Jim Martin

James Martin pic

April 5, 1944 – December 10, 1985

Born in Elmhurst, Illinois, James Martin earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Illinois before earning his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1969.  After a year clerking for a federal appeals judge, Martin joined the UM Law School and had a distinguished 15-year career there while living a discreet gay life in Ann Arbor.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.

Ann Arbor News, December 22, 1985

Linda Ann Reuther

Linda Reuther pic

August 24, 1942 – September 30, 2013

Linda Ann Reuther, the daughter of UAW founder Walter P. Reuther, grew up in Detroit and Rochester and earned her Bachelor’s in education from the University of Michigan in 1965.  She taught head start for several years, operated a quilt store in Marin County, California, and later created a meditation retreat center to the north in Albion.  Reuther was survived by her life companion Michele Tellier.

Fort Bragg Advocate-News, October 10, 2013

Carolyn Fretz

Carolyn Fretz pic

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

Gwendolyn Bagley

Gwendolyn Bagley pic

October 8, 1922 – December 17, 2011

Gwendolyn Mae Bagley was born in the Upper Peninsula town of Wilson and graduated from Powers-Spalding High School.  She earned her B.S. in physical education at Northern Michigan Teachers College, later NMU, and taught in Marquette for two years before moving to Midland to teach.  Bagley retired in 1986.  She was survvived by Carolyn Fretz, her life partner of more than 50 years.

Midland Daily News, December 20, 2011

Gary Patterson

Gary Patterson pic

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

Christopher Leland

Christopher LeLand pic 2

October 17, 1951 – July 23, 2012

Hailing from Oklahoma, Christopher Towne Leland earned degrees at Pomona College and UC San Diego before moving from California to Detroit’s Indian Village.  He taught at Wayne State University as a professor of English from 1990 until his death and authored ten books, including five novels.  He was survived by his partner of 33 years Osvaldo Sabino.

Detroit News, July 29, 2012

A.L. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors

Linda Caldwell

Linda Caldwell pic

December 13, 1949 – January 13, 2021

Originally from Iowa, Gladwin resident Linda Sue Caldwell taught high school health in Wisconsin and later at Ogemaw High in West Branch.  She was also an athletic trainer and volleyball coach.  Caldwell and her wife and partner of 38 years Susan Hightower also ran the Twisted Oak Tree Farm with an easement arranged through Little Forks Conservancy.

Gladwin County Record, January 20, 2021

Rebecca Dunn

Rebecca Dunn pic

September 7, 1973 – March 31, 2020

Denison resident Rebecca Pauline Dunn was born in Lansing and attended Grand Valley State University and Aquinas College.  She worked as a beloved bilingual education elementary teacher with the Grand Rapids Public Schools for more than two decades.  Dunn and her partner of 22 years Melanie Auzins were married in the summer of 2019.

Grand Rapids Press, April 7, 2020

Nona McKenna

July 7, 1940 – October 20, 2008

Nona Diane McKenna of Dexter was born in the Upper Peninsula town of Hermansville, graduated from Roosevelt High School in Ypsilanti, earned her B.A. in physical education from Eastern Michigan University, and served in the U.S. Marines from 1961 to 1966.  In 1991, she and Sally Johnson became the first same-sex couple to register as domestic partners.  They married in California in 2008.

Ann Arbor News, October 23, 2008

Valerie Connell

Valerie Connell pic

June 21, 1953 – November 20, 2008

St. Joseph native Valerie Jean Connell became a champion horse rider during her school years, taking part in multiple horse associations and winning prizes at the Michigan State Fair.  After graduating from Edwardsburg High in 1971, she joined the U.S. Army, later earned her B.S. and M.S., and went on to teach social studies in Florida.  Connell was survived by her partner Lenora Ledwon.

Miami Herald, November 23, 2008