Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In Memoriam: Rich Kormelink

J. Richard (Rich) Kormelink, co-founder of PFLAG Tri-Cities and a retired biology Delta College professor, died on June 2, 2008 in Wyoming, Michigan.

Rich is survived by his loving wife, companion and friend, Barbara Anne Johnson Kormelink and three children: Jeffrey, (Diane) of Grand Rapids, Karen Kormelink and companion Pam Shaff of Baltimore Md, Gregory (Juliette) of Grand Rapids, as well as 5 grandchildren and one great grandson.

Words from his wife, Barbara, another co-founder:

"Rich Kormelink was an educator before all else. 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 (PFLAG) 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."

Rich retired as an associate professor of Biology from Delta Community College, University Center, Michigan where he was awarded the coveted Bergstein Award for Teaching Excellence in 1966. He was a collaborator on many editions of Biology Texts, Pre-Nursing Texts and an Environmental Science Text 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, Michigan.

The bodily remains were cremated and a memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, August 2, 2008 at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Midland, 6220 Jefferson, Midland, MI at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contribute to PFLAG Tri-Cities, P.O. Box 834, Bay City MI 48707-0834 or Delta College, University Center, MI 48710.

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