Gerry Crane

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August 25, 1964 – January 3, 1997

Mount Clemens native Gerald Mark “Gerry” Crane graduated from Mount Clemens High School and attended Grand Rapids Baptist College and Calvin College.  He taught high school music in Byron Center and was loved by his students, but officials hounded him from his job in 1996 when parents learned that he and his partner Randy Block held a commitment ceremony.  Crane died from a heart attack at age 32.

Between The Lines, February 1997

Michigan Radio segment on Private Love, Public School: Gay Teacher Under Fire

Alice Anderson

Alice Anderson pic

September 4, 1993 – June 11, 2019

Grand Rapids resident Alice Joy Anderson was born in Holland.  Anderson’s creativity drew her to mythology, literature, music, architecture, history, and photography, and a passion for LEGO building blocks.  Her studies took her to India and Iceland.  At age 16, Anderson entered Hope College, where she worked as a set carpenter in the Theater Department and earned her B.A. in studio art in 2016.

Holland Sentinel, June 21, 2019

Michael Barto

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January 9, 1962 – November 7, 1995

Actor, director, playwright, and Grand Rapids native Michael Gerard Barto of Chicago earned his B.A. in theater at the University of Michigan-Flint.  In 1987, while pursuing his M.F.A. at the University of Iowa, Barto directed and co-wrote The Wizard of AIDS, which was performed more than 700 times over seven years throughout the Midwest.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 33.

Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1995

Patti Gibbs

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February 12, 1943 – November 24, 2014

Rockford resident Patricia “Patti” Gibbs graduated with the class of 1961 from Central High School in Grand Rapids and retired from Quest Diagnostics.  She was a longtime member of Reconciliation Metropolitan Community Church and served as one of its directors.

Reyers North Valley Chapel

Sarah Flick

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April 1, 1963 – September 20, 2019

The first female player on the Little League baseball team in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, Sarah Ann Flick was born in Chicago and lived in Grand Rapids in the late 1980s.  She spent 18 years in law enforcement, retiring in 2017 from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.  Flick passed away from cancer at the home she shared in Ada, Michigan with her wife Heidi Gidley.

Holland Sentinel, September 28, 2019

Pamela Chamberlain

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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

Barb Sowers

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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