April 6, 1949 – September 28, 2021
Lansing resident Ilona Rae Sabo-Shuler was born in Grand Rapids, graduated from South High School, attended Calvin College, and later studied at Garrett Theological Seminary in Illinois. After serving as pastor of Williamston United Methodist Church from 1982 to 1994, she became a real estate agent in East Lansing. Sabo-Schuler was preceded in death in 2020 by her partner of 42 years Jean Fillingham.
Palmer, Bush, & Jensen Family Funeral Home
October 20, 1937 – February 26, 2003
The Rev. Dr. Barbara Edith Edgecombe, a Chicago native, graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and studied piano at the University of Michigan. While working as a piano teacher back in Chicago, she decided to train for the ministry. Edgecombe came out after graduating theological seminary and in the late 1990s served as the openly lesbian pastor of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Greater Lansing.
Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2003
December 15, 1952 – December 19, 2000
Brenda Joyce Blizzard was born in Columbia, South Carolina. She moved to Michigan in her 20s, worked for the Southland Corporation, and was a longtime member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, where she served as a deacon. In 1992, Blizzard moved to Washington State and became assistant pastor of MCC Seattle. She was survived by her partner Loran Timmons.
Tacoma News Tribune, December 21, 2000
October 12, 1961 – March 8, 1995
Native Detroiter Gary Patterson graduated from Cass Tech High School in 1979 and earned his B.A. in psychology from Kalamazoo College in 1984. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon, Africa, Patterson worked as a counselor and educator for AIDS Care Connection and pursued a degree from Unity Union Ministerial School of Detroit. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 33.
Between The Lines, April 1995
February 15, 1939 – April 5. 1995
Grand Rapids native and Alpine Township resident Daniel Kenneth Brauer graduated from Ottawa Hillls High School in 1957 and served in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1963. Brauer was pastor of the Muskegon Metropolitan Community Church from 1991 until his death from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty water heater in his home. He also served a vice chair of Muskegon Area AIDS Resource Services.
Muskegon Chronicle, April 7, 1995
Third Coast Magazine, May 1995
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
December 8, 1940 – December 3, 1986
Originally from Minneapolis-St. Paul, David Sindt earned degrees in horticulture and divinity before earning his Masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan in 1971. During his studies at UM, he examined the recently formed Detroit Gay Liberation Front. After moving to Chicago, Sindt founded Presbyterians for Gay/Lesbian Concerns. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 46.
David Sindt Profile at LGBTQ Religious Archives Network
David Sindt Papers at the Presbyterian Historical Society
July 20, 1930 – January 21, 2009
Marjorie Ann Lyda earned her MSW from Wayne State and in 1967 became the first African-American woman to open a psychotherapy practice in Birmingham. She was one of the earliest therapists in Metro Detroit to provide positive counseling to gay clients and offered pioneering treatment for people now termed transgender. Lyda also served as pastor for churches in Ferndale and Detroit.
Detroit News, January 28, 2009
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
March 28, 1964 – April 3, 2019
Canton resident Rodger Lynn Williams was born in Detroit, graduated from Clarenceville High School in Livonia, and later studied at William Tyndale College in Farmington Hills. Rev. Williams received his religious training at Concordia Seminary in Missouri and for 13 years served as pastor of Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor.
Observer & Eccentric Newspapers, April 11, 2019