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
June 6, 1929 – March 14, 2016
From 1948 to 1954, June Ann Peppas played first base and as a pitcher with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including the Battle Creek Belles and the Kalamazoo Lassies teams. She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and later operated PJ’s Printing in Allegan with her life partner of 46 years, Polly Huitt.
TC Palm, March 20, 2016
September 3, 1931 – December 26, 2007
A native of Allegan, Marietta “Polly” Huitt earned her B.S. and M.A. from Western Michigan University and taught at Nazareth College and in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. She and her life partner June Peppas later operated the JP Printing Company in Allegan before retiring to Florida in 1990.
TC Palm, December 30, 2007
October 19, 1950 – June 3, 2008
Gregory Kamm helped found the Gay Liberation Front at Western Michigan University in 1971 and later served as secretary for the Gay Liberation Movement at Michigan State University.
Between The Lines, June 26, 2008