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James Alexon

Died: Friday, April 04, 2014
Age: 91
A memorial service for James Alexon, 91, formerly of Palm Coast, Fla., was held at the Flagler Palms Memorial Gardens May 3. Mr. Alexon died peacefully Friday, April 4, 2014, in Michigan.

He was born in Detroit. He lived in Florida for more than 30 years, and the past three years he resided in Michigan near his daughter.

From an early age he was an entrepreneur, while learning the trade of a tool and die maker. He had an engineering mind and he had always been the go-to person to solve, fix and create a solution for any concern. In his early years he was a photographer, owned his own amusement park rides, plus there were countless other ventures he experienced to earn income, with his vast drive and talents. He was always ready to help others.

In addition, he was an U.S. Army Air Corps Veteran from World War II, of which he was responsible for the design of a part that was used in a military aircraft.

Mr. Alexon and his late wife, Mary, developed many projects together, including fast food restaurants, laundromats and dry cleaners. When they were in their 50s, they made the decision to move to Florida, locating in Flagler Beach.

Mr. Alexon and his wife were the leaders, with other partners, to develop and construct a variety of commercial ventures. These included a shopping center, rentals, gas station, real estate office, flea market and mobile home park.

Mr. Alexon was predeceased by his loving wife, Mary, almost 25 years ago. He is survived by his children, Jan Hadgis (Ted), Nancy Menees (Rob) and John Alexon (Eileen) and five grandchildren, James (Blythe), Craig and Michael Hadgis, Eric Menees and Krista Alexon. He was the fifth of 11 children, and is survived by five siblings.

Donations may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice, or to Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 21800 Marter, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080.

Lois K. Smith

Died: Thursday, April 03, 2014
Age: 86
Grosse Pointe Woods resident Lois K. Smith, 86, died Thursday, April 3, 2014.

She was the beloved wife of James; loving mother of Constance (Walter Liskiewicz) and Carrie (Cynthia Swain); dear sister of Milton (Mall) Kionka, and grandmother of Ian, Erin, Matthew and Cameron.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 26, at St. James Lutheran Church, 170 McMillan Road, Grosse Pointe Farms.

Eda Palazzolo

Died: Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Age: 92
Eda Palazzolo, nee Gardella, 92, died Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

She was born Dec. 30, 1921, in Detroit, to Louis and Ione Gardella, originally of Neirone, Italy, and graduated from St. Anthony’s High School. She worked in the family furniture business, Gardella Furniture, for many years.

Mrs. Palazzolo practiced interior design for many years at Jacobson’s Design Studio, enjoying the position of top sales person several years in a row. After her retirement, she operated an interior design consulting business. Her signature design ideas were seen in many homes throughout the Pointes.

She was active in many charitable organizations throughout the years, including the Esperia Club, American Italian Business Women’s club, and Friends of Vision of The Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, and was president of St. Valerie’s Solidarity and past president of the St. Clare of Montefalco Archcon Fraternity.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Palazzolo was predeceased by her husband, Salvatore Palazzolo; daughter, Linda Duffey (the late Gordan) and brother, Louis Gardella.

She is survived by her daughter, Diana Palazzolo of California; grandson, Samuel Duffey of Culver City, Calif., and brother, Joseph Gardella, as well as many nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass was celebrated April 7 at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church, Grosse Pointe Farms.

Donations may be made to Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, 15415 E. Jefferson Ave., Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230; Capuchin Monastery, 1740 Mt. Elliott, Detroit, MI 48207; or Services for Older Citizens, 159 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236.

Share a memory at verheyden.org.

James Joseph Fielding Jr.

Died: Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Age: 92
James Joseph “Jim” Fielding Jr., 92, died peacefully Tuesday, April 1, 2014, near his home in Bedminster, N.J. He is survived by his loving wife, Nancy; their nine children, Michele (Jim), James III, Phillip (Sharon), Brian (Lynne), Barry (Beverly), Sean, Christopher (Mary), John Patrick (Heidi) and Meghan (Gregory); 16 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; his brother John; two nieces, Kathleen and Barbara and devoted friends.

The most important event for Mr. Fielding was his marriage to the light of his life, Nancy Moss Fray, Jan. 14, 1950, in Connecticut. The substance of his life centered on his family.

Mr. Fielding was born and raised in Bridgeport, Conn., the second son of Irish immigrants James Joseph and Mary Shannon Fielding, and graduated in 1938 from Bassick High School. Upon graduation, he began a career in the pharmaceutical industry, first as a stock boy for McKesson & Robbins and rising to become vice president of marketing, before moving on to vice president of marketing for Cunningham Drug in Detroit, marketing director at Parke-Davis and concluding as a marketing director for Warner-Lambert in Morris Plains, N.J.

Mr. Fielding enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, serving in the 13th Army Air Force’s 424th Bomb Squadron, where 1st Lt. Fielding became a decorated B-24 pilot, flying 51 combat missions in the South Pacific and was awarded the Silver Star. After military service, he returned to work at McKesson’s and earned a business degree with honors from Fordham University.

Mr. Fielding’s interests were many and varied, but none surpassed his competitive delight in playing tennis and his devotion to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. During his time in Detroit, he was a member of the Grosse Pointe Theatre, earning coveted “Clarence” awards for acting, directing and stage managing. He also served a term as the group’s president.

He and his wife were honored for their many years’ of volunteer work for the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology.

Mr. Fielding will be deeply missed.

A funeral service was held April 7 in Connecticut.

Donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, New York, NY 10163 or at michaeljfox.org.

Share a memory at mullinsfh.com.

James Wilson Draper

Died: Sunday, March 30, 2014
Age: 87
Grosse Pointe Farms resident James Wilson Draper, 87, died Sunday, March 30, 2014.

He was born Dec. 26, 1926, in Detroit, to Kenneth Draper and Dorothy Wilson Draper. Mr. Draper’s parents were longtime Detroiters, having descended from pioneer Detroit families of the 18th century. He was the direct descendant of James “The Puritan” Draper, who emigrated from the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Roxbury, Mass., in 1646.

Mr. Draper attended schools in Detroit and Ridgetown, Ontario, Canada, where he lived for several years during the 1930s.

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, stationed in the Pacific. He was honorably discharged in 1946 as an electrician’s mate, first class.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1949 and law degrees from the University of Michigan Law School in 1951.

Mr. Draper joined the law firm Dykema, Jones, and Wheat, now Dykema Gossett, in Detroit in 1951. He retired from the firm in 1998. In his legal career, he specialized in real estate law, particularly multi-family housing, property syndication and industrial and commercial construction. He served as general counsel to the Michigan Savings and Loan Association during the 1970s and was a charter member in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He served as chair of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and as chair of the Michigan Real Estate Standards Board for 10 years. He also performed pro bono work, often on behalf of indigent parties.

Mr. Draper had a variety of real estate and business interests in Detroit and Michigan, including ownership of the Hotel St. Regis in Detroit during the 1970s.

He was an active supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and was awarded the organization’s highest honor, the Silver Beaver, in 1971.

He was a member of numerous groups and clubs, including Country Club of Detroit, Detroit Club, Detroit Boat Club, Indian River Country Club, Racquet Club of Detroit and the Senior Men’s Club of Grosse Pointe. He was an enthusiastic member of the Grosse Pointe Geezers and regularly attended their lunches during his last years.

Mr. Draper enjoyed golf, travel, fine wine, family events and jigsaw puzzles. He spent winters in Stuart, Fla., where he and his wife kept a home for more than 30 years.

Mr. Draper is survived by his children, Catherine Ann Draper (Michael Clain); Julie Draper Fazekas (Frank), Martha Alice Draper (Douglas Grossman) and James Patrick Draper; grandchildren, Elizabeth, David and Jesse Clain and Frank Fazekas III.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 60 years, Alice Patricia, “Pat,” and sisters, Patricia Draper Holley Fireman and Marjorie Draper.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at Chas. Verheyden Funeral Home, 16300 Mack, Grosse Pointe Park. Prayers are at 7 p.m.

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 4, at the funeral home. Visitation begins at 10 a.m.

Donations may be made to the Salvation Army at salvationarmyusa.org or Capuchin Soup Kitchen, 1820 Mt. Elliott, Detroit, MI 48207.

Wil Brown

Died: Sunday, March 30, 2014
Age: 76
Grosse Pointe Farms resident Wil Brown, 76, died Sunday, March 30, 2014.

He was born in Hazard, Ky., to Arlie and Leola Morgan Brown, and graduated from Detroit Western High School in 1956. He graduated in 1960 from Wayne State University and earned a master's degree from WSU in 1973. For 40 years, Mr. Brown was a teacher and language arts consultant for Warren Consolidated Schools, and also was an instructor at Michigan State University for two years.

He enjoyed books, poetry, gardening and baseball.

Mr. Brown is survived by his beloved wife, Trudy; loving children, Kelly Bechtel (Tim) and Chris Brown (Donna), and cherished grandchildren, Taylor, Adam, Cooper and Jake. He also is survived by his sister, Fern Britton (Don) and many loving nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, in-laws, cousins, friends and colleagues.

He was predeceased by his parents.

A memorial gathering was held April 4 at Chas. Verheyden Funeral Home, Grosse Pointe Park.

Donations may be made to Autism Speaks, 2700 South River Road, Suite 304, Des Plaines, IL 60018, or at events.autismspeaks.org/tributes/wilbrown.

Share a memory at verheyden.org.

Richard Paul Clarke

Died: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Richard Paul Clarke passed away Saturday, March 29, 2014, after a four-month battle with cancer.

Born in 1938 to Richard and Ellen Clarke, of Dunmanway, Ireland, he was a lifelong Grosse Pointer attending both St. Paul and Grosse Pointe High schools. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the 82nd Airborne.

Mr. Clarke loved the water and as a young man coached the St. Paul School swim team, was a lifeguard and taught swimming at the Farms Pier and, as a merchant marine, worked the Great Lakes freighter, “Cleveland Cliffs.” As an adult, he swam in the masters swim program and was often found behind the Grosse Pointe City Norbs’ starting blocks, as a timer/cheerleader/coach for summer swim meets.

Mr. Clarke, known as Dick to family and friends, was a police officer in Detroit for a short time and was recruited to the City of Grosse Pointe as a patrolman. He completed a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Wayne State University during his tenure with the City. In addition, he was selected to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Mr. Clarke retired as Deputy Director of Public Safety. He enjoyed coordinating the Grosse Pointe Thanksgiving Parade for many years and often could be seen leading the parade. After retirement, he was elected to city council and served four years as a councilman for the City of Grosse Pointe.

Mr. Clarke enjoyed playing euchre and golf, swimming and bowling. He also enjoyed barbecuing and was often referred to by family as a grill master. His latest adventure was acting as a lighthouse keeper on Lake Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula.

Mr. Clark is survived by his wife, Kathleen Brennan Clarke; sons, Dick Clarke (Eileen) and Christopher Clarke, and grandchildren, Ronan, Quinn and Erin Clarke.

He also is survived by his siblings, Joan Clarke Vermeulen (William) and Joseph Clarke (Dolores).

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, Eugene (Judy), Robert (Ann) and Tucker (Clare ).

Visitation will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at Chas. Verheyden Funeral Home, 16300 Mack, Grosse Pointe Park. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, April 4, at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church, 157 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms. Visitation begins at 9:30 a.m. at the church.

Donations may be made to the Capuchins, 1820 Mt. Elliott, Detroit, MI 48207.

Charles Skowron M.D.

Died: Friday, March 28, 2014
Age: 94
Grosse Pointe Park resident Charles Anthony Ralph Skowron M.D., 94, passed away Friday, March 28, 2013.

He was born May 5, 1918, in Philadelphia, to Anthony and Veronica (nee Bernotas) Skowron and grew up in Collingswood, N.J. He received his undergraduate degree from Villanova University in 1939 and earned a medical degree from Georgetown University in 1942. After early graduation due to World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

After his internship at Philadelphia General Hospital, Dr. Skowron entered the U.S. Army Medical Corps in the 94th Infantry Division. He was on active duty from January 1944 through May 1946, earning a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart. He continued his military career serving as an active member of the Aerospace Medical Division of Delaware Air National Guard from August 1962 to May 1982.

Dr. Skowron received his graduate medical training in surgery at the University of Pennsylvania from October 1950 to May 1951, followed by a residency in surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lancaster, Pa., from July 1951 to June 1954, and specialized in thoracic surgery at the Overholt Thoracic Clinic in Boston from January 1955 to January 1957. He set up practice in Wilmington, Del., in 1957. He found industrial medicine intriguing and switched specialties joining Chrysler Corporation in Detroit in 1965. He retired from Chrysler in May 1983. After retirement, he practiced medicine at the Mayberry Clinic in Detroit working until 1993.

He met the love of his life, Betty Jayne Skowron, at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. The romance endured WWII while she served in the Naval Nurse Corps stationed at the Philadelphia Navy Hospital and Dr. Skowron served in Europe. After the war, the couple married and had five children, eventually settling in Grosse Pointe Park.

“Doc” was active in the Knights of Columbus at St. Clare of Montefalco Catholic Church, the American Legion Fred W. Beaudry Post 126, and Senior Men’s Club of Grosse Pointe.

Family and friends will remember him as a gentle, considerate person with integrity who loved his family and his country, traveling, photography, and the news.

Dr. Skowron is survived by his children, Elizabeth Blair (Dean), CharylAnn Maas (William), Sharon Goldsby (Christopher), Charles Skowron (Kevin Sterns) and Mary Elizabeth Savage (Mark); eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his wife of 65 years; his parents; brothers, Anthony and Ralph, and his granddaughter, Kathryn Goldsby.

As was their wish, Dr. Skowron and his wife, Betty, both having served in WWII, will be interred next to each other at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly.

Family and friends will pay their last respects at 1 p.m., Friday, April 4, at the cemetery, 4200 Belford Road, Holly.

E. Jude Huetteman

Died: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Age: 80
E. Jude Huetteman, 80, died peacefully Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at her home at Sunrise Senior Living in Ann Arbor.

Born Elinor Jude Kornmeier, Jan. 4, 1934, in Detroit, to Elinor and Eugene Kornmeier, she attended Barry College in Miami, Fla., and the University of Detroit. While at Barry, she was set up on a blind date with a visiting University of Detroit football player. After their first date during a tropical storm in 1952, she fell in love with Raymond T. Huetteman Jr. The couple married in 1954 and lived in Arlington, Va. while Mr. Huetteman served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps 1954 to 1957. Mrs. Huetteman taught first grade in Washington, D.C. and reminisced about eating ice cream cones with her husband on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Upon discharge, the couple returned to Michigan, where they raised five children, first in Grosse Pointe, and after 1972, in Ann Arbor.

Mrs. Huetteman was a proud Catholic with a mission to work for social justice. She believed in human rights and was dedicated to addressing the ills of poverty, segregation and discrimination. She was most proud of her work in the civil rights movement in Detroit in the 1960s.

Mrs. Huetteman and her husband were founders of Homes by Christmas, a group that helped rebuild homes for inner-city families following the Detroit riots in 1967. She worked with the Archdiocese of Detroit in an outreach mission volunteering in the Wayne County Jail.

She was instrumental in bringing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to speak at the Grosse Pointe High School auditorium March 14, 1968, and attended his funeral in Atlanta three weeks later. She wrote about her experiences with Dr. King for the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

Because of her commitment to the cause of civil rights and unique insight into the climate of the time, she often told her stories in local elementary schools. Her recollections of driving Dr. King to the event, the Grosse Pointe chief of police riding on the lap of Dr. King to protect him for the length of the high school driveway, and of singing “We Shall Overcome” at King’s funeral with more than 50,000 mourners were the subject of a public television documentary.

Mrs. Huetteman was adult education coordinator for the University of Michigan from 1970 to 1974. In 1980, she started her own consulting and lobbying firm, Huetteman Associates, which dealt with health care issues. She was instrumental in passage of landmark patient rights legislation regarding chemotherapy treatment in Michigan, forming a bi-partisan coalition that passed the bills with only one no-vote. That legislation was used as a model for the 1994 Medicare Cancer Coverage Act, for which she also lobbied.

She served as executive director of the Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology from 1990 to 1996 and executive director of the United Pediatric Society from 1984 to 1996. She also served on the Huron Valley Ambu-lance Board of Directors from 1987 to 2007.

Mrs. Huetteman loved lobbying and likened it to another form of adult education. She was passionate about life-long education and continued to enrich herself as a member of book clubs and senior learning programs.

After retirement she enjoyed many years as a part-time resident of Tequesta, Fla. She also studied at Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Mrs. Huetteman is survived by her husband, Ray; children, Thad Huetteman (Susan) of Arlington, Va., Beth Widmayer (Warren) of Chelsea, Sue Lee (Bob) of Howell, Mark Huetteman (Wendy) of Hinsdale, Ill., and Julie Bordo (Tony) of Evanston, Ill.; 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

She also is survived by her brothers, Gene Kornmeier (Nancy) and Tom Kornmeier (Jamie); sisters, Gail Kozlowski (Richard) and Pam Stanton and many beloved in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Donations may be made to Kay Lasante clinic in Haiti. Checks made out to Fonkoze USA with Project Kay Lasante indicated on the memo line, should be mailed to Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, 1616 Bagley, Detroit, MI 48216. Donations also may be made at bishopgumbleton.com.

A memorial celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 11, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 6805 Mast Road, Dexter, with Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Rev. Brendan Walsh and Rev. Terry Dumas, co-celebrants. Visitation begins at 10 a.m. at the church.

Ralph C. Wilson Jr.

Died: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Age: 95
Grosse Pointe Shores resident Ralph C. Wilson Jr., 95, died Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Mr. Wilson was a local businessman, philanthropist and owner of the National Football League Buffalo Bills.

A complete obituary for Mr. Wilson appears on the obituary page of the April 3, 2014, issue of the paper available on newsstands April 3 through April 9, 2014, or at grossepiontenews.com.
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