Joseph Accardi

July 17, 1905 – December 11, 1980

Born in Italy, Joseph Accardi immigrated to the U.S., married in 1937, and worked as a storekeeper and an autoworker in Detroit before moving to Grand Rapids.  He owned and operated Papa Joe’s Show Bar from the late 1950s until his death.

Grand Rapids Press, December 13, 1980

Metra, December 18, 1980

Sherry Redding

Sherry Redding pic

May 22, 1936 – June 14, 2016

Born in Redding, Maine, Sherry Redding earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Master’s from Michigan State University.  A longtime counselor, for many years she taught women’s studies at William James College at Grand Valley State University.  She was also a founding member in 1978 of the local lesbian organization Aradia.  Redding and her spouse Karen Clahassey shared 36 years together.

Grand Rapids Press, June 16, 2016

Mary Fenton

Mary Fenton pic

July 23, 1937 – April 12, 2006

A native of Kansas, Mary Frances Fenton earned her B.F.A. at the University of Oklahoma.  She later earned her M.A. at Western Michigan University, where she served a professor of graphic arts for nearly three decades.  Fenton and her partner of 24 years Mary Appelhof participated in the lesbian group Aradia in Grand Rapids and were long active in the women’s community in Kalamazoo.

Lesbian Connection, September/October 2006

Marcella Robinson

Marcella Robinson pic

November 12, 1929 – April 20, 2003

Originally from Beverly, Massachusetts, Marcella “Marcy” Louise Robinson served in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1955.  She later moved to Grand Rapids, where she worked as a draftsperson and as an assembler for Laser Alignment.  Robinson and her life partner Myra Marshall attended Reconciliation Metropolitan Community Church.

Grand Rapids Press, April 23, 2003

Jim Klinesteker

Jim Klinesteker pic

October 7, 1957 – September 13, 1992

James Klinesteker was a zookeeper at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids and a prominent leader in the city’s gay and lesbian community.  After attending the 1987 March on Washington, he became one of the founders of The Network and as its president helped open its community center in 1991.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 35.

Network newsletter, October 1992