June 23, 1945 – April 11, 2012
Longtime Wyandotte resident Susan Ann Christner graduated from Central High School in Flint in 1963 and earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1976. She went on to get her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UM in Ann Arbor in 1998 and went into private practice. She was survived by two sons and her partner Linda Sprankle.
Flint Journal, April 15, 2012
February 18, 1963 – April 22, 2012
Flint native Denise Lynn Welsh grew up in Burton and worked as a teacher consultant for student with autism spectrum disorders in the Genesee Intermediate School District for more than two decades. She was survived by her sons and her life partner Betsy Curtis.
September 23, 1948 – August 7, 2012
Kalamazoo nutritionist Diana Zhenhua Artz-Iffland earned her B.S. from Western Michigan University and her M.S. from Michigan State University. She was a longtime member of the People’s Church and, with her life partner River Artz-Iffland, was active in the pioneering local lesbian organization Lavender Morning. For 18 years the couple operated Pandora’s Books for Open Minds.
October 11, 1925 – Jun 19, 2012
Jerry Mae Palmer served as a role model for masculine-identified lesbians in Detroit’s African American LGBTQ community. Born in Alabama, she later moved to Michigan where she worked on the line as an assembler for one the automobile manufacturers. Before her death at age 86, Palmer and her friends provided vital safe spaces for people to proudly be themselves through a variety of social events.
Stinson Funeral Home
February 3, 1948 – October 12, 2012
Lincoln Park resident Joyce Woody worked as an insurance agent for New York Life before graduating from Irene’s Myomassology Institute in 1983 and becoming a massage therapist. In 1993, she earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Woody was involved in Lesbian Sisters Building a Network, the Motor City Business Forum, and the Forum Foundation.
Detroit News, October 21, 2012
April 14, 1958 – October 24, 2012
Sally Ann Hopkins was born in Jackson and graduated in the class of 1976 from Jackson High School. She later earned her Associates Degree from Columbia College in Missouri and served 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Following her service, Hopkins worked at Home Depot and resided in Atlanta, Indiana with her partner Kathryn “Kathi” Lee Miller.
Jackson Citizen-Patriot, October 28, 2012
May 4, 1932 – October 19, 2012
In 1953 and 1954 Barbara Jean “Barb” Sowers played outfrield with Muskegon Belles and the Grand Rapids Chicks in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Born in Detroit, she grew up in Livonia and retired as a high school counselor with the Livonia schools, where she headed the teachers’ union in the mid-1970s. Sowers was preceded in death by Shirley Weaver, her companion of 45 years.
Roberson Funeral Home and Crematory
November 28, 1931 – April 16, 2012
Dolores Jan Harris was active with the Genesee County chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Born in Lansing, she married in 1950, worked as a paraprofessional with Brandon Schools, served as a Girl Scout leader, and sang in the choir of Ortonville United Methodist Church.
Oakland Press, April 18, 2012
December 28, 1958 – January 3, 2012
Born in Pontiac, Mark George Bidwell earned his bachelor’s at Lawrence Technological University. He also attended SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary and earned a master’s in pastoral ministry at the Samaritan Institute of Sunshine Cathedral. In 1989, Bidwell joined the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, rose to the position of deacon, and later served as senior pastor until his resignation in 2011.
Between The Lines, January 20, 2012
August 7, 1952 – January 12, 2012
Detroiter Leon Smith attended Murray-Smith High School and became active in the local LGBT community in the 1980s. He helped launch the Men of Color Motivational Group, was one of the original organizers of the Hotter Than July pride celebration, and took part in a support group for HIV+ men sponsored by what was then known as Kick!.
Between The Lines, January 26, 2012