January 17, 1947 – December 16, 2020
Lathrup Village resident Susan Catherine Brooks moved to Michigan from Pennsylvania in the 1970s. She earned her M.A. from Central Michigan, and worked for various Girl Scouts councils, the YWCA in Flint, and the YMCA in Detroit. Brooks was also involved in the early lesbian organization Moonrise and with Paws with a Cause. Her partners Martha Charles and Kathryn Wright preceded her in death.
No known obituary
November 15, 1953 – October 24, 1991
Dale Allen Cramton grew up in Jackson and graduated from Parkside High School. As a first-year college student, he was founder of the Gay Liberation Front at Central Michigan University in September 1971. Cramton later moved to Los Angeles where he made a life for himself as an artist. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 37.
Jackson Citizen-Patriot, October 26, 1991
January 13, 1951 – July 17, 2019
Owosso native and world traveler Micheal Eugene Koutz graduated with the Hastings High School class of 1969 and went on to Central Michigan University. Following two decades with Adventure Travel in Kalamazoo, Koutz and Michael LoPresto established Experts Travel in 1994. The two were also husbands and life partners, together for 39 years.
Kalamazoo Gazette, July 21, 2019
November 17, 1932 – October 15, 2018
Born in Jackson, Carolyn Joan Fretz graduated with the 1950 high school class from Midland High School, attended Michigan State University and the earned her Bachelor’s in phys ed from Central Michigan University. Following a long career as an elementary teacher with the Midland Public Schools, she operated her own pet care service. Fretz was preceded in death by life partner Gwendolyn Bagley.
Midland Daily News, October 18, 2018
December 20, 1922 – August 6, 2019
Lake Ann resident and Clare native Betty Jane Finout worked on the assembly line in Flint during World War II and earned her B.S. from Central Michigan University. She went on to coach and teach physical education at schools in Fenton, Holly, Lake Fenton, and Owosso. Finout enjoyed an active retirement into her 90s and was survived by two children and by longtime partner Samantha Niergarth.
Lesbian Connection, January/February 2020
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
October 9, 1990 – September 3, 2018
Born in Detroit, Melissa Silvia Zicarelli of Lansing earned her B.S. in Spanish and linguistics and her M.A. in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Central Michigan University. She later worked as director of preschool enrichment at Okemos Public Montessori. In November 2017, Zicarelli was united in marriage with Katherine VanArdsall.
Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes
October 2, 1950 – October 15, 2017
A native of Traverse City and graduate of the Traverse City Schools, Bonnie Jean Purvis attended Central Michigan University and worked for more than three decades as a lab technician at Traverse City Osteopathic Hospital, later Munson Medical Center, retiring in 2013. An avid golfer, biker, and kayaker, Purvis was survived by Tammy Krentz, her spouse and loving partner of 36 years.
Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home
January 25, 1957 – October 24, 2008
Born in Detroit, Cheryl Ann Marie Grout of Houston, Texas earned her B.S. from Central Michigan University in 1980. She worked as an in vitro fertilization technician at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit before moving to Texas, where she worked for Baylor College of Medicine. Grout was survived by her partner Mary Louise Sorensen.
Detroit News, October 26, 2008
May 30, 1952 – November 6, 1999
Virgil Julius “Tony” Leone was born in Detroit and graduated with the class of 1970 from Mt. Pleasant High School. At Central Michigan University, he was an early member of Gay Liberation, serving as its president in the mid-1970s. Leone later moved to San Francisco where he worked as a Registered Nurse and became involved in local HIV/AIDS activism. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.
Bay Area Reporter, November 18, 1999