Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson pic

July 13, 1951 – January 23, 2015

Activist, artist, and entrepreneur owner Christine Johnson was born in Cincinnati and moved to Chicago, where she co-founded the Metis Press Collective, a lesbian feminist publisher.  She met her life partner of 34 years Nancy Poore in 1981 and the two later moved to west Michigan.  The couple rented vacation cottages and operated a kayak rental business.

Grand Rapids Press, January 27, 2015

Lesbian Connection, May/June 2015

Nancy Poore & Chris Johnson video interview at Chicago Gay History

Dianna Bortz

September 26, 1941 – December 10, 2010

Allegan resident Dianna “Jo” Bortz and her husband Jay were active in the Holland/Lakeshore chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.  She was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Saugatuck.  Prior to retirement, Bortz worked in senior care and protective services.

Kalamazoo Gazette, December 16, 2010

June Peppas

June Peppas pic

June 6, 1929 – March 14, 2016

From 1948 to 1954, June Ann Peppas played first base and as a pitcher with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including the Battle Creek Belles and the Kalamazoo Lassies teams.  She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and later operated PJ’s Printing in Allegan with her life partner of 46 years, Polly Huitt.

TC Palm, March 20, 2016

Polly Huitt

September 3, 1931 – December 26, 2007

A native of Allegan, Marietta “Polly” Huitt earned her B.S. and M.A. from Western Michigan University and taught at Nazareth College and in the Kalamazoo Public Schools.  She and her life partner June Peppas later operated the JP Printing Company in Allegan before retiring to Florida in 1990.

TC Palm, December 30, 2007

Henry Van Dyke

henry-van-dyke-pic

October 3, 1928 – December 22, 2011

Born in Allegan, Henry Lewis Van Dyke Jr. served in the U.S. Army and earned a B.A. and M.A. at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he developed lifelong gay friendships.  He later authored several novels and taught as a writer-in-residence at Kent State.

Akron Beacon Journal, January 8, 2012

Henry Van Dyke papers in the Labadie Collection