grew up in Battle Creek and earned his B.S. from the University of Michigan. He worked for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta before returning to Michigan. During his 40-year career in public health, Pope was at the forefront of steering state governmental response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Pope was preceded in death by his wife and survived by two sons and two stepsons.
Lansing State Journal, December 11, 2018
February 2, 1944 – April 3, 1995
David John Zechel of Farmington Hills was born in Detroit and graduated from Edwin Denby High School in 1962. He went on to work as a noted local interior decorator. In the early 1970s, along with his then partner, Rev. Robert Cullinan, Zechel was an early member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 51.
Detroit Free Press, April 5, 1995
July 8, 1944 – May 15, 2020
Clinton Township resident Cheryl Margaret Lantinga was Homecoming Queen her senior year at Lamphere High School in Madison Heights, where she graduated in 1962. She later studied at Oakland University and was employed with Consumers Energy for 31 years. In her retirement, she volunteered at area hospital gift shops. Lantinga was survived by her life partner Colleen Stout.
Detroit Free Press, May 18, 2020
March 5, 1944 – December 23, 2018
Grand Rapids native Tess Wiseheart graduated from Ottawa High School and earned her Bachelor’s at Olivet College. She began her teaching career in Milford and later taught in Grand Rapids, where she was a founding member of Aradia. For 20 years she served as coordinator for the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. After moving to Oregon in 1988, Wiseheart directed the Portland Women’s Crisis Line.
OLOC E-News, January 2019
May 29, 1944 – April 6, 2005
Martha Charles of Lathrup Village was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana and as a toddle moved to Detroit, where she graduated with the class of 1962 from Cass Tech High School. After earning her B.A. from Western Michigan University, she taught middle and high school in St. Clair Shores. Charles was active in Women Together and co-founded the group Lesbian-A-Sisters. Her partner Sue Brooks survived her.
Between The Lines, May 12, 2005
October 24, 1944 – August 24, 1993
Detroit resident and Highland Park native Edward Walker grew up in Dearborn Township. He joined the U.S. Army following high school and was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds he received while serving in Vietnam. During the 1970s, he worked as an assembler at Ford Motor Company. From 1980 until his death, Walker operated the Hayloft Saloon with his lover Len Lippert.
Cruise, September 22, 1993
February 15, 1944 – November 3, 2014
A native of Ecuador with a Bachelor’s from Columbia University and a Master’s from American University, Ernest “Tito” Gutierrez Jr. enjoyed a 20-year career at the Kresge Foundation in Troy. While a resident of Royal Oak, Gutierrez served on the board for Affirmations and played a significant role in capital fundraising for construction of the community center’s own building in downtown Ferndale.
Between The Lines, November 13, 2014