May 3, 1952 – November 23, 2016
Born in Byron Center, Portage resident Sheila Fortuin graduated from Byron Center High School in 1970, and attended Ferris State University for a short time before taking a job with the city of East Grand Rapids. She later worked at the Rock-Tenn paper plant in Otsego until its closure in 2004. Fortuin and her life partner Trish Breithaupt shared 21 years together.
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
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