Del Thusius

Del Thusius pic

May 23, 1927 – March 26, 2013

Dolore “Del” Thusius earned his Bachelor’s in music from Valaraiso University and his Master’s in education from Western Michigan University.  Thusius taught choir at Portage Central High School from 1955 to 1983 and directed annual musicals.  He shared a home in Kalamazoo with his partner of 48 years David Reichard.

Kalamazoo Gazette, March 23, 2013

Lora Yates

Lora Yates pic

December 24, 1962 – October 8, 2017

A graduate of Portage High School, Lora Yates earned her B.S. in manufacturing administration and her M.S. in engineering management from Western Michigan University.  After moving to New Jersey, she served on her local school board.  In 2010, Yates, her wife Pamela, and their twins Ella and Max relocated to Illinois, where she worked as an executive for Sysmex America.

Kalamazoo Gazette, October 15, 2017

Esmeralda Bermudez

Esmerdela Bermudez pic

December 19, 1983 – April 28, 2016

Kalamazoo resident Esmeralda Bermudez graduated from Traverse City High School in 2005, earned her associates degree from Northern Michigan College, and worked as a dental technician.  She was survived by two daughters and her wife Jade Austin Morgan.

Dignity Memorial obituary

Terry Kuseske

Terry Kuseske pic

August 18, 1949 –  September 2, 2010

A retired social studies teacher with the Dowagiac Union School District, Terry Kuseske became one of the state’s leading LGBTQ rights advocates of the new millennium.  He served on the board of the newly rechristened Equality Michigan, led a successful ballot initiative to secure a gay-rights ordinance in Kalamazoo, and won a seat as an openly gay candidate to the Kalamazoo City Commission.

Kalamazoo Gazette, September 2, 2010

Kelly Miller

Kelly Miller pic

June 18, 1962 – July 12, 2012

A native of Flint, Kelly Miller moved to Kalamazoo in 1998 and worked with State Farm Insurance.  As a tireless “PFLAG mom,” she volunteered for various local LGBT causes, including the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, the annual Pride celebration, and an anti-bullying campaign through her job.

Between The Lines, July 26, 2012

June Peppas

June Peppas pic

June 6, 1929 – March 14, 2016

From 1948 to 1954, June Ann Peppas played first base and as a pitcher with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including the Battle Creek Belles and the Kalamazoo Lassies teams.  She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and later operated PJ’s Printing in Allegan with her life partner of 46 years, Polly Huitt.

TC Palm, March 20, 2016

Kristin Cookson

Kristin Cookson pic

August 2, 1943 – February 13, 2017

Port Huron native Kristin Cookson attended Jackson High School and earned her B.S. in veterinary medicine from Michigan State University in 1965 and the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from MSU in 1967.  She and her wife Suzanne Marie Lohrberg were together 49 years.

Kalamazoo Gazette, February 19, 2017