Nona McKenna

July 7, 1940 – October 20, 2008

Nona Diane McKenna of Dexter was born in the Upper Peninsula town of Hermansville, graduated from Roosevelt High School in Ypsilanti, earned her B.A. in physical education from Eastern Michigan University, and served in the U.S. Marines from 1961 to 1966.  In 1991, she and Sally Johnson became the first same-sex couple to register as domestic partners.  They married in California in 2008.

Ann Arbor News, October 23, 2008

Valerie Connell

Valerie Connell pic

June 21, 1953 – November 20, 2008

St. Joseph native Valerie Jean Connell became a champion horse rider during her school years, taking part in multiple horse associations and winning prizes at the Michigan State Fair.  After graduating from Edwardsburg High in 1971, she joined the U.S. Army, later earned her B.S. and M.S., and went on to teach social studies in Florida.  Connell was survived by her partner Lenora Ledwon.

Miami Herald, November 23, 2008

Cynthia Ainsworth

Cynthia Ainsworth pic

October 9, 1936 – July 28, 2008

A native of Moline, Illinois, Cynthia Ainsworth earned her B.A. in economics in 1958 from Michigan State University.  A year after graduating, she moved to San Francisco, where she worked as in investments.  She later became a hospital administrator, retiring in 1984.  Ainsworth was survived by her longtime partner Carolee Houser.

San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2008

Richard Dingley

Richard Dingley pic

November 20, 1919 – April 6, 2008

Fort Wayne, Indiana native Richard Dingley served as a Warrant Officer in World War II.  He worked for many years with International Harvester in Traverse City before retiring to Cincinnati, Ohio.   Dingley enjoyed baseball, railroads, and opera.  He was a longtime subscriber to the early homophile magazine the Mattachine Review in the 1950s.

Cincinnati Enquirer, April 13, 2008

Gordon Moilanen

April 17, 1933 – January 17, 2008

Gordon Toivo “Gordie” Moilanen graduated from Hancock High School in 1951 and went on to work for Detroit and Northern Savings and Loan.  He later served as dean of financial aid at Soumi College, retiring in 1995.  In the late 1950s, Moilanen subscribed to the pioneering homophile publication ONE magazine.

Daily Mining Gazette, January 19, 2008

Memorial Chapel Funeral Home

Jim Posante

Jim Posante pic

August 8, 1948 – January 13, 2008

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, James Hendricks “Jim” Posante Jr. moved to Michigan at age 12 and attended Milford High School in Highland before moving to Ann Arbor in 1966.  He taught at Greenhills School for 32 years and for four decades was driving force in local theater in the community and at the University of Michigan.  Posante was survived by a daughter and by Charles Sutherland, his partner of 36 years.

Between The Lines, January 17, 2008

Detroit News, January 17, 2008

Yvonne Cushman

July 24, 1920 – February 12, 2008

Longtime Battle Creek resident Yvonne Phyllis Cushman graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and was that city’s first female bus driver.  Her other jobs included working as a machinist in an electronics factory, operating a grocery, and caring for residents at Fort Custer State Home and the Muskegon Regional Facility.  A Harley rider in the 1950s, Cushman also owned and showed Great Danes.

Battle Creek Enquirer, February 14, 2008

Lucile Portwood

Lucile Portwood pic

April 8, 1913 – January 22, 2008

Lucile “Porty” Portwood was a native of Fort Worth, Texas and studied microbiology at Michigan State University, where she discovered a vaccine for whooping cough.  She later oversaw vaccine production for the State of Michigan.  Long active in the Lansing lesbian community, she was also a litigant in court challenge of Michigan’s sodomy law.  Portwood was survived by her life partner Alixandra Summitt.

Lesbian Connection, May/June 2008

Cheryl Grout

January 25, 1957 – October 24, 2008

Born in Detroit, Cheryl Ann Marie Grout of Houston, Texas earned her B.S. from Central Michigan University in 1980.  She worked as an in vitro fertilization technician at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit before moving to Texas, where she worked for Baylor College of Medicine.  Grout was survived by her partner Mary Louise Sorensen.

Detroit News, October 26, 2008

Ann Flescher

Ann Fleischer pic maybe

June 13, 1958 – May 23, 2008

Ann Ellen Flescher of Lansing worked as a counselor and administrator for 16 years with the Counseling Center at Michigan State University.  She and her life partner Dawn Mead were early benefactors when MSU extended domestic partnership benefits to faculty and staff in 1997.  Flescher was a strong supporter of Allies for Change and the Leaven Center.

Lansing State Journal, May 25, 2008