October 19, 1951 – November 2, 2020
Debra Jean McGee was a master drummer and a priest of Obatala in the Yoruba faith. After moving to Michigan from New York, she worked as a coordinator at the Flushing Senior Center, received her Bachelor’s from the University of Michigan-Flint, and earned her MSW at the UM School of Social Work, specializing in geriatrics. McGee and her partner Sandy Cleomaude married in Swartz Creek in 2017.
Swartz Funeral Home
July 3, 1923 – August 31, 2020
Mt. Pleasant resident Jean Roberts grew up on a farm in rural Iowa and attended Western Michigan University, where she played tuba in the symphony. She went on to teach physical education in Kalamazoo and at Comstock High School and later worked as a counselor in the Reed City schools. For 15 years, Roberts and her life partner Janet Bush operated J & J Leather.
Morning Sun, September 1, 2020
May 10, 1965 – March 4, 2020
A noted figure in Detroit’s electronic music scene, James Joseph Stone Jr. was born in Royal Oak and graduated from Seaholm High School in Birmingham in 1984. He attended Eastern Michigan University and came out as a young gay man on the dance floors of Todd’s and Heaven. A musician and DJ, Stone became an important distributor and promoter of house and techno throughout the metro area.
Potere-Modetz Funeral Home
The Advocate: Jim Stone, 1965-2020
January 23, 1947 – July 20, 2020
Marie Anne Hansen was born in Mt. Pleasant and earned her Bachelor’s in human ecology at Michigan State University. She later got her Masters and had a long career in student affairs in Colorado, Nebraska, and at MSU. She was a beloved part the Lansing area lesbian community and was longtime coordinator of the local women and arts festival. Hansen was survived by her wife Priscilla Feigenbaum.
Lansing State Journal, July 25, 2020
March 19, 1929 – February 17, 2020
Detroit native Susan Reeder Breuer graduated from Birmingham High School, studied at Northwestern University, was married, raised three children, and earned her Ph.D. in psychology before divorcing in the late 1970s. At her 40th high school reunion, Breuer became reacquainted Nancy Kasperzak and the two became life partners, settling In Benzie County. Kasperzak survived her by four days.
Benzie County Record, March 18, 2020
October 3, 1928 – February 21, 2020
Benzonia resident and lifelong musician Nancy Pierce Kasperzak grew up in Metro Detroit and graduated from Birmingham High School. After divorcing and with her children grown, Kasperzak joined her childhood classmate Susan Reeder Breuer to forge a life partnership. They eventually settling on Crystal Lake in Benzie County and late, for a time had a horse farm. Breuer preceded her in death by four days.
Benzie County Record, March 4, 2020
July 8, 1944 – May 15, 2020
Clinton Township resident Cheryl Margaret Lantinga was Homecoming Queen her senior year at Lamphere High School in Madison Heights, where she graduated in 1962. She later studied at Oakland University and was employed with Consumers Energy for 31 years. In her retirement, she volunteered at area hospital gift shops. Lantinga was survived by her life partner Colleen Stout.
Detroit Free Press, May 18, 2020
March 29, 1964 – June 6, 2020
Kimberly Sherie Lint of Cedar Springs was born in Lansing and graduated from Montabella High School on Blanchard in 1982, attended Montcalm Community College, and played women’s softball. Lint was later employed at Presto Print for 36 years. She and Kandy Schreiner were united in marriage in September 2019.
Grand Rapids Press, June 7, 2020
December 7, 1960 – May 12, 2020
Originally from North Carolina, Redford resident and trailblazing activist Aimee Stephens was fired from her job as a funeral director in Garden City in 2013 when she revealed she was transgender and would be living as a woman. She filed suit against her employer but did not live to witness the Supreme Court decision that her firing violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Stephens was survived by her wife Donna.
New York Times, May 12, 2020
Between The Lines, May 18, 2020 [online only]
April 3, 1958 – May 1, 2020
Maureen “Mo” Kay Doyle was born in Lowell and graduated from Lowell High School in 1976 before pursuing a Bachelor’s in education and health at Northern Michigan University. She taught and worked as a camp counselor before taking up a 30-year career as a delivery driver for UPS. Doyle and Peggy Michmershuizen were married in August 2016 and shared a home in northwest Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids Press, May 2, 2020