April 16, 1950 – April 22, 2019
Battle Creek native Sue Ann Fitzgerald, known as “Drum Mama,” was a graduate of Lakeview High School and Central Michigan University, earning her M.S. in biology. At Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, she worked as a medical technologist for 34 years. Fitzgerald sang with the Sistrum chorus, was long active with the Girl Scouts, and regularly joined in MichFest and other womyn’s music gatherings.
Lesbian Connection September/October 2019
February 21, 1942 – November 15, 2011
Grand Rapids resident Martha VanderEyk immigrated from the Netherlands at age six with her family. She graduated from Kalamazoo Christian High School in 1960, attended Calvin College, and earned her Bacherlor’s in Music from Grand Valley State University. VanderEyke was employed as a business manager and was a longtime member, with her partner Leslie Kohn, of the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus.
Grand Rapids Press, November 23, 2011
November 27, 1953 – January 13, 1993
James Ernest Moyski was born in Detroit, graduated in 1971 from Walled Lake Western High School, and earned his B.S. from Eastern Michigan University. He worked as a licensed cosmetologist, was active in theater and dance, and resided in Ferndale with his lover William Markel. Moyski also performed for 8 years with the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 39.
Cruise, January 20, 1993
June 13, 1946 – January 25, 2018
Judith Altheo Bohms of Lansing was born in Ypsilanti, grew up in Adrian, and taught elementary school in Charlotte, retiring in 2009 after 40 years in the classroom. Bohms and her partner of 27 years Lisa Haston sang with Sistrum, the Lansing Women’s Chorus and were active with the Lansing Association for Human Rights.
Lansing State Journal, January 28, 2018
November 19, 1947 – January 10, 1990
Utica resident Thomas Michael Bartley grew up in Port Huron, earned his B.S. in nursing in Houston and a Master’s in nursing from Mercy College in Detroit. He sang in the choir at Zion Lutheran Church in Ferndale and was involved in both Wellness Networks and AIDS Interfaith Network. Bartley was survived by two children and his lover Jim Proffitt. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 42.
Detroit Free Press, January 11, 1990
July 13, 1945 – September 5, 1994
Chester Cislo attended St. Casimir High School on Detroit’s West Side and worked as a sexton at St. James Catholic Church in Ferndale. Cislo represented the Detroit Together Men’s Chorus on the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council, was active with Wellness Networks and the NAMES Project, and served on the board for Friends Alliance. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 49.
Cruise, September 28, 1994
September 21, 1951 – August 9, 2016
Janet Thering played varsity basketball while a student at Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant, graduated from Aquinas College, and taught physical education in the Grand Rapids Schools for 20 years. A founder of the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus, Thering attended every Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival from 1976 to 2015. She and her wife Ruth Allerton were together 16 years.
Grand Rapids Press. August 14, 2016
Morning Sun, August 17, 2016