Gaye Leeny

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March 23, 1952 – March 5, 2009

Pleasant Ridge resident Gaye Ann Leeny grew up in Detroit.  She was employed as a designer of prototypes in the automotive industry and also operated Rainbow Graphics in Hazel Park.  In 1986, she joined with five others to establish Windover Resort, an all-women’s campground near the Thumb village of Owendale.  Leeny was survived by her loving partner Janie Plunkett Henderson.

Legacy.com

Marjorie Lyda

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July 20, 1930 – January 21, 2009

Marjorie Ann Lyda earned her MSW from Wayne State and in 1967 became the first African-American woman to open a psychotherapy practice in Birmingham.  She was one of the earliest therapists in Metro Detroit to provide positive counseling to gay clients and offered pioneering treatment for people now termed transgender.  Lyda also served as pastor for churches in Ferndale and Detroit.

Detroit News, January 28, 2009

Portia Fagan

February 4, 1938 – February 27, 2009

Portia June Fagan was born in Kalamazoo, attended Richland High School, graduated from Western Michigan University, and had a long career as a tax preparer and real estate broker.  In 1994, she came out as lesbian in the Kalamazoo Gazette to “break down stereotypes.”  Fagan and her life partner Janice O’Dell retired to Arizona in the early 2000s.

Kalamazoo Gazette, March 11, 2009

Daniel Chambers

Daniel Chambers pic

September 5, 1951 – August 3, 2009

Muskegon resident Daniel Chambers spent summers on Mackinac Island while growing up in Dearborn and earned his degree in fine arts from Wayne State University.  As owner of his own design business, he created interiors for residential and commercial clients on Mackinac Island and in west Michigan.  Chambers and his life partner Terry MacAllister were together 28 years.

Mackinac Island Town Crier, September 5, 2009

Clock Funeral Home

Randy Seager

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September 2, 1955 – October 22, 2009

Randall Lee Seager, familiar to fans as Bucky, was longtime DJ in the 1980s and early 19980s at the Copa nightclub in Flint.  He grew up in Burton Township and Mundy Township and graduated in 1973 from Grand Blanc High School, where he sang in the Mixed Chorus and the Acapella Choir.  Later in life Seager worked as a cashier at Kroger.

Sharp Funeral Home

Gerald Hillert

November 5, 1928 – January 3, 2009

Born in Saginaw, Gerald Laverne Hillert was a draftsman for Consumers Power in Saginaw in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and later worked as an interior designer for Sears-Roebuck in Detroit.  Hillert was also an early subscriber to ONE magazine.  He and his companion of 56 years Robert Costa retired to Vero Beach, Florida.

TC Palm, January 8, 2009

Jonel Hoogterp

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May 13. 1983 – July 31, 2009

A native of Engadine in Mackinac County, Jonel Kathryn Hoogterp was valedictorian of her high school class and part of the All-UP Girls Basketball Team in 2001.  She earned her Bachelor’s at Aquinas College and later moved to Durham, North Carolina.  Hoogterp and her partner Julie Hatch were killed in an automobile crash.

Beaulieu Funeral Home

Judith Cantor

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January 26, 1949 – June 16, 2009

A native of Tennessee, Judith Cantor earned degrees in business and accounting.  She and her life partner of 30 years Kathe Rauche resided in the Research Triangle of North Carolina, where they were active in the local LGBTQ community.  As a teenager, Cantor attended Interlochen Center for the Arts High School in northern lower Michigan.

QNotes, June 27, 2009

The Reporter, September 2009

Douglas Pizzala

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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

Joanne Rettke

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March 11, 1934 – December 14, 2009

Joanne Rettke earned her doctorate at Michigan State University, where she served as director of the Women’s Resource Center.  She helped found First Friday gatherings in the Lansing area in the mid-1970s and in 1977 played a key role in inaugurating Everywomen’s Weekend.  Rettke retired to Glen Arbor, where she ran the Duneswood retreat with Marge Ives, her partner of 34 years.

Glen Arbor Sun, January 10, 2010

Lesbian Connection, March/April 2010