January 24, 1943 – April 8, 2021
Stanwood resident Elizabeth “Betty” Long was born in Kalamazoo and graduated with the class of 1962 from Comstock High School. She went on to work for Upjohn’s pharmaceuticals and later operated the Nature’s Treasures flower shop in the town of Evart in Osceola County. Long was survived by Shirley Moore, her partner of more than 11 years.
Big Rapids Pioneer, April 9, 2021
March 27, 1950 – March 17, 2006
James Stewart James was born in Detroit and graduated with the class of 1969 from Mumford High School. He later earned his Associates degree from Oakland Community College and was employed at General Motors for 25 years. James was active in Men of Color, Project Survival, and Detroit Black Gay Pride, for many years helping to plan the annual Hotter Than July! picnic in Palmer Park.
Between The Lines, March 30, 2006
June 1, 1934 – March 20, 2986
Wilbert Delos “Hank” George attended North Branch High School in North Branch and worked on the assembly line at AC Spark Plug in Flint before serving in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958. Following his time in the military, he was employed in maintenance for the State of Michigan in Flint and Lapeer. George was a familiar presence at the State Bar and in the local gay community.
Flint Journal, March 21, 1986
June 25, 1959 – October 17, 1992
Bruce Michael Andrews was born in Detroit and attended school in Troy and Sterling Heights. He worked for a time for a construction firm and on the assembly line for Ford Motors before taking a position as maintenance supervisor for a senior living complex. Andrews also tended bar part-time at the Gas Station. At age 33, he was found murdered in his Sterling Heights home.
Cruise, October 28, 1992
May 22, 1940 – March 29, 2014
White Lake resident Reginal Lewis “Reggie” Doyon graduated from St. Frederick High School in Pontiac and worked at Pontiac Motors. Following his retirement from the plant, he purchased Club Flamingo and after a year began operating the bar as a gay establishment. In 1998, the city selected Doyon for its Business Beautification of the Year. He continued to run the bar for another decade.
Oakland Press, March 30, 2014
August 31, 1958 – April 20, 1999
Deborah Sue Powell of Adrian was born in Illinois, spent part of her childhood in Toledo, Ohio, and studied fisheries and wildlife at Kent State. She later served as a cook in the U.S. Air Force and was an assembly line worker at the Ford Automotive plant in Rawsonville. Powell was survived by former partners Deb Harkins and Cheryl Zupan.
Between The Lines, April 29, 1999
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
October 10, 1953 – December 15, 2019
Toledo, Ohio native Susan Sharon Bright graduated high school in 1971 and worked for Chrysler Motors for 30 years. A University of Michigan sports fan, she also enjoyed biking and fishing. Bright resided in Temperance with her loving wife Betty Jackson.
J. Gilbert Purse Funeral Home
May 21, 1925 – July 6, 2014
Detroit native Margaret Elnora Wenzell played nine seasons in the 1940s and 1950s for numerous teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including the Grand Rapids Chicks, the Muskegon Lassies, and the Battle Creek Belles. Employed with General Motors in Michigan and later an electric company in California, she was laid to rest next to her life companion and spouse Dorothy Kamenshek.
Forest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuary
July 24, 1920 – February 12, 2008
Longtime Battle Creek resident Yvonne Phyllis Cushman graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and was that city’s first female bus driver. Her other jobs included working as a machinist in an electronics factory, operating a grocery, and caring for residents at Fort Custer State Home and the Muskegon Regional Facility. A Harley rider in the 1950s, Cushman also owned and showed Great Danes.
Battle Creek Enquirer, February 14, 2008