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Obituaries


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Mary Virginia Place

Died: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Age: 88
Mary Virginia Place, 88, passed away Thursday, April 19, 2012, at Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak after a long illness.

Born Mary Virginia Shuck July 15, 1923, in West Virginia, she was the daughter of Issac Shuck and Beatrice Meadows. A Detroit area resident since the 1940s, Mrs. Place, her husband, Donald, and her four children moved to St. Clair Street in the City of Grosse Pointe in 1960. She lived in her home on St. Clair until shortly before her death.

Mrs. Place was predeceased by her husband in 1991.

She is survived by her children, Kurt Shuck, Donald Place, Susan Place and Lyle Place; grandchildren, Jessie Place, Christina Place, Jeffrey Place and Brian Place and great-granddaughter, Rose Place.

Howard Austin Lee

Died: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Age: 94
Howard Austin Lee, 94, died Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

A life-long Grosse Pointer, he was born April 10, 1918, and lived his entire life within a few blocks of his boyhood home on Kercheval. His Neighborhood Club baseball team was the Saints and the players became great friends. His baseball prowess caught the eye of Barbara Emmons. They married in 1942 and had three sons.

Mr. Lee served in the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps during World War II and then worked for Uniroyal Corp. He graduated from Wayne State University in 1974 and was an avid reader. He could often be seen in the public libraries and Borders book store. He started running in his 50s with the Belle Isle Runners, and won some medals along the way. He participated in a drama club, reading plays and also loved to sail. The highlight of his week for decades was bowling with the Senior Men’s Club of Grosse Pointe. His best game was a 279.

Mr. Lee’s family said he will be remembered for his sunny disposition. He was a great dad who enjoyed camping in Ludington and coaching Little League and was a wonderful grandfather who spoiled his grandchildren with lots of love.

Mr. Lee is survived his sons, Wilford (Carol), Christopher (Cathy) and Lincoln (Janet); grandchildren, John, Tony, Tara, Jeremy, C.J., Cassie, Mary Lou, Charlotte, Matthew, David, Darren, Dana and Darcy, and great-granddaughter, Evelyn. He also is survived by his sister, Dorothy Parks.

He was predeceased by his brother, Harold and sister, Marie Kruel.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 21, at Neff Park, City of Grosse Pointe.

Virginia Claire Schrom

Died: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Age: 75
Virginia Claire Schrom died peacefully Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at her home after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer.

She was born Nov. 14, 1936, in Finley, Ohio, to Dr. Harlow Kent Van Buren and Clara Elizabeth Krueger. She graduated from Carey High School in 1954 and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from The Ohio State University. Upon graduation in 1958, she accepted a teaching position in the Grosse Pointe Public School System.

She began teaching at Defer Elementary School where, she met Donald R. Schrom on their first day of teaching. The couple married July 1, 1961.

Mrs. Schrom, known to family and friends as “Ginger,” taught first and second grades for five years and then substitute taught the next 10 years.

Handwork was a passion for Mrs. Schrom. She loved crewel embroidery, cross stitching, and most of all, knitting. In her later years, she was involved in knitting for children around the world, creating designs of more than 40 sweaters and knit the sweaters herself. She mailed these sweaters to children in need through the organization “Knit for Kids.” She accomplished this while battling COPD and cancer.

Mrs. Schrom was a longtime member of IBEX and was president during the organization’s fifth-year celebration. She was also a member of the Junior Detroit Symphony and the Grosse Pointe Tri Delta Alumnae group.

Her family said her smile, love and internal strength will be missed by those people whose lives she touched so many ways during her lifetime.

Mrs. Schrom is survived by Don, her husband of nearly 51 years; daughter Claire Gordon and grandchildren, Hadley Claire Gordon, Britton William Gordon, Benjamin Schrom Gordon and Charles Taggart Gordon.

She also is survived by her brothers, Stanley Kent Van Buren (Janet) and Dr. Ronald Carl Van Buren (Glenda) and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held Tuesday, April 24, at St. James Lutheran Church in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Donations may be sent to Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation 3911 Beaubien, Detroit, MI 48201 or at chmfoundation.org/donation or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Robert Bruce Forni

Died: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Age: 86
Robert Bruce Forni, “Bob,” passed away Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at his home at Sunrise of Grosse Pointe Woods. He was 86.

He was born in 1925 in Steubenville, Ohio, the only son of Albert and Flora Forni. As a young man, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II and returned home to complete his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree at The Ohio State University in 1948. Soon after graduation, he met and married Janis Ott and they eventually settled in Toledo, Ohio, where he founded Ott & Forni Personnel Specialists, as well as a charter office for Detroit-based Kelly Services.

In 1975, Mr. Forni and his wife closed their Ohio business and moved to Stuart, Fla., where he opened Marine Propulsion, a company providing marine engine, transmission and generator rebuilding and repair services.

Mr. Forni enjoyed family time, cars, boating, gun collecting and good friendships and was an active member of the Toledo Yacht Club.

In passing, he joins his beloved wife, Janis, and is survived by his son, Bruce (Mary Sue) of Grosse Pointe Farms, and daughter, Lynn Bohnengel (Andrew) of Sylvania, Ohio. He also is survived by, and was the proud “Papa” of, grandchildren, Kristen Conn, Travis Diehl, Mills Forni and Sara Forni and great-grandchildren, Ayla, Merrick and Lily.

Family and friends are invited to a remembrance service from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 25, at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Disabled American Veterans at dav.org or a local humane society.

Marie Annette Nowosielski

Died: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Age: 80
Grosse Pointe Farms resident Marie Annette Nowosielski, nee Kowaleski, passed away peacefully Saturday, April 14, 2012, at Beaumont Hospital Grosse Pointe under hospice care. She was 80.

She was born in Wyandotte to Walter S. and Lottie E. Kowaleski and attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. She attended Wayne State University and worked at McCann Erickson advertising then located in the Penobscot Building in downtown Detroit. She was a former Miss Penobscot. She then worked as a bookkeeper for her husband, Peter F. Nowosielski MD.

Mrs. Nowosielski was a trustee of Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, a tireless volunteer for Orchard Lake Schools, Bon Secours Assistance League, St. John Fontbonne Auxiliary, Macomb County Medical Society Auxiliary and a consummate hostess. In retirement, she continued her philanthropic efforts on Marco Island, Fla., with San Marco Catholic Church and various newcomer’s, women’s and alumni clubs. She also was a founding member of the Marco Island Historical Society.

She enjoyed gourmet cooking, entertaining at home for various organizations, playing bridge and needlepointing.

Mrs. Nowosielski is survived by her loving children, M. Cathy Nowosielski M.D. (Jeffrey N. Lutz), Laura M. Nowosielski M.D. (Martin S. Gillieson M.D.) and Camille M. (Stephen) Lloyd and her grandchildren, Andrew and Ryan Lutz and John and Erin Lloyd. She also is survived by her sisters, Helen Perry, Virginia Melotti, Camille Patterson.

She was predeceased by her husband and her brothers, John Kowaleski M.D. and Albert Kowaleski.

A Mass of the Resurrection will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake, 3535 Indian Trail, Orchard Lake.

Donations may be made to Orchard Lake Schools, 33535 Indian Trail, Orchard Lake, MI 48324 or Beaumont Hospice, Beaumont Foundation, P.O. Box 5802, Troy, MI 48007-9620.

George Edward Snyder

Died: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Age: 78
George Edward Snyder, 78, died Sunday, April 1, 2012.

He was the beloved husband of Claudia (nee Gage) for 28 years; dear father of Sara Lynn Snyder and Elizabeth Jane “Beth” Snyder (Charles) Dierkes; loving stepfather of Charles Alexander “Alec” Brooks (fiancée Katrina) and Claudia Cecelia “Cary” (Scott) Jarnac and cherished grandfather of 10.

He also is survived by his sister, Mary Elizabeth Snyder (Edward James III) Casey and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 25, at Christ Church Cranbrook, 470 Church Road, Bloomfield Hills.

Hugh Nutter

Died: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Age: 85
Hugh Nutter, 85, died Tuesday, April 17, 2012, after a long, fun and adventure-filled life.

He was born May 16, 1926, in Montreal, Canada, to Marie Russel and Augustin Nutter, and soon moved to Grosse Pointe, where he grew up with his mother and older brother, Russ. His father died when he was an infant.

He spent two years in the U.S. Navy, graduated from Cornell University, was employed by General Electric in Detroit, then self-employed as an electronics engineer.

He married Suzanne Schlaff in 1953. The couple moved to Del Mar, Calif., in 1966, and enjoyed more than 40 years in their home on “top of the hill” on Serpentine Drive.

Mr. Nutter invented the parking lot “ticket-spitter” at age 24, and a device that closes the convertible top of a car when it senses rain. He invented the Visiguide, used at the San Diego Zoo for many years, the random-access information machine and other unique electronic devices.

Mr. Nutter and his wife started the San Diego Backgammon Club, and enjoyed tennis, golf, bridge, backgammon, trading houses throughout the country, big family trips, jokes, pranks and almost any new adventure. He was also an avid sailor and scuba diver.

He lived at La Costa Glen in Carlsbad, Calif., the last five years, where he was often seen racing around on his scooter and organizing resident outings.

Mr. Nutter is survived by his wife, Sue Schlaff Nutter; children, Patrice, Nick, Jay and Ted and his grandchildren, Brooke, Tim, Lauren, William and Forest. He will be missed at the Wizard game table.

Hugo Scherer Higbie

Died: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Age: 85
Hugo Scherer Higbie, founder of Higbie Maxon Agney Realtors in Grosse Pointe Farms, died at his home Saturday, April 14, 2012. He was 85.

A life-long Grosse Pointe resident, Mr. Higbie sold real estate for more than 62 years. His love for the community was chronicled in the newsletter of his real estate firm in a column entitled “Hugo’s Corner.” In a 1995 issue, he reminisced about the days when a prominent Grosse Pointe family was subdividing their estate that ran from the lake to Mack Avenue — and the property was selling for $2,500 a lot. Mr. Higbie was always known to say, “Grosse Pointe is the best kept secret.”

After graduating from the Taft School in Connecticut and Williams College in Massachusetts, Mr. Higbie entered the real estate business July 6, 1948, with the firm of Sweeney & Moore. He served as sales manager and officer until 1967. Along with general brokerage, Sweeney & Moore was prominent in the development of many well-known Grosse Pointe subdivisions.

In 1967, Mr. Higbie founded the Higbie Realty Company. He acquired Maxon Brothers Real Estate in 1972 and renamed the joined firms, Higbie Maxon Realtors Inc. In 2000, the name of the firm was again changed to Higbie Maxon Agney, when Kay Agney became a co-owner.

He served as treasurer and president of the Grosse Pointe Brokers Association, was active in the Grosse Pointe Real Estate Exchange and was a founding member of the Grosse Pointe Board of Realtors.

Mr. Higbie served on the boards of the Episcopal Church Foundation, New York, N.Y.; University Liggett School, Grosse Pointe Woods; Grosse Pointe Farms Foundation; Cottage Hospital, now Henry Ford Cottage, Grosse Pointe Farms; Grosse Pointe Farms Beautification Commis-sion and was a member of the Christ Church Grosse Pointe Vestry. He, along with his wife, “Slim,” was a 30-year member of the Christ Church chorale and sang in the Berkshire Choral Festival in Sheffield, Mass., for more than a decade.

Mr. Higbie’s wife, Marian Chapin Higbie, whom he married in 1954, died in 2007. He is survived by his children, Mark Scherer Higbie of Grosse Pointe Farms, Faye Tiedeman Higbie of Grosse Pointe, Katrina Higbie Lowe of Rowayton, Conn., and Hope Higbie Philson of Walpole, N.H.; grandchildren, William and Carsten Higbie of Grosse Pointe Farms, and Oliver, Avery and Brooke Lowe of Rowayton, Conn.

A memorial service celebrating Mr. Higbie’s life is being planned and will take place at Christ Church Grosse Pointe, 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd. For additional details, call Christ Church Grosse Pointe at (313) 885-4841.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ Church Grosse Pointe - DeHaven Endow-ment for Music, 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd., Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236.

Virginia M. Florance

Died: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Age: 94
Virginia M. Florance, of Grosse Pointe Park and Sun City Center, Fla., passed away Saturday, April 14, 2012. She was 94.

A life-long resident of Grosse Pointe, she retired as a secretary for General Motors Corp. and was a past president of the Bon Secours Guild.

She was predeceased by her husband, Warren Florance, and her brother, Hudson Bradley.

Mrs. Florance is survived by her children, James (Marian) Florance, Daniel (Virginia) Florance, Mary (Donald) Caruso, Frances (Gary) Bucholz, and Douglas (Becky) Florance; eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A memorial will be held at a future date.

Daniel Manthe

Died: Friday, April 13, 2012
Grosse Pointe Farms resident Daniel Manthe passed away Friday, April 13, 2012, following complications from a recent stroke.

Born in 1931 to Rein-hold and Mollie Manthe, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1953 and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1958. He was a member of Zeta Chi fraternity.

Mr. Manthe’s educational roles ranged from teacher to counselor to one of the first operatives for the Michigan Education Association to the associate superintendent of governmental relations of Wayne County.

His friends said while many shy from the term lobbyist, Mr. Manthe represented the children of Wayne County without apology. He was a friend and advocate for the Detroit Public Schools, the City of Hamtramck and all districts in Wayne County.

He represented the students in districts who needed help with after school poverty programs or disability services and those who benefited from increased library services or bonding or school board elections. He understood how to put all the pieces together to get a piece of legislation enacted and how that legislation would affect the school districts and students he represented.

Mr. Manthe was known as a gentleman and an astute observer and legislative technician. Others sought him out for his expertise.

His family said he never uttered an unkind word or phrase and was ahead of his time in supporting women in the professional ranks.

He was also known for playing a fine hand of poker when those games were held in legislators’ offices late in the evening after session.

Mr. Manthe is survived by his daughters, Kathleen and Lisa, and his brother, Cornelious.

He was predeceased by his wife, Patricia Manthe (nee Landino).

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, May 18, at the Bayview Yacht Club, 100 Clairpointe, Detroit.

Donations may be made to the Scholarship Committee Wayne County Community College District, 801 Fort Street, Detroit, MI 48226.
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