Sharon Schnipke

May 2, 1964 – December 14, 2014

Sharon Schnipke of Lowell graduated from Kenowa Hills High School in Grand Rapids and earned a degree in accounting from Davenport University in 1984.  She was a claims administrator with Foremost Insurance.  Schepke was preceded in death by her life partner Renee Grant.

Grand Rapids Press, December 21, 2014

Renee Grant

Renee Grant pic

December 16, 1958 – December 8, 2014

Lowell resident Renee Grant worked as an independent real estate agent in Grand Rapids.  She received support from Pink Arrow fundraisers in her seven-year battle with cancer.  She was active in various local causes and delivered Christmas boxes for the Santa Claus Girls.  Grant’s life partner Sharon Schnepke survived her by eight days.

Grand Rapids Press, December 14, 2014

Thomas Shaw

Thomas Shaw pic

August 28, 1945 – October 17, 2014

Marvil Thomas Shaw III was born in Battle Creek, grew up in Coldwater, and attended Alma College.  A celibate gay monk ordained into the priesthood in 1971, Shaw became Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts in 1995.  Throughout his tenure, he advocated for minority rights, for allowing women, gay men, and lesbians to be ordained, and for other causes of social justice.

Bay Windows, October 23, 2014

Robert Harper

Robert Harper pic

April 7, 1921 – June 15, 2014

As a fighter pilot in World War II, Pontiac native and Rochester Hills resident Robert Harper survived weeks in the jungles of the Philippines after his plane was shot down.  With degrees from Albion and Michigan State University, he taught in the Waterford Schools for twenty-five years.  Harper was of a generation that never told their parents they were gay.

Oakland Press, June 22, 2014

Linda Lee

Linda Lee pic 2

May 28, 1944 – March 31, 2014

West Bloomfield resident Linda Lee became active in the Michigan Jewish AIDS Coalition in the early 1990s after learning of discrimination gay men were experiencing at the height of the epidemic.  In her commitment to social justice she later founded Jewish Gay Network and was a tireless advocate for LGBTQ people in Southeast Michigan.

Between The Lines, May 1, 2014

Lucia Maria Patritto

Lucia Patritto pic

September 11, 1957 – March 18, 2014

A native of the small town of Wakefield and a graduate of Gogebic Community College, Lucia Patritto served in the 1980s as executive director of DOVE, a domestic violence service agency.  She later became Michigan State University extension director for the western counties of the Upper Peninsula.

Ironwood Daily Globe, March 22, 2014

Henry Messer

Henry Messer pic

September 22, 1927 – February 18, 2014

From 1976 to 2014, Dearborn Heights neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Messer was a tireless advocate for gay rights in Michigan, active in the Association for Suburban People and the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.  In 1991, Messer played an instrumental role in establishing the Triangle Foundation, which later became Equality Michigan.

Between The Lines, February 20, 2014