William Hirn

William Hirn pic

August 26, 1928 – April 12, 2013

Born in Escanaba, William James Hirn earned his Bachelor’s from Western Michigan University and did his graduate studies at the University of Michigan.  After teaching in Muskegon and Ann Arbor, he moved to New York State, where he was on the early faculty of Rockland Community College.  Hirn and his life partner of 48 years Joseph Rogers retired to Spain and later lived in Houston and Las Vegas.

Escanaba Daily Press, April 19, 2013

Ruth Ketchum

Ruth Ketchum 2 pic

June 18, 1929 – April 28, 2016

Gobles High School graduate Ruth Evonne Ketchum attended Western Michigan University and worked for many years at Upjohn pharmaceuticals.  She played on the Brodys competitive fast-pitch softball team as catcher.  Ketchum also took part in Kalamazoo’s annual Pride parade, attended Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and belonged to Phoenix Community Church.

Kalamazoo Gazette, May 1, 2016

Wanda Jubb

Wanda Jubb pic

April 30, 1933 – October 2, 2015

Wanda Hope Jubb was born in Nunica and went on to a distinguished career in education.  She earned her Bachelor’s and two M.A.s from Western Michigan University and her Ed.D. from the University of Alabama.  She taught and coached in the Vicksburg Public Schools and for 24 years served with the Michigan Department of Education.  She was preceded in death by her partner Muriel Van Patten.

Lansing State Journal, October 11, 2015

Betty Clark

Betty Clark pic

June 14, 1932 – September 5, 2015

Battle Creek resident Betty Clark graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1950 and earned her B.A. and M.A. in education from Western Michigan University.  She taught elementary and junior high in the Harper Creek Community Schools from 1960 to 1986.  Clark was survived by her life companion of 65 years Silver Lee Garske.

Battle Creek Enquirer, September 7, 2015

Mary Fenton

Mary Fenton pic

July 23, 1937 – April 12, 2006

A native of Kansas, Mary Frances Fenton earned her B.F.A. at the University of Oklahoma.  She later earned her M.A. at Western Michigan University, where she served a professor of graphic arts for nearly three decades.  Fenton and her partner of 24 years Mary Appelhof participated in the lesbian group Aradia in Grand Rapids and were long active in the women’s community in Kalamazoo.

Lesbian Connection, September/October 2006

Del Thusius

Del Thusius pic

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

Nita Hardie

Nita Hardie pic

July 8, 1929 – September 23, 2012

A native of Breckinridge, Texas, Nita Hardie served as political science professor from 1964 to 1992 at Western Michigan University.  There, she inaugurated courses on race and gender, established the Women’s Studies Program.  Hardie was also a founding member of the Michigan Democratic Party Women’s Caucus.

Kalamazoo Gazette, October 14, 2012