February 27, 1967 – June 9, 2011
After graduating from Springport High School in 1986, Springfield resident Heidie Ann Speer went on to serve in the U.S. Army. From elementary and high school into adulthood, she played on several softball teams, helping to take one to the league championship. In later years, Speer was employed as a cook at Centennial House restaurant. She was survived by two sons and Angie Graham, her former life partner.
Jackson Citizen Patriot, June 13, 2011
November 4, 1933 – November 10, 2011
Born in Ohio, pioneering publisher Barbara Glycine Grier spent much of her childhood in Detroit and attended ninth grade at Highland Park Community High School. She came to understand herself as lesbian as a teenager after requesting books on homosexuality at the Detroit Public Library. Grier went on to edit the magazine The Ladder and to co-found the Naiad Press with her partner Donna McBride.
New York Times, November 13, 2011
Lesbian Herstory Archives oral history of Barbara Grier
Barbara Grier-Naiad Press Collection at the San Francisco Public Library
October 8, 1922 – December 17, 2011
Gwendolyn Mae Bagley was born in the Upper Peninsula town of Wilson and graduated from Powers-Spalding High School. She earned her B.S. in physical education at Northern Michigan Teachers College, later NMU, and taught in Marquette for two years before moving to Midland to teach. Bagley retired in 1986. She was survvived by Carolyn Fretz, her life partner of more than 50 years.
Midland Daily News, December 20, 2011
February 16, 1953 – February 14, 2011
Originally from Florida, Steve Nader got his start as a gay dance club DJ in Atlanta, Georgia. After moving to Michigan in the 1970s, he helped found the Disco Pool Detroit record pool and went on to spin discs at such bars as Five West, the Gas Station, Menjo’s, the Detroit Eagle, and Off Broadway East. He lost his life to prostate cancer at age 58.
Between The Lines [online only], May 7, 2015
July 7, 1940 – August 11, 2011
Born in Newport, Rhode Island, Marina Doukales moved with her mother to Ann Arbor in the 1960s. She later worked as a phlebotomist with the University of Michigan Hospital for 20 years. Doukales and her partner of 32 years Nora Forde resided in Whitmore Lake before retiring to Desert Hot Springs, California.
Desert Sun, August 20, 2011
February 21, 1942 – November 15, 2011
Grand Rapids resident Martha VanderEyk immigrated from the Netherlands at age six with her family. She graduated from Kalamazoo Christian High School in 1960, attended Calvin College, and earned her Bacherlor’s in Music from Grand Valley State University. VanderEyke was employed as a business manager and was a longtime member, with her partner Leslie Kohn, of the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus.
Grand Rapids Press, November 23, 2011
January 24, 1959 – July 16, 2011
Thaddeus Allen Rusztowicz of East Lansing and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida was born in Detroit and earned his Bachelor’s in marketing in 1982 from Michigan State University. He enjoyed a long career in design, retiring as president of the auto supplier LPC Manufacturing to a new career in real estate. Rusztowicz was survived by Mark Clouse, his life partner of 21 years.
Lansing State Journal, July 19, 2011
September 19, 1967 – July 23, 2011
David Blair, better known as Blair, was born in Newton, New Jersey and moved to Detroit in the 1990s. He achieved national recognition as an openly queer socialist poet, artist, singer-song writer, and activist. Blair also taught poetry to Detroit Public School students and at the Ruth Ellis Center. Among his many achievements were a National Poetry Slam title and the BENT Writing Institute Mentor Award.
Between The Lines, July 28, 2011
Metro Times, August 3, 2011
December 23, 1946 – March 14, 2011
Judith Slotkin of Bloomfield Hills and formerly of Detroit was marketing manager for Show Tech Presentation Systems and later ran her own consulting firm. A volunteer fundraiser for WTVS-TV, the Music Hall, and Michigan Opera Theater, she was also actively involved in the Jewish Gay Network of Michigan. Slotkin was survived by her life partner of Anne Adelson.
Between The Lines [online only], March 24, 2011
September 22, 1946 – June 27, 2011
A dedicated and influential figure in Kalamazoo’s LGBTQ community, Jim Knox was co-founder in 1985 of Community AIDS Resource and Education Services and co-founder in 1987 of the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center, later renamed OutFront Kalamazoo. Knox was also a longtime employee of the Barn Theatre in Augusta.
Between The Lines, July 7, 2011
Kalamazoo Gazette, July 8, 2011