Micheal Koutz

Micheal Koutz pic

January 13, 1951 – July 17, 2019

Owosso native and world traveler Micheal Eugene Koutz graduated with the Hastings High School class of 1969 and went on to Central Michigan University.  Following two decades with Adventure Travel in Kalamazoo, Koutz and Michael LoPresto established Experts Travel in 1994.  The two were also husbands and life partners, together for 39 years.

Kalamazoo Gazette, July 21, 2019

Frederick Lake

Frederick Lake pic

May 13, 1930 – June 28, 2002

Born in Kalamazoo, Frederick Allen Lake graduated with the high school class of 1949 from Bay City Central.  We went on to apprenticed in the craft of organ building in Hamburg, Germany and was employed by pipe organ firms in Saginaw and Illinois before moving to San Francisco to work as a voicer for Schoenstein & Company.  Lake corresponded with ONE magazine from Bay City in the mid-1960s.

The Diapason, February 12, 2003

Lisa Carlson

Lisa Carlson pic

December 20, 1972 – October 18, 2019

Born in Kalamazoo, Lisa Ilene Carlson graduated from Montague High School in Montague and attended Muskegon Community College.  She trained as a paramedic at Great Lakes Academy in Allendale and had a 20-year career as an EMT and EMT trainer.  She also enjoyed music and was a devoted fan of the Michigan Renaissance Festival.  Carlson was survived by her partner Amanda Visger.

Muskegon Chronicle, October 21, 2019

John Schallberg

John Schallberg pic

October 10, 1953 – October 8, 1978

Born in Battle Creek, John Wayne Schallberg attended Climax-Scotts High School, graduated from American Beauty College, and operated the Masquerade Shop in Climax.  He was a participant in the Kalamazoo Gay Liberation Front and, as Nadine, was one of several drag queens who rode the hood of a Ford in Detroit’s first pride parade in 1972.  Schallberg took his own life just before his 25th birthday.

Kalamazoo Gazette, October 10, 1978

Jean Roberts

Jean Roberts pic

July 3, 1923 – August 31, 2020

Mt. Pleasant resident Jean Roberts grew up on a farm in rural Iowa and attended Western Michigan University, where she played tuba in the symphony.  She went on to teach physical education in Kalamazoo and at Comstock High School and later worked as a counselor in the Reed City schools.  For 15 years, Roberts and her life partner Janet Bush operated J & J Leather.

Morning Sun, September 1, 2020

Jere Van Syoc

Jere Van Syoc pic

April 22, 1935 – January 6, 2018

Painter, sculptor, and pioneering filmmaker Jere Van Syoc graduated from Lincoln High in Ferndale.  She went on to earn her B.A. and M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later taught at Western Michigan University and Nazareth College.  In 1977, Van Syoc co-founded Aradia in Grand Rapids, where her home was known as “a palace for the goddess.”  She died at age 82 in West Virginia.

High Lawn Funeral Home

Jere Van Syoc Collection at The Woman Behind the Camera

Martha VanderEyk

Martha VanderEyk pic

February 21, 1942 – November 15, 2011

Grand Rapids resident Martha VanderEyk immigrated from the Netherlands at age six with her family.  She graduated from Kalamazoo Christian High School in 1960, attended Calvin College, and earned her Bacherlor’s in Music from Grand Valley State University.  VanderEyke was employed as a business manager and was a longtime member, with her partner Leslie Kohn, of the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus.

Grand Rapids Press, November 23, 2011

Joe Periard

Joe Periard pic

June 2, 1964 – July 2, 2018

Joseph Patrick Periard of Kalamazoo, formerly of Southfield, was born in Bay City and graduated from Bay City Western High School.  He earned his Bachelor’s in computer science from Michigan Technological University and was later employed with Ford Credit in Detroit.  In March 2017, Periard was united in marriage with Joseph Biron II, who survives him.

Kalamazoo Gazette, July 3, 2018

Patricia Cutshaw

Patricia Cutshaw pic

May 28, 1937 – July 13, 2014

Kalamazoo resident Patricia Ann Cutshaw was known as “Sport” at Richland High School, where she played on the basketball team all four years.  She later worked for Gibson Guitar until Multiple Sclerosis forced her into retirement.  Cutshaw was preceded in death by her life partner Nydia Nichols.

Betzler Funeral Homes

Yvonne Cushman

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