July 22, 1958 – July 1, 2015
Pamela Lee Chamberlain of Gaithersburg, Maryland earned her B.S. in animal husbandry from Michigan State University in 1982 and went on to graduate from the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 1987. After working in small veterinary practice in Sturgis in St. Joseph County, she began an esteemed career with the Food and Drug Administration. Chamberlain was survived by her spouse Teri Gilger.
Grand Rapids Press, July 9, 2015
May 4, 1932 – October 19, 2012
In 1953 and 1954 Barbara Jean “Barb” Sowers played outfrield with Muskegon Belles and the Grand Rapids Chicks in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Born in Detroit, she grew up in Livonia and retired as a high school counselor with the Livonia schools, where she headed the teachers’ union in the mid-1970s. Sowers was preceded in death by Shirley Weaver, her companion of 45 years.
Roberson Funeral Home and Crematory
April 5, 1939 – March 9, 2018
Robert Francis “Bobby” Schorle was an icon in the Grand Rapids gay community. Schorle was longtime co-owner of various bars, including the Carousel Lounge, Turn About, Carousel II, and the Cell. He was also instrumental in creating the local Queen of Hearts pageant. Born in Chicago, Schorle grew up on a fruit farm in Fennville and graduated from Fennville High School in 1957.
Chappell Funeral Home
November 29, 1970 – November 3, 2016
Melissa Sorber Schout graduated from Grand Rapids Baptist High School in the class of 1988. She later lived in Chicago before settling in Flowery Branch, Georgia outside Atlanta. Schout was employed with RxSleep and was survived by her spouse Alicia Addington.
Grand Rapids Press, November 6, 2016
June 21, 1951 – February 13, 2018
Born in DeWitt, Juliana Daberkow attended DeWitt High School and Davenport University and later worked as an assembly line worker at Steelcase in Grand Rapids. She was survived by her life partner of more than 24 years Nancy Botsford.
Grand Rapids Press, February 18, 2018
April 9, 1959 – October 10, 2018
Known as “Auntie” to tribal youth in Michigan, Cindy Pigeon of Wayland led workshops on native culture and was active with the Grand Rapids Inter-Tribal Council and the Indian Workers Conference of the United Methodist Church. She was an avid sports enthusiast, kept score for Hopkins Public Schools, and pitched softball with the Salem Indian Mission team. She was survived by her wife Faith Pigeon.
Grand Rapids Press, October 14, 2018
October 13, 1950 – August 14, 2007
Betty Jo “Stormie” Parham grew up in Grand Rapids and lived in Phoenix and Chicago before settling with her partner Gail Goldstein in Placitas, New Mexico. She worked variously as a builder, chef, clown, firefighter, handy-woman, and innkeeper. Parham died at age 56 after a long battle with lung cancer.
Lesbian Connection, May/June 2008