August 4, 1977 – December 3, 2021
Jamie Louise Bissell grew up and attended college in Indiana. After earning her J.D. at Valparaiso University in 2005, she moved to Michigan where she first lived in Trenton and worked in law firms. She later moved to Livonia and took a job with the Wayne County Friend of the Court. She also served as president of her union local. Bissell was survived by two children and her wife Molly Pastori-Bissell.
Owen Family Funeral Homes
March 2, 1974 – March 8, 2016
Matthew William Robison came from Erie, Pennsylvania in the early 1990s to attend the University of Michigan, where he was active in the Queer Unity Project. After earning degrees in psychology and social change from UM, he went to Stanford for his J.D. and later worked as an attorney for the ACLU in New York City. Robison returned to his native state and remained involved in LGBTQ+ activism.
Erie Times-News, April 10, 2016
November 17, 1947 – July 9, 2019
Clifford Alan “Clif” Levin graduated with the class of 1965 from Oak Park High School, earned his B.A. at Wayne State, and went on to receive his law degree there. In 1973 he began a 30-year career with the Wayne County Friend of the Court. Lemon served on the boards of the Triangle Foundation and the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus. He was also active in community theater in Grosse Pointe.
Between The Lines, July 25, 2019
January 16, 1952 – October 1, 2019
Arts supporter, benefactor, and retired attorney David Lyle Balas was born in Mt. Clemens, graduated from University Liggett High School, and attended universities in Ohio. He worked with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and served on the East Lansing City Council as an openly gay member from 1983 to 1995. Balas and his future husband Jim Sellman moved to Saugatuck in 2003 and wed in 2015.
Between The Lines, October 17, 2019
April 15, 1964 – July 23, 2018
Jenifer Anne Kohout grew up on Air Force bases throughout the U.S. and overseas. After finishing her Bachelor’s at Duke, she earned an M.S. in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the UM Law School. In the 1990s, Kohout was an occasional columnist for Between The Lines. She later enjoyed a rich career in Alaska. Kohout was survived by her spouse Karen Komopacki.
Washington Post, August 7, 2018
January 22, 1940 – December 18, 2001
Jack Birkinsha of Byron Center was a Kansas native, earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and retired from the Great American Life Insurance Company. As an attorney in Detroit in the late 1970s, Birkinsha served as a trustee for the monthly paper Metro Gay News and, as a member of the Committee for Gay Rights, helped push for the city’s Omnibus Human Rights Ordinance.
St. Joseph News-Press, December 25, 2001
May 21, 1948 – September 12, 2013
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Adrian Vincent practiced law in East Lansing and Chicago. As a longtime resident of Douglas, He was involved with the Saugatuck/Douglas Historical Society and enjoyed skiing, sailing, and cycling. Vincent was survived by his partner Thomas Staniszewski.
Lansing State Journal, September 18, 2013
December 31, 1950 – October 26, 2011
Saginaw resident Lenore Simon was born in Chicago and earned her JD from Creighton University Law School in Omaha. Nebraska. In addition to practicing law as an attorney and mediator for more than 20 years, Simon co-founded a queer theater company Center in Monterey, California in the early 1990s and later continued the troupe in Las Vegas. She and her partner Connie Hoffman were married in 2009.
Lesbian Connection, March/April 2012
January 13, 1964 – October 25, 1995
Jeffry Florian Kucharski of Dearborn earned a piano scholarship to Wayne State University. He later received a B.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the Wayne State Law School. Kucharski worked as helpline coordinator at Affirmations Community Center and enjoyed traveling with his partner of 12 years Tom Wilczak. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 31.
Between The Lines, December 1995
Between The Lines, December 1996
December 25, 1929 – February 7, 2017
Lawyer, professor, and labor activist Patricia Eames earned her BA. at Reed College, her M.A. from Columbia, and her J.D. from Yale Law School. In the 1980s, she served as general counsel for Wayne State University. While in Detroit she and her life partner Connie Hart were active with the Forum Foundation and SEMGLA, the South East Michigan Gay/Lesbian Association.
Reed Magazine, 2017