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September 18, 2014 Issue
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Margaret Louise Casazza

Died: Sunday, August 17, 2014
Age: 93
Former Grosse Pointe Farms resident Margaret Louise Casazza, 93, died Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit.

She was born April 15, 1921, in Detroit, to Adolph and Louise Conti. She first attended Nazareth College in Kalamazoo and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marygrove College in 1942.

Twenty-five years later, after having eight children and defeating cancer, Mrs. Casazza resumed her teaching career in 1967 with Detroit Public Schools, retiring from Joyce Elementary School in 1983. While teaching, she continued her education at Wayne State University to earn a permanent teaching certificate.

According to her family, Mrs. Casazza was a life-time learner, before anyone invented that term. She was an avid reader and a longtime member of the St. Clair Shores Library book club. She enjoyed book discussions that raised a diversity of ideas.

She was fascinated by history, politics and world affairs. She had opinions on national and world affairs and shared those opinions with national and church leaders through letters to them. She also wrote occasional letters to the editors of the “Detroit Free Press” and “National Catholic Reporter.”

In her retirement, Mrs. Casazza kept active volunteering as a substitute catechism teacher and with exercise classes at the Mount Clemens YMCA.

She was predeceased by her husband of 46 years, Eugene Jr.; her sister, Marie and brothers, Louis J., Joseph V. and Richard.

Mrs. Casazza considered her family her greatest joy. She is survived by her sons, Eugene L. III (Linda), Richard J. (Regina), James F. (Laura) and Robert M. (Cindie); daughters, Mary Lou (Kevin), Anne Theresa (Mark), Margaret Ellen and Catherine Marie (Walt); 19 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and many beloved cousins and friends.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church, 21201 E. 13 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Family will receive friends at the church beginning at 9:15 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Capuchin Overseas Mission, 1820 Mt. Elliott, Detroit, MI 48207.

Virginia Backus Caulkins

Died: Thursday, September 04, 2014
Age: 92
Virginia Backus Caulkins, 92, died Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, in Hobe Sound, Fla.

She was born in Detroit to Lotta and Standish Backus and graduated in 1940 from the Ethel Walker School, in Simsbury, Conn. She brought up her five children in Grosse Pointe Farms and Shores while spending summers in Manchester-by-the-Sea and Gloucester, Mass. She enjoyed many outdoor sporting activities including skiing, golfing, shooting and playing tennis and was an avid bridge player.

She was a member of the Country Club of Detroit, Grosse Pointe Club and Jupiter Island Club, as well as Tau Beta Association, Protestant Children’s Home Grosse Pointe and Garden Club of Michigan.

Mrs. Caulkins is survived by her four sons, Robin, Randolph, Standish and Timothy (Suzanne Tucker); daughter, Dr. Shelley Marks (Dr. Erik Gaensler) and grandchildren, Nicholas Gaensler and Hatley McMicking.

She was predeceased by her husbands, Gen. Alfred L. “Budd” Marks and Edward B. Caulkins Jr.; sisters, Barbara Jewett and Dorothy Lunken and brothers, Standish Backus and Charles Backus.

No funeral service will be held.

Donations may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Marian Coyle

Died: Monday, September 15, 2014
Age: 83
Marian Coyle, 83, died Monday, Sept. 15, 2014.

She was the beloved wife of Jerry; proud mother of Robert, Thomas (Elise), Patrick (Cynthia), Gerald (Marianne and Mary Louise Coyle and grandmother of Hanley, Connor, Elizabeth, Charles, William, Oliver, Gerald, Michael, John and Henry.

She also is survived by her siblings, Catherine Boettcher, Joseph Mack (Joyce) and Janet Holtgreive (James) and brother-in-law, Thomas Walsh.

She was predeceased by her sister, Margaret Walsh.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at noon Saturday, Sept. 20, at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church, 157 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms.

Donations may be made to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, 1820 Mt. Elliott, Detroit, MI 48207.

Keith A. Lawrence

Died: Thursday, September 04, 2014
Former longtime Grosse Pointe resident Keith A. Lawrence, beloved husband of Denise, loving father to Kristen, James and Keven, and grandfather of Noah, passed away Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, he remained an avid Ohio State fan, although he spent most of his life in Michigan, graduating from Grosse Pointe South High School, where he ran cross country, was involved in the band and choir programs and earned the Eagle Scout award, and Central Michigan University where he was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

Mr. Lawrence loved animals and during his lifetime owned many well-loved dogs. He owned a pet store during the 1990s, combining his career path in retail sales with his passion for animals. He began his career in retail management with S.S. Kresge Company/Kmart, was a manager with RadioShack and served as an executive with Boy Scouts of America. Most recently he worked in electrical sales at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Warren.

Travel was another of his passions and he enjoyed cruising as well as travels to Europe and Japan. Among his favorite trips were several to Hawaii and his most recent trip to Puerto Rico to celebrate his wedding anniversary.

In addition to his immediate family, Mr. Lawrence is survived by his brother, Michael Lawrence; sister, Linda Lawrence Hoke; brother-in-law, Randy and niece, Heather.

He was predeceased by his parents, Clark and Barbara Lawrence, longtime educators in Grosse Pointe and owners of Grosse Pointe Pre-Kindergarten.

Mr. Lawrence’s life was celebrated with a service Sept. 8 at E.J. Mandziuk and Son Funeral Directors in Sterling Heights, followed by interment at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society at donate.cancer.org or the Michigan Humane Society at michiganhumane/goto/Keith_Lawrence.

Florence “Curly” Ledyard

Died: Saturday, August 09, 2014
Age: 99
Florence Livingstone Odell Ledyard, also known as Curly, passed away Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. She was 99. She was born Dec. 3, 1914, in Detroit, to John Ripley Odell and Florence Mildred Livingstone and attended Liggett School in Detroit and Wayne State University.

She belonged to and volunteered for many organizations including Sigma Gamma Association, Junior League of Detroit, National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Michigan, National Farm and Garden Club of Grosse Pointe, and the Thompson Home for Women.

She had a love for her family’s genealogy and spent considerable time collecting any information possible in an attempt to one day write a family history.

Mrs. Ledyard moved to Port Huron in 1995 to be near one of her daughters. For the last few years she was a resident at the Barss Residential care facility. Their professionalism and kindness was greatly appreciated by her family.

Mrs. Ledyard is survived by her children, John (Elaine), Phyllis and Florence; grandchildren, Stephen (Janey), Henry and Meg and great-grandchildren, Scott and Thomas.

She was predeceased by her husband William Hendrie Ledyard who died Nov. 4, 1969.

A memorial service with interment will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in Detroit’s Historic Elmwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Burton Endowment Fund in care of Mark Bowden, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward, Detroit, MI 48202.

The Smith Family Funeral Home North, 1525 Hancock Street, Port Huron, is handling arrangements.

Mark Mitchell Noble

Died: Friday, August 29, 2014
Age: 67
Former Grosse Pointe Shores resident Mark Mitchell Noble, 67, of Santa Barbara, Calif., died, surrounded by his loving family, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, at Indiana University Medical Center while awaiting an organ transplant.

Mr. Noble was an honor graduate of Grosse Pointe High School. He earned two engineering degrees from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University.

He began his career at Chrysler Corporation as a fuel systems engineer. In 1980, he moved to California and, shortly thereafter, formed his own company, Noble Engineering. The company specialized in automotive engineering consultation and accident reconstruction, serving clients through the United States and the Far East.

California was an ideal place for Mr. Noble to fulfill his passion for sailing that began in high school. Before moving to California, he sailed from Bayview Yacht Club and the Detroit Yacht Club and participated in numerous races, including the annual Mackinac races. When he moved to Santa Barbara, he joined the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and acquired his beloved J-105 sailboat, Escapade.

He found joy in sailing in races and regattas with his crew. Through the years, they won many national offshore, fleet and club championships.

According to Mr. Noble’s family, their grief is tempered by the gratitude they feel for his life — especially the courageous battle he staged this past year. His zest for living and his determination to live every moment serve as an inspiration to them all.

Mr. Noble is survived by his cherished family: parents, Peg and Russ Noble of Grosse Pointe Shores; sisters, Dr. Nancy Noble Dodge (Michael) of Grand Rapids and Sandy Noble Streberger (Jeff) of Grosse Pointe Woods; nephew, Philip Carlton Dodge of Santa Barbara; nieces, Katie Noble Taylor (Matt) of Naperville, Ill., and Emma Leigh Streberger of Grosse Pointe Woods; and his loving partner, Tara Mulligan Stoker of Santa Barbara.

Committal to the sea services will be held at sundown, Friday, Oct. 10. A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at El Montecito Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara.

Donations may be made to Donate Life at donatelife.net, Stand Up To Cancer at standup2cancer.org or the Michigan Humane Society at michiganhumane.org.

Martha Jane Nyboer

Died: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
City of Grosse Pointe resident Martha Jane Nyboer, 103, died Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, peacefully in her home of almost 60 years.

She was born Nov. 22, 1910, in Marengo, Ill., and her family moved to Detroit in the 1920s. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education in 1933 after attending Oberlin Kindergarten Primary Training School and the University of Michigan. In 1939, she married Dr. Jan Nyboer of Holland, Mich., who died in 2000.

Mrs. Nyboer was involved in activities at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church such as sewing, charity projects and music programs. She enjoyed entertaining family and friends in her home. She and her husband had many travel adventures which took them around the world to places such as Paris, Prague and India. Mrs. Nyboer would take along her watercolors to these destinations and capture the scenes that interested her.

Another great interest was gardening and she was a loyal member of the Grand Marais Branch garden club. She also was an active member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority until recent years.

Mrs. Nyboer is survived by her daughter, Gretchen Perla (Ron); sons, Jan Nyboer (Bernadine), Peter Nyboer and Lee Nyboer (Anne); eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

The family wishes to extend a special thanks to the Stephen Ministry for their care and friendship.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms.

Donations may be made to Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236-3783 or Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake at


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