Died: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Former Grosse Pointe resident Thomas Henry Auch of Edison, N.J., died Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. He was 82.
He was born June 26, 1931, in Detroit, to Frederick and Beatrice (nee Higgins) Auch and grew up in Grosse Pointe Park. He graduated from Grosse Pointe High School in 1949 and the University of Michigan in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Farleigh Dickinson University in 1980. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1958. After service, he worked for IBM and then Oakland Community College.
In 1968, Mr. Auch was one of three college administrators hired to begin Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County, N.J., where he worked 22 years and saw the college from its infancy to a valued community resource. He served as vice president of finance and administration, as well as interim president on a number of occasions during his tenure at Brookdale. He then was vice president at Montclair State University until he retired in 1996. He helped form other community colleges in New Jersey.
Mr. Auch was a founding member of the World War II center at Brookdale, chairman of the New Jersey County College Business Officers Association and an evaluator for Middle States Accreditation Association.
His family said he was a loving father and inspired family and friends with his work ethic, sense of humor and love of play. He enjoyed playing the ukulele and was a proud past member of the Grunyons singing group. He also enjoyed bridge, tennis and golf and was a huge University of Michigan sports fan. He had a zest for life and always had a twinkle in his eye.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Auch was predeceased by his beloved companion, Joan K. Davidson; brother, Walter Auch (Patricia); sister, Betty Parr and sister-in-law, Jean Cotter Auch.
He is survived by his loving daughter, Julie Auch (Rick Brown) and her mother, Jean Corbett Auch; brothers, G. William “Bill” Auch (Sue) and Fred Auch.
A memorial service was held March 2 in Red Bank, N.J.
Donations may be made to the Brookdale Community College Foundation, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738.
Died: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Stuart Hyland Cammett Jr., of Naples, Fla., 83, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. He lived in Grosse Pointe 50 years before moving to Naples in 2010.
He was born Jan. 27, 1931, to Stuart H. Cammett Sr. and Belle (nee McKay) Cammett and graduated from Southeastern High School in Detroit. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Michigan. He also studied abroad in Perugia, Italy.
Mr. Cammett was president of Chrysler Realty in charge of all corporate owned dealerships in the United States and negotiated all leases with Chrysler dealers throughout the country until his retirement in 1991. He was the former chairman of the National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives.
Mr. Cammett was a member of Indian Village Tennis Club, former member of Gowanie Golf Club and Vanderbilt and Foxfire country clubs, and was a passionate fisherman. He was a history buff of the world wars and studied French and Italian languages. He and his wife enjoyed traveling throughout Europe.
Mr. Cammett is survived by his wife, Barbara (nee Dewey) Cammett of Naples; sons, Stuart H. Cammett lll, Bryan D. Cammett, and John Cammett (Sylvia); granddaughters, Barbara and Elizabeth Cammett and great-granddaughters, Jasmine and Cameron. He also is survived by his sister, Joanne Hansen (Robert), and his sister-in-law, Sandi Cooper.
He was predeceased by his brother, John Cammett.
A memorial service was held March 3 at Naples United Church of Christ.
Donations may be made to Naples United Church of Christ Endowment Fund, 5200 Crayton Road, Naples, FL 34103.
Died: Thursday, February 20, 2014
A beloved aunt, sister-in-law, cousin and friend, June Davis, passed away Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Ann Arbor. She was 88.
She was born in 1925 in Detroit to George and Lamina Davis and graduated from Detroit Southeastern High School.
Miss Davis grew up attending Jefferson Avenue Baptist Church in Detroit and followed the congregation to Grosse Pointe Farms when it merged with the Grosse Pointe Congregational Church. After many years of service as the executive secretary for the president at Michigan National Bank, she retired to her beloved family home in Grosse Pointe Farms.
Miss Davis enjoyed living in Grosse Pointe and sharing the Farms park with her nieces and nephews every summer. She was also an avid supporter of the Grosse Pointe Theatre, where she particularly enjoyed the musicals.
Family was the center of her life, and she was a special part of the family to her nieces, nephews and cousins.
Miss Davis was predeceased by her parents and sister, Frances Jelinek.
She is survived by her nieces, Judith Zachrau (Manfred) of Ramstein, Germany, and Jennifer Kunec (Rob) of Ann Arbor; nephew, Jerome Jelinek (Jill) of Traverse City; brother-in-law, Jerome Jelinek of Ann Arbor and great-nieces and great-nephews, Ashley and Aria Jelinek and John and Ben Kunec. She also is survived by cousins, Nancy and Leighton Smith of Bloomfield Hills, Carol Fairbanks of Troy and Tom Prescott of Troy.
A memorial service was held March 1 at Grosse Pointe Congregational Church, Grosse Pointe Farms.
Donations may be made to Grosse Pointe Congregational Church, 240 Chalfonte, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236.
Died: Friday, February 28, 2014
Francis Thomas Day M.D., 86, died Friday, Feb. 28, 2014.
He was born Aug. 18, 1927, in Detroit to Richard W. and Anita S. (nee Shannon) Day. Known as Frank to family and friends, he graduated from the University of Detroit in 1948 and Wayne State University Medical School in 1952. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy at the end of the Korean War.
Dr. Day was a general surgeon from 1952 to 2000 with privileges at Detroit Memorial, Holy Cross and Bon Secours hospitals. He completed his career working exclusively at Bon Secours.
He enjoyed skiing with his children and grandchildren. He was a member of the Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American Medical Society and the Detroit Medical Society.
Dr. Day is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Ruth Marie (nee Saylor); children, Barbara Day M.D., Debora Marino (Gregory), Michael Day (Bethe), Teresa Day and Anne Falvey (Joe); daughter-in-law, Nancy Day, 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his son, F. Thomas Day M.D.; brother, Dick Day and sister, Anita LaValley.
A funeral Mass was celebrated March 3 at St. Clare of Montefalco Catholic Church, Grosse Pointe Park.
Donations may be made to St. Clare of Montefalco School, 16231 Charlevoix St., Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230.
Died: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Longtime Grosse Pointe Woods resident Rockina G. DiCicco, 92, died Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, in WaltonWood in Sterling Heights.
“Rocky” was born July 1, 1921, in Hartford, Conn., to Francesco and Anna Silvestri. She was raised in New York City and was accustomed to walking great distances, a practice she continued throughout her life. Many Grosse Pointe merchants and residents enjoyed meeting and visiting with her during her walking routines to complete her errands.
Mrs. DiCicco loved to cook and entertain at dinner parties in her Grosse Pointe Woods home. Dancing and singing were common party activities for those who attended.
She traveled extensively in the United States and abroad.
Mrs. DiCicco is survived by her children, Carol Ann Sedlock (Jim), Ron (Pam), and Connie Hudas (Larry); grandchildren, Lisa, Lori, Christopher and Kelly and great-grandchildren, Charlie, Kelsie, Cassidy, Mia, Jack and Blake.
She was predeceased by her loving husband, Anthony, and five sisters.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 18, at Holy Name Catholic Church, 630 Harmon, Birmingham.
Donations may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.
Died: Saturday, February 22, 2014
James Christopher Kiriazis, 65, passed away Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.
He was the beloved husband of Ginny; dear father of Kasey and future son-in-law, Eric Gilliland; and brother of Billy (Dawn). He also is survived by many nieces, nephews, family and countless friends.
Share memories, stories and photos at jimkiriazis.com.
Died: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Longtime resident of Grosse Pointe Woods and later of Boca Raton, Fla., Patricia LaGrasso died Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. She was 99.
Patricia Jean Saber was born April 8, 1914, in Detroit. Despite not finishing college, she was fluent in Italian, Polish and German. She met the love of her life, Joseph LaGrasso, in 1934 and they wed Feb. 22, 1935.
Mrs. LaGrasso was instrumental in supporting her husband and his brothers as they started LaGrasso Brothers Produce. She spent many hours sorting, cleaning and boxing produce. She also served as the company’s bookkeeper.
Mrs. LaGrasso and her husband were members of a group that founded Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church. Mrs. LaGrasso was a passionate advocate of the parish and remained active in church activities throughout her life. She also was supportive of the Capuchin Monastery and Capuchin Soup Kitchen, volunteering her time and talents.
Mrs. LaGrasso, her husband and their family traveled throughout the United States and internationally. She enjoyed golfing and bowling.
Card games were second only to her love for her family. Euchre, pinochle, poker and most any card game were competitively played with all comers. At her final residence, Sunrise Senior Living in Grosse Pointe Woods, family visits were interspersed by card games with close friends and dear caregivers.
She will be deeply missed by her family, friends and caregivers.
Mrs. LaGrasso is survived by her children, Joseph (Joy) of Palm Harbor, Fla., Catherine Gallette (the late Jim) of Tampa, Fla., and Frank (Joyce) of Grosse Pointe Shores. She also is survived by 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her husband and grandson.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 26 at Our Lady Star of the Sea.
Donations may be made to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, 6333 Medbury St., Detroit, MI 48211.
Died: Thursday, February 20, 2014
James Duthie McWatt, 87, a resident of Henry Ford Village in Dearborn and former resident of Grosse Pointe and Macomb County, died Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.
He was born Jan. 18, 1927, in Detroit, the fourth child of Robert and Margaret Duthie McWatt. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1945 and was drafted into the U.S. Army. When he finished basic training, he became a member of the occupation in Germany. He was granted a furlough and used the time to travel to Scotland to meet relatives from his mother’s and father’s families.
After being honorably discharged in 1946, Mr. McWatt enrolled at Wayne State University. While studying to become a teacher, he taught Sunday school at Calvin Presbyterian Church and was introduced to Anne June Gordon. The two married Sept. 1, 1950, and Mr. McWatt began teaching social studies at Mason Elementary School in Detroit.
He earned a master’s degree in education at WSU and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan. In 1969, he became a school social worker with L’Anse Creuse Public Schools where he worked with the new special education department to develop improved programs for children with special needs.
Mr. McWatt was involved in Grosse Pointe Little League throughout the 1970s. He retired from the public education system in 1986 and became involved with multiple social service and humanitarian organizations including Veterans for Peace, the Presbytery of Detroit Peace Committee, People Making a Difference (volunteers who entertained at nursing homes) and the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers. He also was an active member of Grosse Pointe Memorial Church.
His family said Mr. McWatt lived his faith through his work and his volunteer efforts. He participated in the Civil Rights movement and heard Martin Luther King Jr. speak in Detroit in 1963 and in Grosse Pointe in 1968. He marched against the Vietnam War, in support of women’s rights, and supported LGBT rights.
Mr. McWatt is survived by his beloved wife, June; loving children, Catherine (Bruce Robb), Lorna (Craig Tarbeck), Jerilyn Jurewicz (J. John) and Gordon; cherished grandchildren, Jillian Robb, Gordon and Jack Tarbeck, Nichole Nowicki (Ray) and James and Joseph McWatt and dear great-grandsons, Max and R.J. Nowicki.
He also is survived by his sister, Jessie Petroni (the late Pel); brother, Albert McWatt (Elaine) and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his sister, Elizabeth Paulick (the late Erich) and brother, George (Ruth) McWatt.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms.
Donations may be made to Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, 8075 Ritter, Center Line, MI 48015 or Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236.
Died: Sunday, March 02, 2014
Thomas Darwin Neil, 72, of Clinton Township, passed away Sunday, March 2, 2014.
He was born March 4, 1941, in Detroit, to Clarence and Dorothy (née Gothro) Neil.
Mr. Neil took great pride in being a guidance director at Grosse Pointe North High School, enriching students’ lives for 37 years. He also enjoyed his orange Corvette and taking it for joy rides. But his biggest love was being “Papa” to Liam and Reilly.
Mr. Neil is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Joanne (née Jamroz) Neil; beloved children, Jennifer Munroe (Robert) of Sterling Heights and Thomas Ryan Neil of Clinton Township; and his cherished grandchildren, Liam O’Donovan and Reilly Munroe.
Visitation will be held 2:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 7, at Kaul Funeral Home, 40800 Hayes, Clinton Township.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 8, at the funeral home. Visitation begins at 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children at shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/donate or The Miracle League of Michigan at michiganmiracle.org/donate/.
Died: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Thomas E. Swantek, 85, died Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, at Huron Woods in Ann Arbor.
He was born in Detroit to Theodore and Ann Biddulph Swantek and served in the U.S. Army during World War II during the Japanese occupation. He graduated in 1952 from what is now Michigan State University.
Mr. Swantek enjoyed jazz music and travel. He was a member of the Detroit Racquet Club, Detroit Boat Club, Grosse Pointe Hunt Club, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, and Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Va.
Mr. Swantek is survived by his wife, Anne Hopkins Swantek; daughters, Susan Swantek, Amy Uffelman (Mark) and Molly Dicken (Chuck).
He was predeceased by his brother, Thaddeus Swantek.
Per Mr. Swantek’s request, no service was held.
Died: Monday, March 03, 2014
Frederick J. Zelewski, 76, of Washington Township, passed away Monday, March 3, 2014. He was an insurance agent employed by State Farm Insurance for more than 30 years.
Mr. Zelewski is survived by his children, Martin (Donna), Peter (Teresa) and Irene Blalock (Darrell); grandchildren, Joseph, Andrew and Jamie Zelewski and Neil, Nathan and Nicholas Blalock; sisters, Diane Vozza, Grace Camus (Miles), Christine Nelem (Gerry) and Judy Cossette (Sam) and many extended loved ones and friends.
He was predeceased by his wife of 53 years, Celesta, “Tina.”
Visitation will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home, 46530 Romeo Plank, Macomb Township. A scripture service will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a time to share memories.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, March 7, at St. Clement of Romeo Catholic Church, 343 South Main St., Romeo. Visitation begins at 9:30 a.m. at the church.
Donations may be made to Detroit Goodfellows, P.O. Box 44444, Detroit, MI 48244.