February 2, 1957 – October 27, 2017
Karen Lynn Biehl graduated from Iron Mountain High School in 1975 and earned degrees in graphic design from Ferris State University and Northern Michigan University. She was a champion body builder and her titles included Miss U.P. 1985. She later worked for the Bureau of Printing, the Government Printing Office, and the Department of Homeland Security. Biehl was survived by her wife Lori Harvot.
Iron Mountain Daily News, November 3, 2017
June 21, 1971 – June 3, 2016
Ishpeming native Lee Allen LaForge grew up in Republic, was a 1989 graduate of Republic-Michigamme High School, and went on to earn his Master of Science from Northern Michigan University. He was active in the Marquette arts scene, directing and performing in local theater. At the time of his death, LaForge worked as an adjunct professor at NMU, as a tutor, and as manager of Book World.
Bjork & Zhulkie Funeral Home
April 5, 1957 – September 28, 2004
Francine Louise Malindzak was a star athlete at Gaylord High School and Northern Michigan University in hockey and skiing. She was later employed with plant operations at the NMU library and in the 1990s was co-publisher of the Aurora newsletter, which connected lesbian and gay residents across the Upper Peninsula. Malindzak was murdered at age 47 by a jealous male neighbor of the woman she was dating.
Gaylord Herald Times, October 2, 2004
Francine Malindzak at Le Chrysalis Remembers
April 3, 1958 – May 1, 2020
Maureen “Mo” Kay Doyle was born in Lowell and graduated from Lowell High School in 1976 before pursuing a Bachelor’s in education and health at Northern Michigan University. She taught and worked as a camp counselor before taking up a 30-year career as a delivery driver for UPS. Doyle and Peggy Michmershuizen were married in August 2016 and shared a home in northwest Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids Press, May 2, 2020
July 25, 1967 – May 30, 2017
Timothy Richard Liupakka graduated in 1986 from Marquette Senior High School and attended Northern Michigan University before moving to Milwaukee to pursue a degree in interior design. Liupakka performed under the drag name Tabitha Stephens in Wisconsin and later in annual shows at NMU. In 2015, he moved to Florida where he worked in hotel housekeeping and married Peter Williamson.
Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral Home
November 5, 1940 – August 13, 2018
Karen Sundberg of Taylor was born in Marquette, graduated from Ishpeming Public Schools, earned her B.A. from Northern Michigan University, and received an M.A. from Wayne State. In the 1980s, she was active in Lesbian Sisters Building a Network and served as treasurer of the Detroit Area Gay/Lesbian Council. Sundberg was also active for many decades in the National Organization for Women.
Mining Journal, August 29, 2018
April 26, 1946 – September 17, 2014
Jean Kinnear grew up near Lexington, Virginia, earned her B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University and her M.S. and Ph.D. at Penn State. As a professor at Northern Michigan University, she taught outdoor recreation for 30 distinguished years. Kinnear lived in Marquette with life partner Joanna Mitchell.
February 14, 1996 – February 12, 2016
Born in Tecumseh, Saja Mykel Nieto graduated in 2014 from Adrian High School, where he was active in the LGBT Club and the Color Guard. In addition to studying zoology at Northern Michigan University, Nieto worked at Pet Supplies Plus, as a supervisor at Adrian Image Center, and as a manager at B Fit.
Adrian Daily Telegram, February 15, 2016
July 17, 1959 – December 11, 2016
Brian “Scott” Warren of Ironwood graduated from Wakefield High School and attended Northern Michigan University. He was active in local theater and music as a performer, director, and board member. Warren and his life partner of 35 years George Henkel were the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Gogebic County.
Ironwood Daily Globe, December 13, 2016