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Donald Rubert Spencer

Donald Rubert Spencer

Died: Sunday, May 18, 2008
Age: 90
Longtime Grosse Pointe Farms resident Donald Rubert Spencer, 90, died Sunday, May 18, 2008, at Arbor Hospice in Ann Arbor.

Mr. Spencer was born April 20, 1918 to William McPherson Spencer and Alta Rubert Spencer in Howell. He was a member of the 1936 graduating class at Howell High School.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1942 from the University of Michigan, and following his service in World War II earned an MBA from the U of M. He was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity.

Mr. Spencer served in World War II as a U.S. Army Air Corps B-17 bomber pilot, completing 35 combat missions out of Thurleigh, England.

Upon his return, he worked in the banking and brokerage industries at Detroit Bank and Trust, First of Michigan Corporation, and National Bank of Detroit before retiring from the Fisher Road branch of Comerica Bank as a vice president.

He married Betty Sue Flanders in 1949. They lived in Grosse Pointe Park and then Grosse Pointe Farms for 55 years before moving to Ann Arbor in 2006.

Mr. Spencer had many interests he enjoyed and shared with others, including the theater with the Players Club of Detroit, sailing at the Detroit Boat Club, and skiing and traveling with the Grosse Pointe Ski Club.

He was also a member of the Grosse Pointe Senior Men’s Club and the Grosse Pointe South Dad’s Club.He enjoyed cooking, reading, and using his computer to keep in touch with family members. He had great love for the outdoors and music. 

Mr. Spencer is survived by his beloved wife, Betty; children, Julie (Bob) Peterson of Portage, Priscilla (Rajeev Batra) Spencer of Ann Arbor, William (Kathleen) Spencer of Bloomfield Hills, and Peter (Colleen) Spencer of Grosse Pointe Farms; and grandchildren, Kelly and Laura Peterson, Neale and Ray Batra, Haley Spencer, and Mary Spencer.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Elizabeth Spencer Page.

A memorial service was held Saturday, May 24, at MacDonald’s Funeral Home in Howell. Internment was at the Lakeview Cemetery in Howell.

Memorial donations may be made to The Yankee Air Museum, P.O. Box 590, in Belleville, MI 48112.

Corinne E. Doyle

Corinne E. Doyle

Died: Friday, May 16, 2008
Former Grosse Pointe Woods resident Corinne E. Doyle passed away Friday, May 16, 2008, at her home in San Carlos, Calif. She was born in Au Gres.

Her family said that Mrs. Doyle was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, business partner, home builder, home maker, golfer, hiker, swimmer and, most of all, a great listener and friend.

Her daughters said they knew how lucky they were to have had her in their lives. Her unwavering strength, support and love were a gift for which they will always be thankful.

Mrs. Doyle’s family and friends said they felt honored to have known her and to have been blessed with her presence in their lives.

Mrs. Doyle is survived by her daughters, Laurie Nelson and Dulcy Doyle; granddaughters, Kelly and Laura Nelson; and sons-in-law, Brian Nelson and Lindell Wilson.

She will be missed greatly by her many friends in California and Michigan on their golf and social outings.

Mrs. Doyle was predeceased by her loving husband, Larry Doyle.

The family would like to thank Mrs. Doyle’s caregivers, Olive Cervantes and Mimi Perez, whose loving care enhanced the last few months of her life as well as the Pathways Homecare & Hospice for all their compassionate care.

Memorial donations may be made to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 22646, Long Beach, CA 90802-5646. Mrs. Doyle wanted to thank this organization that helped her family during World War II.

Paul T. Okon

Paul T. Okon

Died: Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Age: 58
Farmington resident Paul T. Okon, 58, died Tuesday, May 13, 2008, from injuries sustained in a fall on May 10.

He was born March 25, 1950 in Detroit. He attended the Center for Creative Studies and graduated from Wayne State University.

Friends and family said Mr. Okon was an extraordinarily talented landscape architect and home renovation designer. He worked extensively throughout the Grosse Pointe communities.

The many beautiful gardens and designs he created will serve as lasting tributes to this uniquely gifted and irreplaceable man.

Friends said that Mr. Okon’s dinner parties and holiday gatherings were always memorable. He possessed a rare generosity of spirit, a kind nature and a true joy in living.

Mr. Okon will be missed greatly by all of his close friends and family including his partner of 33 years, Jeffrey Lindau; and Robert and Nancy Squiers of Grosse Pointe Woods.

A private memorial service will be held at a future date.

Samuel Collom Laux

Died: Monday, May 12, 2008
Age: 83
Former Grosse Pointe Farms resident Samuel Collom Laux, 83, died Monday, May 12, 2008, in Indianapolis, where he was a longtime resident.

He was born April 11, 1925 in Detroit to Grace and Phillip Laux. The family moved to Grosse Pointe Farms where he attended school, and later married Mary Lou Zittel.

Mr. Laux is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; children, Lizabeth Lindsay (Frank Thomas III) Hughes of Carmel, Ind., Peter Collom Laux (Jennifer Lou Laux-Ludwig) of Holland, and Amy (James) Greely of Morgantown, Ind.

A private memorial service is planned at the family’s vacation home in Sweetwater, Ind.

Notes of sympathy may be sent to the family at 730 Dayton Drive, Carmel, IN 46033.

More information is available at: http://lauxhaus.googlepages. com/sam.

Samuel Collom Laux

Died: Monday, May 12, 2008
Age: 83
Former Grosse Pointe Farms resident Samuel Collom Laux, 83, died Monday, May 12, 2008, in Indianapolis, where he was a longtime resident.

He was born April 11, 1925 in Detroit to Grace and Phillip Laux. The family moved to Grosse Pointe Farms where he attended school, and later married Mary Lou Zittel.

Mr. Laux is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; children, Lizabeth Lindsay (Frank Thomas III) Hughes of Carmel, Ind., Peter Collom Laux (Jennifer Lou Laux-Ludwig) of Holland, and Amy (James) Greely of Morgantown, Ind.

A private memorial service is planned at the family’s vacation home in Sweetwater, Ind.

Notes of sympathy may be sent to the family at 730 Dayton Drive, Carmel, IN 46033.

More information is available at: http://lauxhaus.googlepages. com/sam.

Lillian R. “Pepper” Whitelaw

Lillian R. “Pepper” Whitelaw

Died: Monday, May 12, 2008
Age: 79
Former Grosse Pointe Woods resident Lillian R. “Pepper” Whitelaw, 79, died Monday, May 12, 2008.

She was born Lillian Ruth Theresa Brianzoni Jan. 24, 1929, in Cleveland to Battista and Agnesa Brianzoni, immigrants from Northern Italy. Her father was a successful restaurateur in Cleveland.

In her late teens, Lillian, now known as Pepper Brian, began modeling and acting. She had a radio program and television variety show, Pepper’s Party, in Cleveland.

She attended Case Western Reserve University and married William Murray Whitelaw in 1951. The couple had two children, Brian William Whitelaw and Wendy Lynne Whitelaw. The family moved to Grosse Pointe Woods in 1962.

When her children were in their early teens, Ms. Whitelaw began a career as a writer for the Grosse Pointe News. Her family said that it was her favorite job. She won Gold Bell awards for her education writing.

Ms. Whitelaw left the Grosse Pointe News to become public relations director for St. John Hospital and later held the same position with Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

She loved fine art and, after her retirement from health care, joined Park West Gallery in Southfield and later, the Grosse Pointe Gallery, where she shared her passion with its patrons.

Ms. Whitelaw retired in the summer of 2003 and joined her son, Brian, and his wife, Debi Baker Whitelaw, at their home in Ada.

She remained an avid reader and kept her optimistic attitude until her final days.

Ms. Whitelaw is survived by her children.

She was predeceased by her parents; brother, Pierino; and sister, Elettra Gattozzi.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718.

Susan J. Zerweck

Susan J. Zerweck

Died: Monday, May 12, 2008
Age: 75
Former Grosse Pointe resident Susan J. (nee Mercier) Zerweck, 75, died Monday, May 12, 2008.

She was born and raised in Grosse Pointe and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy. She married Herman F. Zerweck on June 18, 1953. They lived briefly at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, then moved back to Grosse Pointe. Later they moved to Ann Arbor.

Mrs. Zerweck came from a family of nine and always wanted a large family for herself. She and her husband raised nine children: Jim, Steve, Ed, Beth, Marie, Jean, Dave, Sara and John.

She loved her family and friends, and her home was often a gathering place, full of warm hospitality and friendship.

Her family said that over the years, Mrs. Zerweck impacted many lives on many levels. She was a loving mother, a true friend, a kind neighbor and a giving member of her community. Behind all this, she was guided by her deep faith in God and lived her life accordingly. 

Mrs. Zerweck is survived by eight children, James F., Edward H. (Janice), Elizabeth A. (Mwizenge “Jack”) Zerweck-Tembo, Marie S. (Robert) Humphries, Jean L. (Douglas) Hirt, David P. (Catherine Juon), Sara S. (Gregory) Shorin, John W. (Jaime); siblings, Thomas, Anne, Christopher, Peter, Margaret (Peggy) McDonald, Craig and Michael, and 25 beloved grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband, Herman; and son, Stephen P.  

Services were held from Muehlig Funeral Chapel in Ann Arbor.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Catholic Social Services 2020 E. Grand River, Suite 104, Howell, MI 48843; St. Mary Student Parish, 331 Thompson St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104; or Arbor Hospice, 2366 Oak Valley Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48103-8944.

Thomas P. Sullivan

Thomas P. Sullivan

Died: Sunday, May 11, 2008
Age: 75
Grosse Pointe Park resident Thomas P. Sullivan, 75, died Sunday, May 11, 2008, at Sunrise on Vernier in Grosse Pointe Woods.

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio where he attended Gilmour Academy and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from John Carroll University.

Immediately after college, Mr. Sullivan served on active duty from 1954 to 1956 in the Transportation Corps of the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Bad Hersfeld, Germany and patrolled the Russian border in an armored cavalry regiment.

Upon returning home, he married Ann Labadie in 1960. They lived in Toledo, Ohio and Darien and New Canaan, Conn., New Orleans, La., and Columbus, Ohio while he worked for Crown Zellerbach Corp.

In 1973, Mr. Sullivan moved to Detroit, where he eventually owned and operated Chem-Met Services and Quanta Corp. of Wyandotte, Chemical Conservation Corp., Valdasta, Ga. and Chemical Conservation Corp. of Orlando, Fla. He retired in 1999.

He was a board member of Charter National Bank in Wyandotte and Holy Cross Children’s Services in Clinton.

Mr. Sullivan led an active life playing tennis and golf. He was a member of the Country Club of Detroit, the Detroit Athletic Club, John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, Fla. and The Bay Hill Golf Club of Orlando, Fla.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Labadie Sullivan; two daughters, Bridget (Michael) Paull of Grosse Pointe and Annie Estes of Grosse Pointe Park; and six sons, Kevin of Grosse Pointe, Patrick (Jackie) of Gadsdon, Ala., Michael (Tami) of Fox Point, Wisc., Sean (Phyllis) of Grosse Pointe Park, Thomas Jr. (Theresa) of Grosse Pointe and Brian of Grosse Pointe Park.

He also is survived by 17 grandchildren.

Funeral services were held May 15 at St. Clare of Montefalco Church, Grosse Pointe Park.

Elton A. Eckstrand

Elton A. Eckstrand

Died: Saturday, May 10, 2008
Age: 80
Former Grosse Pointe Woods resident Elton A. Eckstrand, 80, passed away Saturday, May 10, 2008, while in hospice care in Naples, Fla.

He graduated from Denby High School in Detroit and went to Wayne State University to earn his Juris Doctorate.

Mr. Eckstrand led a storybook life as an attorney, entrepreneur, race car driver, historian, nature photographer, and the laird of a Scottish castle.

He started his career at Chrysler Corp. as a corporate attorney while he pursued his love of car racing. He was instrumental in organizing several Chrysler factory racing teams including the “Ramchargers,” the “Golden Commandos,” and his own racing team known as the “Lawman.” He won a multitude of top ranked national drag racing championships.

During the Vietnam War, Mr. Eckstrand developed a program to take muscle cars to Southeast Asia for exhibition to all branches of the military service. The Lawman Military Tours were a resounding success and more than 250,000 military personnel attended exhibitions held on aircraft carriers and conflict zone runways.

During the 1970s, Mr. Eckstrand pursued his love of the United Kingdom. When he learned of the availability of the 15th century Penkill Castle in Scotland, he acquired it and officially became the 18th laird of Penkill.

He spent the next 20 years restoring the castle and received numerous awards from the British government for his efforts. He became famous as the American who saved Penkill Castle.

In the late 1990s, he opted for a more idyllic climate and moved to Naples, Fla., where he continued to enjoy his many friendships, his books, his photographic interests, and his involvement in racing events.

His original 1966 Dodge Hemi Charger was added to the collection of muscle vehicles at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum.

Recently, Ford Motor Company honored Mr. Eckstrand by presenting him with a custom built hi-performance “Lawman” Mustang to commemorate the 1970s Lawman Military Tours.

Mr. Eckstrand was inducted into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2000.

He was predeceased by his parents, Earl B. Eckstrand and Marie Eileen Eckstrand.

James H. Scott

James H. Scott

Died: Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Age: 75
Former Grosse Pointe Shores resident James H. Scott, 75, died May 7, 2008, at his home in St. Clair Shores.

Born May 13, 1932, Mr. Scott was a builder and developer most of his life.

He was also the former owner of the Georgian Inn, Parkcrest Motel and the L-Bow Room restaurants.

He enjoyed golfing and hunting and was the co-founder of Burk’s Farm. Mr. Scott had been a member of Lochmoor Club since 1969 and the Boca Del Mar Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. He was the past president of the St. John Hospital Men’s Guild.

Mr. Scott is survived by his beloved wife, Evelyn; children, Larry (Michele) Scott, Cindy (Paul) Simon, Chris (Caprice) Scott and Kim (Ron) Marsh; and grandchildren, Ally and James Michael Scott, Michael (Jessica), Paul, Kristen, Alyssa and Patrick Simon, Michael Jushak, and Amanda, Nicholas and Chelsea Marsh.

He also is survived by his sisters, Margaret Ann Miller and Carol Higley; and his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Rosemary and Richard Tanner.

Mr. Scott’s family greatly appreciated all of the devoted care he received from St. John Hospice.

A funeral Mass was celebrated May 12 at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Grosse Pointe Woods followed by entombment in Resurrection Cemetery, Clinton Township.

Memorial donations may be made to The Capuchins, 1820 Mt. Elliott St., Detroit, MI 48207 or to St. Jude Children Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

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