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

Joanne Rettke

Joanne Rettke pic

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

Leslie Leoneli

Leslie Leonelli pic

December 21, 1947 – September 24, 2009

Raised in Highland Park, Leslie Leonelli attended Oakland University and worked in local theater in Rochester and beyond Michigan before moving to New York City in 1973.  Following a career off-Broadway, she worked as a massage therapist and helped found the women’s production company Ars Pro Femina.  Later in life she operated Pearl’s Rainbow, a renowned resort for women.

Lesbian Connection, January/February 2010

Susan Rae Crispin

Susan Rae Crispin pic

June 19, 1956 – November 15, 2009

Susan Rae Crispin of Clancy, Montana was born in the village of Sparta and earned degrees in biology from Michigan State University.  She spent her career with the Nature Conservancy, moving from botanist to director of its Great Lakes Program, dedicated to conserving biodiversity.  Crispin was survived by her Randi Levin.

Lesbian Connection, March/April 2010

Carter Conway

Carter Conway pic

May 27, 1963 – September 18, 2009

A 1981 graduate of Flint Southwestern High School, Carter Conway worked for the Hamady Brothers Grocery and the City of Flint.  A familiar patron at the State Bar and Copa Nightclub, he was a pianist, choir leader, and a member of Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church in Waterford.

Flint Journal, October 1, 2009

Denor Hey

Denor Hey pic

July 9, 1950 – January 11, 2009

A 1968 graduate of Lansing’s Sexton High School, Denor Hey earned her Bachelor’s from Central Michigan University and was employed with Disability Determination Services for the State of Michigan for 24 years.  She and her life partner Beverly Bristol enjoyed travel, gardening, and their prize-winning Silky Terriers.

Lansing State Journal, January 13, 2009

Joann Downing

Joann Downing pic

November 7, 1955 – January 7, 2009

A community producer with the Flint radio program “Face the Music” and organizer of the LGBT arts celebration Out ‘N About, Joann Downing attended Grand Blanc High School and graduated from Michigan State University.  Her long career with non-profits included 22 years with the Girl Scouts.

Flint Journal, January 12, 2009

Lesbian Connection, May/June 2009