Mary Linton

Mary Linton pic

July 23, 1954 – June 13, 2021

Mary Catherine Linton was valedictorian of the class of 1972 at Bullock Creek High School in Midland, earned her B.S. from Michigan State, Master’s from Michigan Tech, and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky.  She devoted her life to science and poetry, specializing in wetlands, and served an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin.  Linton was survived by her wife and partner Kathy Kauffman.

Midland Daily News, July 8, 2021

In Memory of Mary Linton

Billi Gordon

Billi Gordon pic

September 2, 1954 – February 22, 2018

Wilbert Anthony “Billi” Gordon Jr. graduated from Union High School in Dowagiac, class of 1972.  He left seminary to attend the University of Michigan, where he became involved in gay activism, including as spokesperson for the Ann Arbor Black Gay Caucus.  Gordon went on to become a celebrated model, entertainer, writer, and neuroscientist.  He was survived by his spouse of 30 years Robert Schallert.

Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2018

Karen C_____

March 8, 1954 – March 27, 2013

Karen C_____ was born in Goodrich and grew up in Ortonville.  She was later heterosexually married, raised two children, and for 13 years operated her own restaurant.  At the time of her death at age 59, she resided in Spring Hill, Florida.  She was survived by her partner Tammy.

Oakland Press, March 29, 2013

Jeri Shupe

Jeri Shupe pic

September 16, 1954 – February 23. 2019

Jeri Shupe of Pontiac grew up in Taylor and graduated with the class of 1972 from Taylor High School.  She worked variously as a ballroom dance instructor, a law office manager, and a licensed cosmetologist.  Shupe was active in the Flint-area group Transgender Connect and in 2016, according to her obituary, transitioned from male to female.  Her life partner Diane Morin survived her.

Sparks-Griffin Funeral Home

Gary Davis

Gary Davis pic

October 17, 1954 – December 11, 2018

Gary Scott Davis, a resident of Palm Springs, California since 2004, attended the Grand Rapids public schools and graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana.  He had a long career with the Blackmer division of Dover manufacturers in Grand Rapids.  Davis met his future husband Eric Duran in the early 1980s and the two were together more than 35 years.

Grand Rapids Press, April 24, 2019

Kaye McDuffie

Kaye McDuffie pic

March 19, 1954 – January 29, 2014

Longtime HIV and AIDS educator and advocate Kaye Lourena McDuffie served as communicable disease coordinator and intervention prevention specialist for the Lansing Area AIDS Network.  Born in Ferndale, she graduated from Cass Tech in Detroit before attending Lansing Community College and Michigan State University.  A devoted wife and mother, McDuffie was also active in local theater.

Between The Lines, February 6, 2014

LAHR newsletter, March 2014

Riley Funeral Home

Jim Beates

Jim Beates pic

December 9, 1954 – June 13, 1999

Raised in a military family, Rev. James Joseph Beates earned his theology degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  He moved to Michigan from West Falls, New York and lived in Detroit and Garden City.  Beates was the first openly gay pastor to serve in the Presbytery of Detroit and was active in Friends Alliance.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 44.

Detroit Free Press, June 16, 1999

Cruise, June 23, 1999

Between The Lines, June 24, 1999

Rexford Palmer

Rexford Palmer pic

July 1, 1954 – August 28, 1996

Born in Middleville in Barry County, Rexford Palmer moved to Detroit as a young adult to work in retail.  He continued his retail career after relocating in the mid-1980s to San Francisco, where he became active in the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Bay Area Reporter, September 19, 1996

Rick Rapaport

Rick Rapaport pic

February 25, 1954 – May 4, 1985

Rick Rapaport worked as a janitor, gas station attendant, cab driver, waiter, cook, bus driver, and for two years as wrestling coach at the Michigan School for the Blind.  After dropping out of the University of Michigan in 1974, he visited 45 states and crossed the U.S. fifteen times, returning to school to finish his B.A. at Michigan State University in 1982 with a degree in journalism.  He died of complications from AIDS at age 31.

Lansing State Journal, May 6, 1985

State News, May 7, 1985

LAHR newsletter, June 1985

Janice Zygmontowicz

Janice Zygmontowicz pic

January 18, 1954 – December 3, 2013

Born in Detroit, Janice Zygmontowicz moved to Mt. Pleasant in the 1970s to attend Central Michigan University, where she earned four varsity letters, and played for the championship field hockey team.  She worked as an electrician at CMU and later earned a Master’s degree in counseling and became an outpatient therapist.

Morning Sun, December 4, 2013