February 2, 1957 – October 27, 2017
Karen Lynn Biehl graduated from Iron Mountain High School in 1975 and earned degrees in graphic design from Ferris State University and Northern Michigan University. She was a champion body builder and her titles included Miss U.P. 1985. She later worked for the Bureau of Printing, the Government Printing Office, and the Department of Homeland Security. Biehl was survived by her wife Lori Harvot.
Iron Mountain Daily News, November 3, 2017
June 21, 1971 – June 3, 2016
Ishpeming native Lee Allen LaForge grew up in Republic, was a 1989 graduate of Republic-Michigamme High School, and went on to earn his Master of Science from Northern Michigan University. He was active in the Marquette arts scene, directing and performing in local theater. At the time of his death, LaForge worked as an adjunct professor at NMU, as a tutor, and as manager of Book World.
Bjork & Zhulkie Funeral Home
April 5, 1957 – September 28, 2004
Francine Louise Malindzak was a star athlete at Gaylord High School and Northern Michigan University in hockey and skiing. She was later employed with plant operations at the NMU library and in the 1990s was co-publisher of the Aurora newsletter, which connected lesbian and gay residents across the Upper Peninsula. Malindzak was murdered at age 47 by a jealous male neighbor of the woman she was dating.
Gaylord Herald Times, October 2, 2004
Francine Malindzak at Le Chrysalis Remembers
September 21, 1925 – July 20, 2018
Longtime Ironwood resident Carl Mathew Kinnunen grew up in Wisconsin and attended college at the University of Wisconsin. During World War II, Kinnunen served in the U.S. Navy as a Yeoman First Class in the Pacific. He later worked as an accountant in the construction industry and in retirement was active in his church choir and with charitable causes in Gogebic and Iron counties.
McDevitt-Patrick Funeral Home & Crematory
April 15, 1964 – July 23, 2018
Jenifer Anne Kohout grew up on Air Force bases throughout the U.S. and overseas. After finishing her Bachelor’s at Duke, she earned an M.S. in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the UM Law School. In the 1990s, Kohout was an occasional columnist for Between The Lines. She later enjoyed a rich career in Alaska. Kohout was survived by her spouse Karen Komopacki.
Washington Post, August 7, 2018
January 8, 1951 – May 1, 1991
Geoffrey Martin Fine grew up in Ann Arbor and moved to New York City following high school. He appeared in a number of Off-Broadway plays before moving back to Ann Arbor in 1975 to study choreography and dance at the University of Michigan. On returning on New York, Fine pursued stand-up and volunteered with Gay Men’s Health Crisis. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 40.
Outweek, June 12, 1991
July 23, 1953 – May 1, 2019
Warren resident Chrissy Surewater attended Fordson High School in Dearborn, studied at Rochester College in Rochester, and worked at Precision Imagery and as a photographer for Ford Motor Company. She was also a longtime member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit, for three years serving as office administrator. Surewater was survived by her beloved fiancé Michelle Fox-Phillips.
Between The Lines, May 2, 2019 [online only]
January 21, 1970 – December 2, 1996
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Raishean Ali-Bai Garrett came of age and came out in Detroit in the late 1980s. He held a number of retail jobs in the fashion industry and a popular “club kid” at the Glass House, Menjo’s, Heaven, the Continental, Shoppers, and countless house parties. Before his death, Garrett moved with his sister to Columbia, South Carolina. He died from AIDS-related complications at age 26.
The State, December 3, 1996
Raishean, My Teacher and Muse
April 25, 1926 – September 5, 2015
Mary Elizabeth Pyle was born in Lansing and graduated from Lakeview Highland High School in Battle Creek in 1944, a member of its first graduating class. She was employed as a secretary with Post Cereals for more than 30 years and after retiring in the mid-1980s moved to Phoenix. Pyle was preceded in death by her partner of five decades Patsy Spahr and in her last years wintered back in Michigan.
Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society
September 7, 1922 – May 30, 1997
Detroit native Augustus Herman Rissman was better known to members of the local gay community as Gorgeous Gussy. Noted for “a gravelly voice and gruff manner,” Rissman entertained audiences throughout the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s at such Detroit bars as the Golden Slipper, LaRosa’s, the Diplomat, and the Gold Dollar.
Cruise, June 18, 1997