Gwen Sanford

Gwen Sanford pic

October 26, 1942 – January 15, 2018

Traverse City resident Gwen Sanford grew up in Grand Rapids, studied at Grand Rapids Junior College and Valparasio Technical Institute, and served as a trooper and diving instructor with the Michigan State Police from 1966 to 1992.  After retiring, the former Glenn transitioned to Gwen and later served on the board of Friends North.  Sanford was survived by her wife Carol Larson and three children.

Traverse City Record-Eagle, January 21, 2018

Alice Anderson

Alice Anderson pic

September 4, 1993 – June 11, 2019

Grand Rapids resident Alice Joy Anderson was born in Holland.  Anderson’s creativity drew her to mythology, literature, music, architecture, history, and photography, and a passion for LEGO building blocks.  Her studies took her to India and Iceland.  At age 16, Anderson entered Hope College, where she worked as a set carpenter in the Theater Department and earned her B.A. in studio art in 2016.

Holland Sentinel, June 21, 2019

Nancy Ledins

Nancy Ledins pic

July 27, 1932 – July 18, 2017

Nancy Ledins was born in Cleveland, Ohio as William Griglak, was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1959, and served as an assistant rector at St. Anthony parish in Detroit in the early 1960s.  After leaving the priesthood to marry a nun, William transitioned to Nancy in 1979 and was obliged to divorce.  In her last years, Rev. Ledins resumed ministering with a congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte Observer, July 22, 2017

Nancy S. Ledins profile at LGBT Religious Archives Network

Sarah Emma Edmonds

Sarah Edmonds pic

December 1841 – September 5, 1898

Born in Nova Scotia, Sarah Emma Edmonds began presenting herself as Frank Thompson at age 15.  Thompson moved to Flint in the 1860s and was considered “quite a lady’s man.”  After serving as a male nurse in Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry the Civil War, Edmonds resumed living as a woman.  Her memoir Nurse and Spy in the Union Army became a best seller.

No known obituary

Dani Som

Dani Sommerville pic

December 8, 1998 – February 16, 2019

Dani Som, also known as Dani Sommerville, was born in Southfield and was a 2017 graduate of Berkley High School.  He received a Spirit of Detroit Award in 2015 for achievement and leadership, including his involvement in music and theater, as well as extensive volunteer work.  As an out young trans man, Som was active with Affirmations and FtM Detroit.  Months after moving to Oregon, he took his own life.

Between The Lines, April 11, 2019

Cappisene Ford

Cappisene Ford pic

January 11, 1953 – December 26, 1995

Cappisene Ford, known to most in the gay community as Ms. L.T.D. (for La Twiggy Darling), began to entertain in the 1970s at the Escape, My Fair Lady, and other Detroit bars.  She later went on to perform in Paris and Hong Kong.  From 1979 to 1980 she served as Records Officer for the Michigan Organization for Human Rights.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 42.

No known obituary

Ciara La’Shae White

Ciara Lashae White pic

October 22, 1987 – January 10, 2013

Ciara La’Shae White was musically inclined at a young age, playing clarinet and bass clarinet in the concert and marching bands at Ruddiman Middle School in Detroit and taking part in the marching band, as well as junior ROTC, at Mackenzie High School.  She was a beloved member of the LGBT community and the Ruth Ellis Center.

Stinson Funeral Home