April 12, 1932 – May 14, 2018
Orphaned as a child, former Detroiter Carl Mitchell joined the U.S. Army at age 17 and served as a combat medic during the Korean War. While home in Detroit on leave, he discovered the gay bars downtown, where his uniform attracted much attention. He later worked as a nurse in Detroit-area hospitals. Mitchell was survived in St. Petersburg, Florida by Robert Stanley, his partner of 48 years.
Between The Lines, May 24, 2018
April 16, 1950 – April 22, 2019
Battle Creek native Sue Ann Fitzgerald, known as “Drum Mama,” was a graduate of Lakeview High School and Central Michigan University, earning her M.S. in biology. At Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, she worked as a medical technologist for 34 years. Fitzgerald sang with the Sistrum chorus, was long active with the Girl Scouts, and regularly joined in MichFest and other womyn’s music gatherings.
Lesbian Connection September/October 2019
February 13, 1942 – March 31, 2013
Deloris Jean Riddlesprigger grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and studied osteopathic medicine at Michigan State University, earning her doctor degree in 1980. She specialized in anesthesiology and practiced in Metro Detroit for more than three decades. Riddlesprigger and her beloved partner Barbara White shared a home in Southfield for 28 years.
Oakland Press, April 2, 2013
July 27, 1933 – March 22, 2019
Margaret “Peg” Powell was born in Lansing and served as an MP with the Women’s Army Corps during the Korean War. She raised her younger sister and two children of her own and studied to become an LPN, specializing in hospice care. Powell was active in Lansing’s lesbian community in the 1970s and 1980s before moving to Wisconsin. She was survived by Mary Kay Schleiter, her partner of 32 years.
Lesbian Connection, November/December 2019
Casey Family Options
March 29, 1948 – September 20, 2018
Betty Jane Martin, a lifelong Caledonia resident, graduated from Caledonia High School and earned her MSW from Grand Valley State University. Her career encompassed worked with the YWCA, Pine Rest Christian Hospital, and her brother’s dairy farm. Martin served as board president for Reconciliation Metropolitan Community Church in Grand Rapids where she also played drums in the church band.
Grand Rapids Press, September 23, 2018
July 20, 1930 – January 21, 2009
Marjorie Ann Lyda earned her MSW from Wayne State and in 1967 became the first African-American woman to open a psychotherapy practice in Birmingham. She was one of the earliest therapists in Metro Detroit to provide positive counseling to gay clients and offered pioneering treatment for people now termed transgender. Lyda also served as pastor for churches in Ferndale and Detroit.
Detroit News, January 28, 2009
February 19, 1956 – March 14, 1999
George Edmund Potts, resident and booster of the Palmer Park neighborhood in Detroit was born in Highland Park and worked for many years in administration at Henry Ford Hospital. He later worked as a grant writer for the Detroit Department of Parks and Recreation. Potts was a familiar customer at Menjo’s.
Cruise, March 24, 1999
February 19, 1938 – April 4, 2017
Detroit native Marjorie Kate Chamberlain earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in speech pathology from Wayne State University and helped treat stroke patients at Sinai Hospital. She later taught at Eastern Michigan University, where she also directed the Speech and Hearing Clinic. Chamberlain and her life partner Charlotte Wixom retired to Gladwin before relocating to Fort Meyers, Florida.
Ann Arbor News, June 30, 2017
October 3, 1970 – November 27, 2017
Jacqueline Maurier of Livonia earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan and an Associate degree from Henry Ford Community College. She worked as a surgical technologist at Garden City Hospital and taught as a surgical instructor. The mother of two, Maurier was survived by her significant other Cristi Dikeou.
Detroit Free Press, November 30, 2017
Griffin Funeral Home
May 28, 1969 – June 23, 1990
Diane Kotila was born in Southfield and graduated with the class of 1987 from Kimball High School in Royal Oak. She was a student at Oakland University and was employed by William Beaumont Hospital. After losing her life in an automobile accident, friends held a benefit at the Railroad Crossing for a fund in her name at Affirmations to help provide lesbian and gay youth with counseling and support.
Royal Oak Daily Tribune, June 24, 1990
Affirmations newsletter, September 1990