PFLAG Tri-Cities co-founder died

BTL Staff
By | 2008-07-31T09:00:00-04:00 July 31st, 2008|News|

J. Richard (Rich) Kormelink, co-founder of the Midland, Bay City and Saginaw chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG Tri-Cities) and retired biology Delta College professor, died on June 2 in Wyoming, Mich. He was formerly of Bay City.
Rich Kormelink was survived by his loving wife, companion and friend, Barbara Anne Johnson Kormelink and three children: Jeffrey (Diane) of Grand Rapids, Karen Kormelink and partner Pam Shaff of Baltimore Md., Gregory (Juliette) of Grand Rapids, as well as five grandchildren and one great grandson.
“Rich Kormelink was an educator before all else,” recalls wife Barbara, who co-founded PFLAG Tri-Cities with her husband. “He spent his life teaching and enjoyed it very much. When his daughter came out to him, he was determined to teach as much of the world as he could reach that being gay or lesbian was a natural thing and so he did to the end of his life. He co-founded the local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Tri-Cities in 1985 and often shared his experiences as a parent with other parents who were seeking knowledge. Rich helped hundreds of families accept their own sexuality and that of their children and others.”
Richard Kormelink retired as an associate professor of biology from Delta Community College in the Tri-City area, where he was awarded the coveted Bergstein Award for Teaching Excellence in 1966. He was a collaborator on many editions of biology, pre-nursing and environmental science textbooks for college students.
After retirement, Kormelink volunteered with PFLAG and at the local chapter of the American Red Cross. He spent the last few years of his life at Aurora Pond retirement center in Wyoming, Mich.
The bodily remains were cremated and a memorial service to celebrate his life will be held 2 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Midland, located at 6220 Jefferson.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to PFLAG Tri-Cities, P.O. Box 834, Bay City, Mich., 48707, or Delta College, University Center, Mich., 48710, will be accepted.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.