April 22, 1948 – December 18, 1978
Muskegon native Gregory Don Williams graduated with the class of 1966 from Muskegon Catholic High School and subsequently attended Michigan State University and Wayne State University. In June 1972, he took part in Michigan’s first-ever pride celebration in Detroit. At the time of his death, he was employed with a Wall Street brokerage firm in New York.
Muskegon Chronicle, December 20, 1978
June 26, 1947 – December 7, 2010
Michael David Scott was born in Lansing and graduated from Central High School in Kalamazoo in 1966. He later worked as a chef in Lansing and at Michigan State University. Scott was a noted local drag performer and in June 1972 won the Miss Capital City title at a pageant held at Joe Covello’s. Days later he led the first-ever Pride parade down Woodward in Detroit and sang at the rally in Kennedy Square.
Lansing State Journal, December 13, 2010
May 27, 1949 – September 5, 2020
Sandra Lee Peckens of Harbor Springs was born in Ann Arbor and grew up in Otsego. She earned her B.A. in social work from Michigan State University in 1971 and went on for her MSW, also at MSU. Peckens career took her to hospitals in Metro Detroit and Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey. She and her longtime partner Sally Hood were united in a civil union in 2008 and legally married in 2010.
Livingston Daily Press & Argus, September 8, 2020
July 23, 1954 – June 13, 2021
Mary Catherine Linton was valedictorian of the class of 1972 at Bullock Creek High School in Midland, earned her B.S. from Michigan State, Master’s from Michigan Tech, and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. She devoted her life to science and poetry, specializing in wetlands, and served an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin. Linton was survived by her wife and partner Kathy Kauffman.
Midland Daily News, July 8, 2021
In Memory of Mary Linton
September 15, 1963 – December 16, 2007
Lansing native James Michael Nickoff was kicked out of his home at age 15. He survived on dishwashing jobs and worked his way through college, earning his B.A. in accounting at Michigan State, where he was active in the Lesbian-Gay Council. After he moved to San Francisco, he served on the founding board of Equality California and married his partner Dave Lawson in 2004. Nickoff took his own life at age 44.
Bay Area Reporter, December 27, 2007
October 15, 1918 – April 28, 1994
Ruth Evelyn Sanders moved from Texas to Michigan in the early 1940s to pursue her doctorate at Michigan State University. After earning her Ph.D. in 1947, she taught microbiology at MSU as a lecturer, assistant professor, and associate professor, retiring in 1982. Sanders shared a home in Okemos for many decades with her longtime companion Lucile Portwood.
Lansing State Journal, May 1, 1994
May 15, 1944 – December 6, 2020
Pontiac native Barbara Jean Ziegler of Waterford attended Michigan State and Wayne State University and earned her Master’s at Oakland University. She taught every grade from K through 8th in the Pontiac schools and later became an elementary and junior high principal. After a heterosexual marriage and raising her family, Ziegler united with her life partner Jo Nebeker, who survived her.
Oakland Press, December 9, 2020
January 23, 1993 – June 28, 2013
A native of the state of Wyoming, Krisen Grace Lison of Charlotte graduated from Manchester High School in Manchester in 2011. She went on to attend Michigan State University, where she was involved with the campus LGBT community. Lison was studying writing and authored three books of poetry and short stories. Her fiancé Dalton Strong was among her survivors.
Lansing State Journal, June 30, 2013
November 17, 1932 – October 15, 2018
Born in Jackson, Carolyn Joan Fretz graduated with the 1950 high school class from Midland High School, attended Michigan State University and the earned her Bachelor’s in phys ed from Central Michigan University. Following a long career as an elementary teacher with the Midland Public Schools, she operated her own pet care service. Fretz was preceded in death by life partner Gwendolyn Bagley.
Midland Daily News, October 18, 2018
March 5, 1931 – October 9, 2016
Betty Hudson grew up in Connecticut and attended Michigan State University in the early 1950s with her twin sister Marie. She left college for a heterosexual marriage, which ended on good terms in the mid-1970s when she came out. Hudson served two terms in the Connecticut legislature and was survived by her companion of more than 35 years Fran Roberts and her daughter and son.
Lesbian Connection, January/February 2017