February 2, 1957 – October 27, 2017
Karen Lynn Biehl graduated from Iron Mountain High School in 1975 and earned degrees in graphic design from Ferris State University and Northern Michigan University. She was a champion body builder and her titles included Miss U.P. 1985. She later worked for the Bureau of Printing, the Government Printing Office, and the Department of Homeland Security. Biehl was survived by her wife Lori Harvot.
Iron Mountain Daily News, November 3, 2017
May 25, 1939 – September 17, 2017
Born in Mason, Karen Anne Knudstrup graduated from Mason High School, earned her Bacherlor’s in social science in 1961 at Michigan State University, and went on to teach physical education in Catholic and public high schools in Chicago. She was a delegate in the teacher’s union and also served in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Knudstrup was survived by Diana Haskell, her partner of 52 years.
Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2017
March 14, 1939 – January 5, 2017
The supportive mother of her gay son, Dorothy Lee Lawrence was born in Albion and spent much of her life in Battle Creek. She worked as a secretary and transcriptionist before enjoying a 24-year career with the Kellogg Company, all while raising a family. After retiring to Florida, she became active with the local chapter of Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays.
Battle Creek Enquirer, May 9, 2017
September 19, 1940 – March 16, 2017
Noted Los Angeles psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker Sharon Louise Tobin was a longtime board member of Christopher Street West and active in Southern California Women for Understanding. In later life, Tobin and her wife and partner of 34 years Shannon Steck resided in Clay Township in St. Clair County.
Port Huron Times-Herald, March 19, 2017
February 19, 1938 – April 4, 2017
Detroit native Marjorie Kate Chamberlain earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in speech pathology from Wayne State University and helped treat stroke patients at Sinai Hospital. She later taught at Eastern Michigan University, where she also directed the Speech and Hearing Clinic. Chamberlain and her life partner Charlotte Wixom retired to Gladwin before relocating to Fort Meyers, Florida.
Ann Arbor News, June 30, 2017
August 17, 1963 – October 1, 2017
Glen Arbor resident Bryan John Borchardt earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. He was employed in banking with JP Morgan Chase in Traverse City. He also raised and showed champion Shetland sheepdogs and operated Solstice Shelties. Borchardt and his husband Brandt Waldenmyer were together 27 years.
Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home
Wausau Daily Herald, October 13, 2017
October 3, 1970 – November 27, 2017
Jacqueline Maurier of Livonia earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan and an Associate degree from Henry Ford Community College. She worked as a surgical technologist at Garden City Hospital and taught as a surgical instructor. The mother of two, Maurier was survived by her significant other Cristi Dikeou.
Detroit Free Press, November 30, 2017
Griffin Funeral Home
December 19, 1952 – April 27, 2017
Detroit native Peter Cooper, Cody High School class of 1971, worked for National City Bank for 20 years and for a decade was employed with AIDS Partnership Michigan. While in college in the early 1970s, he became involved in the Wayne State Gay Liberation Front. He was subsequently active in MCC Detroit, ASP, Simcha, and Affirmations. Cooper was survived by his partner of 12 years Jonathan Quirk.
Between The Lines, May 4, 2017
July 27, 1932 – July 18, 2017
Nancy Ledins was born in Cleveland, Ohio as William Griglak, was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1959, and served as an assistant rector at St. Anthony parish in Detroit in the early 1960s. After leaving the priesthood to marry a nun, William transitioned to Nancy in 1979 and was obliged to divorce. In her last years, Rev. Ledins resumed ministering with a congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Charlotte Observer, July 22, 2017
Nancy S. Ledins profile at LGBT Religious Archives Network
July 25, 1967 – May 30, 2017
Timothy Richard Liupakka graduated in 1986 from Marquette Senior High School and attended Northern Michigan University before moving to Milwaukee to pursue a degree in interior design. Liupakka performed under the drag name Tabitha Stephens in Wisconsin and later in annual shows at NMU. In 2015, he moved to Florida where he worked in hotel housekeeping and married Peter Williamson.
Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral Home