Karen Knudstrup

Karen Knudstrup pic 3

May 25, 1939 – September 17, 2017

Born in Mason, Karen Anne Knudstrup graduated from Mason High School, earned her Bacherlor’s in social science in 1961 at Michigan State University, and went on to teach physical education in Catholic and public high schools in Chicago.  She was a delegate in the teacher’s union and also served in the U.S. Navy Reserves.  Knudstrup was survived by Diana Haskell, her partner of 52 years.

Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2017

Richard Dingley

Richard Dingley pic

November 20, 1919 – April 6, 2008

Fort Wayne, Indiana native Richard Dingley served as a Warrant Officer in World War II.  He worked for many years with International Harvester in Traverse City before retiring to Cincinnati, Ohio.   Dingley enjoyed baseball, railroads, and opera.  He was a longtime subscriber to the early homophile magazine the Mattachine Review in the 1950s.

Cincinnati Enquirer, April 13, 2008

Harvi Griffin

Harvi Griffin pic

December 14, 1936 – August 9, 2005

Detroit native Harvi Alonzo Griffin was a world-renowned harpist, singer, and teacher.  He graduated from Cass Tech High School and earned a B.A. and his first She M.A. from Michigan State University, served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964, and pursued further studies at the Eastman School of Music.  Griffin moved to Phoenix in the late 1980s and was survived by his partner of 13 years Lee Barr.

Arizona Republic, August 21, 2005

Carl Mitchell

Carl Mitchell pic

April 12, 1932 – May 14, 2018

Orphaned as a child, former Detroiter Carl Mitchell joined the U.S. Army at age 17 and served as a combat medic during the Korean War.  While home in Detroit on leave, he discovered the gay bars downtown, where his uniform attracted much attention.  He later worked as a nurse in Detroit-area hospitals.  Mitchell was survived in St. Petersburg, Florida by Robert Stanley, his partner of 48 years.

Between The Lines, May 24, 2018

Joe Courter

Joe Courter pic

November 6, 1949 – July 14, 1988

Longtime Lansing resident Joseph Martin “Joe” Courter graduated from John H. Gabriels High School and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1981.  Following his military service, Courter worked for General Telephone Company and, for the last two years of his life, resided in Alma.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.

Alma Morning Sun, July 21, 1988

Peg Powell

Peg Powell pic

July 27, 1933 – March 22, 2019

Margaret “Peg” Powell was born in Lansing and served as an MP with the Women’s Army Corps during the Korean War.  She raised her younger sister and two children of her own and studied to become an LPN, specializing in hospice care.  Powell was active in Lansing’s lesbian community in the 1970s and 1980s before moving to Wisconsin.  She was survived by Mary Kay Schleiter, her partner of 32 years.

Lesbian Connection, November/December 2019

Casey Family Options

Rodolfo Aviles

Rodolfo Aviles pic

May 1, 1942 – November 18, 1992

Born in Texas, Rodolfo “Rudy” Aviles grew up in Bay City and served four years in the U.S. Navy.  He attended Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University and worked with the Michigan Employment Security Commission.  Aviles was active in numerous civic causes, including bilingual education and raising money for Hispanic scholarships.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 50.

Bay City Times, November 18, 1992

Harold McCormick

Harold McCormick pic

January 4, 1934 – May 9, 1999

Civil rights activist Harold McCormick was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1962.  After moving to Metro Detroit, he was engaged in social work and became CEO of Quality Human Services.  McCormick led a largely closeted life until he was found murdered in his Royal Oak Township apartment, the victim of a man he met at an adult book store.

Detroit Free Press, May 13, 1999

Between The Lines, June 10, 1999

Between The Lines, July 1, 1999

Tara Kelley

Tara Kelley pic

January 12, 1966 – October 25, 2019

Tara Louise Kelley was born in Flint, graduated from Bentley High School in Burton, and served six years in the U.S. Navy.  She later earned her Bachelor’s at the University of Michigan-Flint, served in the National Guard, and for 19 years worked as a corrections officer with the State of Michigan.  Kelley and her longtime partner Angelina Winn were found dead in their Kingsley home in a tragic murder-suicide.

Sharp Funeral Homes

Traverse City Record-Eagle, December 4, 2019

Don DeMorrow Jr.

February 18, 1951 – November 2, 1989

Donald Lee “Don” DeMorrow Jr. was born in and grew up in Benton Harbor.  Following high school, from 1969 to 1971, he served as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy.  Three years later he settled in California.  DeMorrow met his lover Hess Davison in 1979 and the two shared a home in Guernesville, north of San Francisco.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 38.

Bay Area Reporter, November 16, 1989