Robert Harper

Robert Harper pic

April 7, 1921 – June 15, 2014

As a fighter pilot in World War II, Pontiac native and Rochester Hills resident Robert Harper survived weeks in the jungles of the Philippines after his plane was shot down.  With degrees from Albion and Michigan State University, he taught in the Waterford Schools for twenty-five years.  Harper was of a generation that never told their parents they were gay.

Oakland Press, June 22, 2014

Katharine Coman

Katharine Coman pic

November 23, 1857 – January 11, 1915

Born in Newark, Ohio, Katharine Coman graduated from the University of Michigan in 1880 and went on to become a leading industrial historian and dean of Wellesley College.  Prior to her death at age 58, she shared a 25-year relationship with poet and Wellesley professor Katherine Lee Bates in what was then known as a “Boston marriage.”

Wellesley College News, February 4, 1915

Usein Alieff

Usein Alieff pic

April 24, 1929 – April 16, 2004

Usein “Mike” Alieff Jr. grew up in Pontiac and for many years ran his own piano school in Birmingham.  He and his life companion Max LePard shared a home in Royal Oak for more than forty years.  In their retirement, he and LePard were crochet instructors at the Royal Oak Senior Center.

A.J. Desmond & Sons

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

James Johnstone

James Johnstone pic.jpg

August 2, 1934 – June 26, 2006

A graduate of Michigan State University, Clinton Township resident James Johnstone taught math with the Fraser Schools for 30 years.  He served as a union leader with the Michigan Education Association, was long active in Democratic politics, and was an ardent supporter of the ACLU, NOW, and PFLAG.

Detroit News, July 9, 2006

Michael McGuire

Michael McGuire pic

May 6, 1949 – July 16, 2012

A native of St. Louis, Michael McGuire earned degrees from SUNY-Fredonia and Michigan State University.  As professor of music therapy at Eastern Michigan University, McGuire helped push the university to establish a campus LGBT resource center and create the Stonewall Scholarship to provide financial aid to LGBT student leaders.

Ann Arbor News, July 16, 2012

Between The Lines, July 26, 2012

Michael G. McGuire papers at Eastern Michigan University Archives