Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson pic

July 13, 1951 – January 23, 2015

Activist, artist, and entrepreneur owner Christine Johnson was born in Cincinnati and moved to Chicago, where she co-founded the Metis Press Collective, a lesbian feminist publisher.  She met her life partner of 34 years Nancy Poore in 1981 and the two later moved to west Michigan.  The couple rented vacation cottages and operated a kayak rental business.

Grand Rapids Press, January 27, 2015

Lesbian Connection, May/June 2015

Nancy Poore & Chris Johnson video interview at Chicago Gay History

Douglas Pizzala

Doug Pizzala pic

October 26, 1951 – October 26, 2009

A longtime HIV survivor, Douglas Pizzala was born and raised in Pontiac.  He earned a B.A. in education from Central Michigan University and later worked for the AIDS Consortium of Southeast Michigan and AIDS Partnership Michigan.  Pizzala and his life partner of 28 years Ken Pape shared a home in Pleasant Ridge.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 58.

Between The Lines, October 29, 2009

Sullivan & Son Funeral Directors

Janet Thering

Janet Thering pic

September 21, 1951 – August 9, 2016

Janet Thering played varsity basketball while a student at Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant, graduated from Aquinas College, and taught physical education in the Grand Rapids Schools for 20 years.  A founder of the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus, Thering attended every Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival from 1976 to 2015.  She and her wife Ruth Allerton were together 16 years.

Grand Rapids Press. August 14, 2016

Morning Sun, August 17, 2016

Jan Pierce

Jan Pierce pic

November 29, 1951 – January 2, 2006

Northville resident Jan Pierce was born in Dearborn and served 25 years with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, retiring as a detective sergeant.  She and her partner Marcia Patrick were strong supporters of the Triangle Foundation and attended golf outings sponsored by Affirmations.  They lost their lives in a New Year’s Eve automobile accident.

Between The Lines, January 12, 2006

Joe Elias

Joe Elias pic

May 31, 1951 –  September 4, 1996

Detroit native Joe Elias graduated from Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods in 1969 and received his B.A. in sociology from the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1973.  He worked in personnel at Chrysler and later relocated to Chicago and San Francisco.

Cruise, September 18, 1996

White Eagle

September 6, 1951 – July 7, 1995

A Sioux raised in South Dakota and formerly known as Mervyn Moore, White Eagle was a member of the Church of Today in Warren.  In the mid-1980s, he was profiled for People magazine after drawing national attention for his tenor voice.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 43.

Cruise, July 26, 1995