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Obituaries


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Judith Alice Jacobs

Died: Monday, September 10, 2012
Age: 69
Judith Alice Jacobs, 69, of Clinton Township, died Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, after a courageous decade-long battle with cancer.

She was the beloved daughter of Christopher and Alice (nee Maten) Hill, who predeceased her. She will be remembered by many loving and devoted friends, many of whom surrounded her at the time of her passing.

Ms. Jacobs was a devoted teacher with a deep love of children and a commitment to education. She dedicated 27 years of her life to the profession, retiring in 1992 from Lake Shore Public Schools in St. Clair Shores.

Joy Ann Gardner

Died: Sunday, September 09, 2012
Age: 84
Former Grosse Pointe Park resident Joy Ann Gardner, 84, passed away Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, at Munson Hospice House in Traverse City, with family by her side.

She was born June 25, 1928, in Detroit, to Russell and Edith Lowther. She grew up in the Detroit area graduating from Eastern High School and Michigan State University. While in East Lansing, she was a proud member of Sigma Kappa Sorority, from which she made lifetime friendships. On Sept. 2, 1950, she eloped with her high school sweetheart, Joe Gardner, in Angola, Ind., marking 62 years of marriage this month.

Mrs. Gardner was an elementary school teacher in Detroit before beginning her family. She also was an active volunteer with St. Columba Episcopal Church. She and her husband relocated to Traverse City in 1980.

Her family said Mrs. Gardner was a loving wife and mother and proud grandmother. She dearly enjoyed traveling with General Electric dealer trips, the Nomads Flying Club, and yearly trips to Perdido Key, Fla., making many friends along the way.

She was an avid reader and could often be found walking, golfing and enjoying time with family and friends. She was a former member of Lost Lake Woods Club and the Traverse City Golf and Country Club. She was a member of Grace Episcopal Church and will be deeply missed.

Mrs. Gardner is survived by her husband, Joe; children, Janet Pachnik (J.P.) of New Haven, Jack Gardner (Cecilia) of Dexter and Jeff Gardner (Mary Beth) of Traverse City; grandchildren, Kate, Russ, Joe, Maggie, Molly Kate, Caroline and Lena; two great-grandsons and many other loving family members and friends.

A private service will be held at a later date.

Donations may be made to Munson Hospice, 1105 Sixth Street, Traverse City, MI 49684 or to Grace Episcopal Church, 341 Washington St., Traverse City, MI 49684.

Share a memory at reynolds-jonkhoff.com.

Susan Skae Cortner

Died: Saturday, September 08, 2012
Age: 65
Susan “Susie” Skae Cortner, 65, died peacefully, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, with her husband by her side.

Born June 8, 1947, in Detroit, she was predeceased by her mother and father, Jean Derrick Skae and Edward Askin Skae. She is survived by her husband, Gary; sisters, Anne Skae of Atlanta, Ga., and Judy O’Brien (M.J.) of Roanoke, Va.; brothers, Edward Skae (Catherine) of Lake Forest, Ill., and John Skae of St. Louis, Mo., and stepdaughter, Jamie Cortner Fiest (Adam) and sons, Cameron and Grant, all of Cleveland.

She also leaves behind more than 50 cousins, nieces and nephews and a huge, loving circle of friends.

Her family said Mrs. Cortner had the ability to light up a room wherever she went with her infectious energy and warm smile. Her uncanny talent for making friends was well admired as was her mantra for living every day to the fullest. She will be remembered by all for her wisdom, kindness, generosity and great sense of fun.

An avid golfer and tennis player, Mrs. Cortner was also a passionate photographer. She was a lifelong, active member of Tau Beta and served as a trustee on the current Tau Beta Board.

A highlight of her life was spending summers in Harbor Springs with her family and friends. Perhaps one of her greatest accomplishments was the development of her own line of women’s luxury clothing called “Something Wonderful,” for which she held trunk shows across the United States.

A celebration of Mrs. Cortner’s life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Grosse Pointe Club, 6 Berkshire Place, Grosse Pointe Farms.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The National Kidney Foundation Inc., 30 East 33rd St., New York, NY 10016 or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Share a memory at verheyden.org.

Benjamin Joseph Burns

Died: Friday, September 07, 2012
Age: 72
City of Grosse Pointe resident Benjamin Joseph Burns, 72, died Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, after a long battle with a rare blood disorder. For several years, he wrote the community information column, FYI, for the Grosse Pointe News.

Mr. Burns earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in history from Michigan State University, where he was editor of the student newspaper and a member of the varsity fencing team.

He began his journalism career at United Press International, covering the Michigan Legislature from 1963 to 1964.

Before joining The Detroit News in 1976 as assistant managing editor, Mr. Burns was a reporter and editor for the Lansing State Journal, Paddock Publications in suburban Chicago, the Miami Herald and the Colorado Springs Sun.

He left The News in 1981 to become vice president and publisher of Times Graphics Inc., a New Jersey-based subsidiary of the Evening News Association, which then was The News’ parent company. He returned to Detroit in 1983 as executive editor of The News, a position he held until 1986, when he became chief administrative editor.

After leaving The News, he became editor and publisher of the Macomb Daily and the Daily Tribune of Royal Oak in 1988.

A member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, he joined the Wayne State faculty in 1991.

Mr. Burns was instrumental in developing the Rosa Parks Foundation and the Journalism Institute for Minorities at Wayne State.

He was a member of Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, where he served as deacon, elder, chairman of the personnel committee and chairman of the communications council.

In addition, he helped raise money for the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes and the Salvation Army; served as president of the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists; and helped to found the Michigan Citizens Freedom of Information Act Committee.

Mr. Burns is survived by his wife of 38 years, Beverly; daughters, Blakely and Bethany; sons, Ben and James and six grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Sept. 11 at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Rose Mullen Asmus

Died: Thursday, September 06, 2012
Age: 88
Grosse Pointe Woods resident Rose “Kirky” Mullen Asmus, 88, passed away peacefully Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, at home after a long battle with Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

She was born in 1924 in Fairpoint, Ohio, to Dan and Emma (nee Hepner) Krkovich. Her family moved to the Detroit area where she graduated from Highland Park High School.

She married Donald M. Mullen in 1947 and together they raised their two children in Grosse Pointe Farms, until Mr. Mullen’s death in 1985.

In 1993, she married Louis C. Asmus with whom she shared many wonderful years.

The youngest of three children, “Kirky” loved to dance, play cards, was an avid golfer and a member of St. Clair Golf Club. She enjoyed traveling to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and to her cottage in northern Michigan with family. She was a longtime member of Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church in Detroit.

Her career began as a court reporter in the Wayne County Court system and ended as a sales consultant for Viviane Woodard Cosmetics.

Her family said Mrs. Asmus was a statuesque beauty; a bright and energetic woman with a great sense of fun, who commanded the attention of every room she entered. She was loved by all who knew her and will be greatly missed.

Mrs. Asmus is survived by her loving husband, Louis C. Asmus; son, Michael Mullen (Ann Spitzley); daughter, Leslie Rentschler (Douglas); stepdaughter, Jennifer Sullivan (Joe); stepson, Louis Asmus (Stephanie); grandchildren, Eve Breitmeyer (fiancé Koebe Mosher), Alex Breitmeyer, Lauren Rentschler, Patrick Sullivan and Molly, Katie and Ben Asmus; sister, Pearl Moffatt and many loving nephews, family and friends.

Mrs. Asmus was predeceased by her first husband, Donald M. Mullen and her brother, Albert Kirk.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, 8625 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit.

Visitation begins at 9 a.m. at the church.

Donations may be made to Hospice of Michigan, 16250 Northland Drive, Suite 212, Southfield, MI 48075 or to Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, 8625 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48214.

Evelyn Grace Legato

Died: Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Age: 90
Evelyn Grace Legato, 90, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.

She was born Dec. 4, 1921, in Detroit, to Grace and Angelo DiGirolomo. She married Joseph H. Legato in 1939 and they spent their lives building a family in the Detroit and Grosse Pointe areas.

Her family said Mrs. Legato was a pillar of strength and was passionate about a life focused on the love of her family. She often mentioned she had much to live for because of the legacy she had created and her desire to be present for the accomplishments of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was proud of her Italian heritage and celebrated her faith every day.

She loved to entertain and cook for others, as well as decorate her house and dress up for holidays and special occasions. She had a knack of making everyone feel welcome and looked at life in a positive way, always counting her blessings.

Mrs. Legato is survived by her daughter, Bonnie Lucido (Frank) and son, Bartheld Legato; grandchildren, Frances Lucido Mirkazemi, Eva Welsher, Lisa Thams, Frank Lucido Jr. and Catie Mager, as well as 15 great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband, Joseph; sons, Thomas and Augustus Legato; sister, Viola Sweetman and brothers, Frank and Roy DiGirolomo.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 10 at St. Philomena Catholic Church in Detroit.

Donations may be made to The Capuchins, 1750 Mt. Elliott St., Detroit, MI 48207.

Lowell D. Ferguson

Died: Saturday, September 01, 2012
Age: 77
Lowell D. Ferguson, 77, of Grosse Pointe Park and Gaylord, died Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Gaylord.

Born Dec. 18, 1934, in Lafayette, Ind., to John E. and Catherine S. (nee Douglas) Ferguson, he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University and did doctoral work at the University of Illinois.

With his background in engineering physics, Mr. Ferguson worked at Bendix Research Labs and later at General Dynamics Land Systems, from where he retired in 2002 as a project manager. He worked extensively on projects related to national defense and with NASA, where he was involved in projects with early space travel and the Apollo projects.

He was actively involved at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, where he had been clerk of session and an elder.

Predeceased by his first wife, Margaret, in 1982, Mr. Ferguson married Janet (nee McDonald) Baetz May 17, 1986, who survives him. He also is survived by sons, Kent Ferguson (Stefanie) of Las Vegas, Mark Ferguson of Utica, Craig Baetz (Katherine) of Grosse Pointe Farms and Robert Baetz of Grosse Pointe; grandchildren, Kimberley, Kaitlyn and Kelly Baetz and Zachary, Jordan and Gabriel Baetz; sisters, Anne Walter of Ohio and Lois Sahm of Indiana and brother, Richard Ferguson of California.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept 8, at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church.

Share a memory and photos at gaylordfuneralhome.com.

Eleanor Ball

Died: Friday, August 31, 2012
Age: 97
Eleanor Ball, 97, passed away Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, at Church of Christ Care Center in Clinton Township.

She was born Oct. 24, 1914, in Saginaw to Leon and Alice (nee Secor) Cotton.

She married the love of her life, Kenneth Ball, May 11, 1940, in Ferndale. They enjoyed 38 years together until his death May 30, 1978.

Her family said that to say Mrs. Ball loved to play bridge is an understatement. She belonged to numerous card clubs and would play as many as three times a week well into her 90s. She played throughout the Grosse Pointe area, including clubs at St. Joan of Arc, the Grosse Pointe War Memorial and with the Grosse Pointe Seniors. She was blessed with a healthy body and sharp mind until June.

She was also a member of the Eastern Star.

Mrs. Ball is survived by her loving daughter, Donna Sill (Allen) and her sister, Jeannette Fidler (the late John); as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by her brother, Robert Cotton and her sister, Elizabeth Gurman.

A funeral service was held Sept. 4 at A.H. Peters Funeral Home, Grosse Pointe Woods. She will be buried next to her beloved Kenneth at Oakview Cemetery in Royal Oak.

Dean P. Brunke

Died: Friday, August 31, 2012
Age: 77
Grosse Pointe Farms resident Dean Parker Brunke, 77, passed away Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.

He was born June 25, 1935, in Detroit, to Russell and Elsie Brunke. He graduated from Grosse Pointe High School and attended Wayne State University for two years.

Mr. Brunke served in the U.S. Navy as a cryptologic technician, Petty Officer 3rd Class. In 1961, he married Ann Bacon. He worked as a purchaser for Michigan Bell Telephone Company.

He enjoyed playing cards, golf and watching sports, especially baseball and football. He also enjoyed bird watching, reading and photography.

Mr. Brunke was a member of the American Legion, Veterans’ Club, Elks, Grosse Pointe Senior Men’s Club, Men’s and Women’s Garden Club and Rose Society. He also was a past president of the Fraternal Order of Police, and newsletter editor for the Grosse Pointe Orchid Society.

Mr. Brunke is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Ann, and his children, Russell Dean Brunke and Susan Deann Brunke.

He was predeceased by his parents, Russell and Elsie Brunke.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 20475 Sunning-dale Park, Grosse Pointe Woods, with interment at Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit.

Donations may be made to the Oasis Bird Sanctu-ary Foundation Ltd., P.O. Box 2166, Scottsdale, AZ 85252.

Share a memory at ahpeters.com.

Helen Ferry

Died: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Age: 93
Helen Ferry, 93, formerly of Grosse Pointe Woods, Suttons Bay and Bella Vista, Ark., died Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, at Circle of Life Hospice in Bentonville, Ark. She was born Sept. 23, 1918, in Milburn, Ill.

Mrs. Ferry, a registered nurse, graduated from St. Therese School of Nursing in Waukegan, Ill. She practiced nursing at Bon Secours Hospital in Grosse Pointe until she retired in 1975.

She and her husband, William, moved to Gravette, Ark., and then to Bella Vista. They were active in the square dance and round dance community. She was a volunteer for Helping Hands in Bentonville and the Gravette Library.

Mrs. Ferry was predeceased by her parents; six siblings; her husband, William, and her son, William Brian Ferry.

She is survived by her daughters, Dawneane K. Munn of Lincoln, Neb., and Deborah Robbins of Princeton, N.J.; grandsons, Andrew Suddith, Matthew Robbins, William Brian Ferry Jr., R. Todd Ferry and Scott Ferry and two great-grandchildren.

A celebration of her life was held Sept. 1 at the Presbyterian Church of Bella Vista.

Donations may be made to the church at 1880 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista, AR 72715.
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