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
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
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
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
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
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
December 24, 1962 – October 8, 2017
A graduate of Portage High School, Lora Yates earned her B.S. in manufacturing administration and her M.S. in engineering management from Western Michigan University. After moving to New Jersey, she served on her local school board. In 2010, Yates, her wife Pamela, and their twins Ella and Max relocated to Illinois, where she worked as an executive for Sysmex America.
Kalamazoo Gazette, October 15, 2017