October 20, 1937 – February 26, 2003
The Rev. Dr. Barbara Edith Edgecombe, a Chicago native, graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and studied piano at the University of Michigan. While working as a piano teacher back in Chicago, she decided to train for the ministry. Edgecombe came out after graduating theological seminary and in the late 1990s served as the openly lesbian pastor of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Greater Lansing.
Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2003
August 26, 1933 – September 19, 2005
Born in Chicago, Barbara Lee Christiansen graduated from Baldwin High School in Birmingham and earned her degree in dental hygiene from the University of Michigan. A resident of Huntington Woods, she was active with the local library, the garden club, the Detroit Zoo, and other causes. With her involvement with Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Christiansen was also a PFLAG mom.
Detroit News, September 21, 2005
September 2, 1954 – February 22, 2018
Wilbert Anthony “Billi” Gordon Jr. graduated from Union High School in Dowagiac, class of 1972. He left seminary to attend the University of Michigan, where he became involved in gay activism, including as spokesperson for the Ann Arbor Black Gay Caucus. Gordon went on to become a celebrated model, entertainer, writer, and neuroscientist. He was survived by his spouse of 30 years Robert Schallert.
Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2018
April 5, 1944 – December 10, 1985
Born in Elmhurst, Illinois, James Martin earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Illinois before earning his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1969. After a year clerking for a federal appeals judge, Martin joined the UM Law School and had a distinguished 15-year career there while living a discreet gay life in Ann Arbor. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 41.
Ann Arbor News, December 22, 1985
August 24, 1942 – September 30, 2013
Linda Ann Reuther, the daughter of UAW founder Walter P. Reuther, grew up in Detroit and Rochester and earned her Bachelor’s in education from the University of Michigan in 1965. She taught head start for several years, operated a quilt store in Marin County, California, and later created a meditation retreat center to the north in Albion. Reuther was survived by her life companion Michele Tellier.
Fort Bragg Advocate-News, October 10, 2013
February 27. 1958 – November 20, 2020
Deborah Jane “Deb” Price started college at the University of Michigan before transferring to Stanford, where she earned her B.A. and M.A. In 1992, while working for the Detroit News, she began writing a regular column on gay life, the first for a mainstream daily newspaper. The column was soon syndicated throughout the U.S. and continued for 18 years. Price was survived by her wife Joyce Murdoch.
Between The Lines, December 10, 2020
New York Times, December 10, 2020
January 7, 1921 – January 18, 1975
Brooklyn-bred Chester Simon Kallman was a librettis, poet, and longtime companion to poet W.H. Auden. Kallman pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan and while in Ann Arbor he and his roommate Strowan Robertson were the nuclei of a gay social circle. He went on to write three volumes of poetry and authored or co-authored librettos for several operas.
New York Times, January 19, 1975
April 24, 1949 – October 19, 2019
Phyllis Terry Glanz was born in Detroit, was a member of the Southfield High School class of 1967, and earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1971. She later moved to New York and traveled the world in a global career in shipping and sales. Glanz and her life partner of 25 years Sara Mayes were married in 2013.
Detroit Free Press, October 20, 2019
October 19, 1951 – November 2, 2020
Debra Jean McGee was a master drummer and a priest of Obatala in the Yoruba faith. After moving to Michigan from New York, she worked as a coordinator at the Flushing Senior Center, received her Bachelor’s from the University of Michigan-Flint, and earned her MSW at the UM School of Social Work, specializing in geriatrics. McGee and her partner Sandy Cleomaude married in Swartz Creek in 2017.
Swartz Funeral Home
March 31, 1943 – February 19, 1996
A native of Detroit and graduate of Mumford High School, Gerald Jhazel “Gerry” Fife won a Hopwood Award for his fiction at the University of Michigan and earned his B.A. in journalism there in 1965. After moving to California, he worked as a radio reporter for KSWO in Los Angeles and held positions with Crocker Bank and at the University of San Francisco.
Bay Area Reporter, April 11, 1996