October 17, 1951 – July 23, 2012
Hailing from Oklahoma, Christopher Towne Leland earned degrees at Pomona College and UC San Diego before moving from California to Detroit’s Indian Village. He taught at Wayne State University as a professor of English from 1990 until his death and authored ten books, including five novels. He was survived by his partner of 33 years Osvaldo Sabino.
Detroit News, July 29, 2012
A.L. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors
April 5, 1934 – September 25, 2012
Mancelona resident Therese Marie Bluhm attended Detroit parochial schools, received her Bachelor’s at Marygrove College, and earned her Masters at the University of Detroit. After teaching public school she moved to Massachusetts in the early 1960s and had a 33-year career with the Silver Burdett Ginn textbook company. Bluhm was preceded in death by her beloved partner Elizabeth Houston.
Boston Globe, September 26, 2012
Bedford Funeral Home
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