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YOU MAY HAVE HELD OPEN A DOOR FOR MAMA and her wheelchair, said a kind word, given her direct care or something in between. We personally thank each of you for standing with Josie and with us. Beside our gratitude for family and friends, we also appreciate the years of support that the Mejishi community has given to us. It has lifted us up and allowed us to be by her side.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

When the relatives in Italy found out about Mamma’s decline, they told us to “abbi coraggio,” which means “have courage.” As we sat by her side, Josie taught many lessons to us. May you also find strength and compassion to carry on this legacy of love.


Celebrating the life of Giuseppina Ferrari
(nee Coletti, Coletta)
Aka: Mamma, Josie, Jo
January 30, 1927 – August 27, 2021
Abbi Coraggio (Have Courage)

Born in Sora, Italy, on January 30 1827, Guiseppina was the first child of Assunta Petrozzi and Vincenzo Coletta and the eldest of five children – Marietta, Pasuale, Domenica and Bernardino.

As a teenage, World War II shook Italy, and Guiseppina lived in the horror of that conflict. She suffered physical and emotional injuries and wore a deep scar on her body from a piece of shrapnel. She sustained injury during a bombing raid in town, she heroically threw herself over her younger cousin.

At a young age, she became the finest sarta (seamstress) in the area, tailoring wedding dresses. And most importantly she met and courted her future husband, Felice Ferrari. They were a beautiful young couple in love.

Felice Ferrari was the eldest of four brothers who lived in the nearby borough of San Giorgio. Luigi Ferrari, Felice’s father, had fought in the U.S. Army during World War I. As a result of his service, he earned U.S. citizenship. After the death of his mother and father, Felice put to use the American citizenship he inherited from his dad, Luigi. Sponsored by Italian friends, he journeyed to Michigan and sent for his fiancé Giuseppina to join him.

She packed a small single trunk of personal belongings and traveled alone to America by boat. Her memories of that voyage included her roommate being a pregnant woman who unfortunately spent the ten-day voyage seasick.

GUISEPPINA AND FELICE WERE MARRIED IN DETROIT September 29, 1956. At the time, Felice was a bricklayer and Guisepinna worked as a seamstress at the downtown Hudson’s department store doing alterations. They lived in East Detroit (now Eastpointe) where she learned to drive. While working construction, her husband fell three stories down a shaft and was then hit in the head by a piece of falling cinderblock. Josie cared for him for over a year until her recovered.

Giuseppina and Felice lent a hand by sponsoring family members from Italy to come to Michigan. They included: Pasquale Coletti, Jo’s brother; Domenica Catena, Jo’s sister; Giuseppi, Felice’s brother and his wife Filomena and their children Loretta and Chiarina, Antonion and Paula Ferrari, Felice’s younger brothers. Many of their sibling married and Josie gained nieces and nephews Enzo and Gianna Coletta, Vincenzeo Catena, Cynthia Noe and Vincenzo Coletti, Lori Pantera and Chiarina Douglas, Luigi and Joseph Ferrari, Lorenza and Gianni Ferrari.

While waiting in a line of workers seeking employment at the gate of Ford Motor Company,  Giuseppina asked to use the restroom facilities. She was granted admittance because she was pregnant. Once inside, she jumped on a sewing machine and totally impressed them with her skills. She was hired on the spot. She opened the door to Ford Motor Company for the entire family. First Felice, then his three brothers, a nephew and her son all worked at Ford.

The young Ferrari family grew to include two children: Gabriele Louis and Maria Susan (Su). Josie suffered the loss of two other children – Loretta, who was stillborn and a miscarriage.

During this period, the couple worked opposite shifts at the Ford Utica Trim Plant. In front of the guard shack, the children would sit in the family car waiting for the parent finishing their work shift to come out and change places with the driving parent. Because the Ferraris had an acre garden at home in Romeo, they sold vegetables to the Ford workers during the shift change.

After many years working in the sewing department, Giuseppina had to be hospitalized and almost died from a lung infection caused by the toxic fibers in the air of that industrial facility. Due to her lung injuries, she was medically retired. Her husband continued working at the factory and finally retired after a heart attack.

WITH THEIR CHILDREN, GABRIELE AND SU GROWN UP, the couple moved to Beverly Hills, Florida, where they lived for many years. Felice’s brothers, as well as Josie’s brother Pasquale, purchased property nearby to one day move to Florida to be all together again. Most of Su’s vacations were devoted to seeing her family in Florida.

When her son Gabriele got sick, she compassionately cared for him at their home until his death in 1993. It was heartbreaking. Jo began showing signs of dementia in the late 1990s. Then, her husband Felice died in 1999. Her daughter Su began her loving stewardship of Josie’s care at that time and shortly after that Josie returned to Michigan to live with Su in Romeo.

Mamma like to go! When she lived in Florida, she traveled all over. Once back in Michigan, Josie enjoyed biking in the Metro Parks and hiking. Accompanied by Su’s cat Pogolito, they made tours of the scenic western U.S.

In 2006, Josie gained a daughter-in-law, Jaye Spiro (of Mejishi). Mamma and Su moved from Romeo to Ferndale. It was a walkable downtown like Sora. The three lovingly walked arm-in-arm and later she journeyed by wheelchair all over the neighborhood. They enjoyed meals together, singing, ice cream, and chocolate in countless places and so many shared settings. Mamma liked to go! She wanted to go wherever they went, and they took her!

With Jaye and Su, Giuseppina continued her travels. She attended NWMAF conferences, martial arts training camps, Buddhist retreats. The three of them visited Italy and Canada, traveled extensively in Michigan and saw many U.S. states.

They traveled many times to Madison, Wisconsin to visit Jaye’s family – brother Steve Spiro, wife Susan, niece Jaala and her husband Mike Callahan, and their children Corrina and Steve (Aden), nephew Jacob Spiro and his wife Krista and their children Skylar (Zoe) and Kai.

Josie became a regular at Mejishi Martial Arts where Jaye is the director. The school is located two blocks from their home. She came to the studio many days a week and there she was loved and cared for by curious children and compassionate adults as they achieved martial arts success and learned self-defense.

JOSIE’S LIFE JOURNEY CAME TO A CLOSE 0N AUGUST 27TH, 2021 IN FERNDALE MICHIGAN, surrounded by Su and Jaye’s loving embrace. She will be laid to rest in Beverly Hills Florida alongside her beloved husband and son. Forever at eternal rest. She remains in our hearts and center in our memories, a courageous woman who lived a good life in service to her family and those around her. Rest In Peace. We loved you very much!

Our donation wish is that you invest time with your family or friends or someone who is in need of your loving kindness. Put the money in a jar on your counter and decide where to go to expand your connection with others. That would make Mamma’s wish continue for generations to come.

Spend the time.
Create the memories and share them with us.

IF THERE’S TIME TO INCLUDE IT, A MENTION OF GREG MUDGE OF MUDGIE’S DELI would befit this issue. We’ll miss seeing him at Western Market. He was a Ferndalian who lived directly behind our store and frequently shopped here. He was a friend to Putnam (our wine buyer, whose previous job was wine buyer & signage for Mudgie’s), Steve, and Jarred.
– Alana Carlson Western Market

ROBERT WILLIAM FOSTER, KNOWN AS “BOB” OR “FROSTY,” died unexpectedly Saturday, August 14, 2021, at the age of 69 in Boyne City, Michigan. Born in Petoskey, Michigan on March 14, 1952, Bob lived a devoted life, raised in a large, loving Catholic family.

Bob is survived by his wife of nearly 48 years, Kristine (Campbell) Foster, four daughters: Nicole and husband Casey Sulak, Michelle Foster, Katie and husband Aaron VanLandschoot, and Kim Foster, and four grandchildren: Landen, Jameson, and Austin Sulak, and Veda VanLandschoot. He is also survived by three brothers, six sisters and a large extended family. He is preceded in death by parents Donald and Betty (Stark) Foster.

Bob met the love of his life, Kris, while serving in the Armed Forces in Germany shortly after graduating from Pinconning High School. Together they traveled across the country, until they settled in Boyne City to raise their “four angels.” Bob worked tirelessly to support his family operating a tool and die shop with his father. His hobbies included woodworking, photography and endless home improvement for himself and others.

He was known in the community for his volunteer work and willingness to serve. Others knew him by the sound of his orange Roadrunner. His recent years of retirement were spent enjoying simple pleasures with his family and friends like kayaking, playing cards, or relaxing on his deck overlooking the Boyne River. There was always music, and you could often find him dancing, singing, or playing along.

Family, friends and neighbors celebrated Bob’s life and the joy it brought to them with a memorial and luncheon on Monday, August 23 at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Boyne City. In lieu of flowers or donations, in his spirit please pay it forward and assist a neighbor or friend in need.


MY DAD IS THE STRONGEST GUY I KNOW. It is through him that I find strength daily – and hope to channel that strength to get through this today without crying too much, knowing I’ll likely fail.

Dad always taught us to do our best and failing was never really an option. He was so proud of all our accomplishments and encouraged us to be our best, always. Get good grades; make captain of the team; wear a dress not sweats to the grocery store; go to college – don’t work in a dirty tool-and-die shop. He always wanted better for us and taught us to be independent, intelligent, talented women.

He taught us by example the value of hard work, education, community and family, above all else. He worked tirelessly to provide for us – working hard days but always home at 6:00 PM for family dinner, even if it meant having to go back to the shop to work all night. He made tennis matches and basketball games while doing home improvement projects in any spare moment. He’d often surprise us with them. Like the time we got home from trick-or-treating to find the roof ripped open to vault the ceiling – while it was snowing. How he did it alone, and without giving my mom a heart attack, is a mystery. He always managed to pull it all together and get it done. He once drove all the way downstate on his birthday just to be with me during a home inspection while I was buying a house. He was hardworking and dedicated, but managed to balance it with good times. We had a bourbon and burger before he drove (responsibly) all the way back home.

IT WAS HARD FOR HIM TO NOT HELP. THE MAN COULD DO ANYTHING. He was a machinist and mold-maker by trade. His house is a testament to his beautiful woodworking skill, and the woodworking garage is a testament to my mother’s generosity. Not only has he kept up and repainted his Roadrunner and F150, he was also our stand-in mechanic for countless repairs and oil changes. As an amateur photographer, he had a dark room in our basement allowing us to process negatives and create our own art growing up. One of my favorite talents was his musical inclination. He could play my flute before I could, having a talent for picking up and nearly mastering any instrument just by ear.

But his greatest talent was that of loving. He was full of love…and opinions, most would add. When I look back on all my memories of him and my family, what is most present is love. Of course, as daughters, that’s not always how we saw it. His love was sometimes expressed by throwing a CD out the car window or tickling my knees so hard that no one can touch them to this day. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye, naturally. When I tell someone I have three sisters and no brothers, they typically respond, “Your poor dad.” I’m sure it was tough being surrounded by girls all the time, but he didn’t seem to mind. He would buy a gift for all the “girls” for Christmas each year: a drum set, monster trucks, racetracks, a BB-gun. Probably a bit selfishly, just hoping to connect with us. I think he always wished he could connect more.

As an adult, I’ve grown closer to my father, learned that his obnoxious comments were jokes, his annoying gestures and requests were acts of love, and I’ve learned that it is okay to fail, because he’ll always be there – even when he’s not. He taught us that family and community are so important, to rely on each other. He’s gone, and already my sisters and brothers-in-law have stepped up so much. Dad would be proud. We will never fill the void, but we can rely on each other so that we each can reach for the stars, knowing we have each other when we may fall.

In his memory, I encourage us all to live each day fully with love, laughter, family, and passion.

– Michelle Foster, August 2021

BERNARD J. LAFRAMBOISE, AGE 63, OF HAZEL PARK, died on Tuesday June 1, 2021. Loving father of Crystal (Josh Wilhelm) Put. Adored grandfather of Damien Wilhelm. Dearest brother of Mary Jo Ortiz, Roger Laframboise, Mary Lou (late Leonard) West, Vincent (Deborah) Laframboise and the late Mary Rose Laframboise. Also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Beloved friend of Cynthia Douglas. Loving Son of the late Henry and the late Betty Laframboise.

Bernard sponsored and mentored numerous individuals throughout his life. Family suggests memorials to AA: www.aa.org

I AM SO VERY PROUD TO BE KNOWN AS BERNIE LAFRAMBOISE’S LITTLE SISTER. I always knew what a kindhearted, loving, unselfish, knowledgeable, spiritual, giving person he was, who had touched so many people’s lives in many different ways. But I didn’t realize to what extent, until recently. Wow! So, in remembrance of Bernie: Let your light shine bright every day!

Bernie’s little sister, Mary Lou Laframboise West


THE FIRST TIME I MET BERNIE LAFRAMBOISE WAS A LOVELY JUNE EVENING IN 2010. While taking pictures with my Nikon in downtown Ferndale, Bernie noticed there was a man pestering me to take his photo, who didn’t appear to accept my explanation that I preferred to shoot things like the interesting reflections in the puddles from the nightclub lights.

I wasn’t sure what this nice man on his bicycle had said to the obnoxious guy, as he placed himself between me and mister “Hey, take my picture!” but the vaguely threatening fellow finally moved on. I found out later that Bernie had surreptitiously showed the man his gun. (He acquired a permit to carry after a near-fatal carjacking some months before.) Apparently, Bernie had seen a little more than I had in the alley that night, and helped me out of an uncomfortable (and possibly dangerous) situation.

We spoke of Nikon, life, the world, and one another’s experiences of it for a long time that evening at the Java Coffee Hut. This man had been through so much, yet was still so open-hearted. Remarkable!

As was often the case with not only hundreds but likely thousands of people: To talk with Bernie Laframboise was to find a new friend. We would meet up to play with our Nikon cameras again.

Over the years that followed, I learned that helping his fellow man was something Bernie did quite naturally. His myriad of interests kept him busy and engaged in diverse circles of people, so he had connections from photography, roller derby, equestrian, boating and ships, the United Auto Workers, AA, gardening, food and cooking as well as creative communities. He would often try to draw me out to join him in his adventures, as I was recovering from agoraphobia and he was not the least bit shy. His company was good for me.

Bernie was the kindest person I have ever known.

I eventually learned to trust that I was safe going places further from home than I ever imagined I could handle, because Bernie was at my side. Not only was he infinitely trustworthy, he was fun. You literally never knew what he’d do next. Heck; even he didn’t know what he would find himself doing next! How cool is that for a man in his ‘50s and ‘60s?

We grew very close in the last few years and I learned a lot from him that I would be honored to share with you:

Be kind to every shopkeeper, all the wait staff, every clerk and office worker you meet. It makes both of you have a better day.

• If you get nervous or anxious, reach out and be loving to others and it settles your nerves down nicely.

• Ask your God (as you understand Him) for guidance for your life and watch for the opportunities to do as you are guided.

• Be humble. Never blow your own horn.

• Be there for people.

• Communicate; even if it’s difficult.

• People don’t have to agree on everything to be loving and kind to one another.

• Put yourself out there, even if you’re afraid. God will help you.

• You don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to.

• Be forgiving.

• We’re all human. Enjoy yourself!

• Always keep a childlike wonder in the world around you.

– Cynthia Gallagher


BERNIE: IT WAS HARD FOR ALL OF US TO SAY OUR EARTHLY GOODBYES to you at Mass today. I wept like a baby pretty much the whole way through, knowing what a great, nurturing guy you were.

As it has been said, “Losing our loved ones is like losing colors of the rainbow.”

We met around 2005 in the local music scene, and then we were co-workers at Ferndale Friends for well over a decade. I admired your huge talent in photography, and was grateful that you took time to include me in a couple of photoshoots.

You were extremely vibrant, with a wonderful soul, and your departure is a huge loss for everyone who knew and cared about you. You made a positive, inspiring impact on the lives of so many! I never got to see your garden, but I hear it is amazing.

Until we meet again, down the road, wishing you great peace and happiness in Heaven.

-Jenn Goeddeke


I HATED HAVING TO GO TO AA. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE MANDATORY MEETING, THOUGH, because I met two people that are very special in my life, a best friend and the fun-spirited photographer Bernie. I didn’t know then how amazing his work was but he wanted me to model for him. He told me if I shoot with him that I had to believe I am the most beautiful woman in the world!

Everyone loved the pictures he took, even more than any other photographer. We ran around Detroit and Ferndale taking pictures. He even called me early in the morning to run out. We took pictures at his house inside and out. He had a beautiful garden that he loved. We started a calendar of body parts and unfortunately are unable to finish it. He picked the perfect head shot of me with his white button-up shirt and another in his garage wearing a white “wife-beater” of his and holding a lit blow torch. It wasn’t always easy but definitely fun!

I wish to be on that side of the camera also, so he taught me stuff I did not know about photography. I told him to contact the paper he works for because I wanted a job writing, so here I am honored to tell my experiences with such a happy and thoughtful man, unfortunately after his passing.

I’M HERE TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING that you didn’t know about this awesome man, but everyone already knows how talented, funny and kind he was. What I can tell you is that he helped, pushed and believed in me.

I was so excited to start taking photos again, and then one day another friend from AA told me that Bernie had died. I do not attend the meetings anymore so I had not heard. I missed the funeral!

He really helped the community. He was proud to be sober and so am I. I am happy that I went back to that particular meeting because I got to live my dreams through sobriety and friends.

It was a pleasure to know you, my talented friend and mentor. I am extremely sad to know you will not be behind that camera again. I did not know that week would be the last time that I’d see him.

Bernie told me he made Jack Aronson’s first outside stove. R.I.P., Bernie!

– Amy Mitchell


BERNIE, YOU WERE SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST ANOTHER BRILLIANT PHOTOGRAPHER. Your camera and photography were just a metaphor for your real genius and artistry which was your gift and talent for making everyone around you feel uplifted. It’s hard to think of anything that will seem more pride-worthy, when it comes time to take account of our own lives in dread perhaps that, too late, we have wasted it. You did not waste a minute of yours.

To spend a minute with you was to be relieved for a while of the silly, stupid burdens I carry around like boulders in a sack: my jealousies, grudges and insecurities would suddenly seem like a dreary waste of time, and evaporate in your presence.

You were a genius with the camera and you knew how to take the pounds off, hide the bald spot and make us look a lot better than the mirror. But those are skills you learned, from experience and from others. So much more profound was your innate genius in what you did for our inner selves.

Not just for me, but just about everyone in Ferndale. You’re pretty much the perfect example for all of us.

THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF LOSS IN OUR WORLD RECENTLY, but losing you feels like having my guts ripped out. Oh, how I miss your voice and face. This is going to hurt for a while. And it’s nothing compared to the pain your family endures.

I’m not a religious person but there’s plenty of reason to believe our souls are eternal. Maybe our bodies really are just like old cars that get rusty and run like hell, and pretty soon you just have to get rid of them. But if it’s true that our souls live on, then I know you are still alive – still with us inside of Crystal right now. And she is better for it, just as I am better to have my father living on inside me.

I just hope you know how much we all love and admire you, Bernie. Thanks for so very, very much!

– Stephanie Loveless, Grateful friend


My sincere condolences to Bernie’s family. The man was a solid mentor of mine and a huge part of my finding the peace and serenity he showed every day. He touched so many of us, and my hope is that he continues to watch over us as we use the lessons he taught to move forward in our mortal lives. God Bless.
-Gary W.

Bernie was the best derby photographer and a very kind man. He took his time and shared his talents with all of us. I will miss him dearly. Sending my prayers and condolences to his family and friends.
-Akilah Edmondson Aka Rapture

A great photographer and even greater human being.
-Mark Boone

What a man for others! Kindness, character, humility, humor and love are just a few of Bernie’s blessings that he so willingly shared with us. He lives in all he touched.
-Rick Seefelt

Bernie was an awesome, generous man. I met him in roller derby. He was wonderful, donating his time for photos. Bernie and I “pal”-ed around for maybe a year or so. We would go to a roller derby race and I’d try to help him with his photo stuff, carrying items etc. Bernie was a pillar of his community. A wonderful, generous person who helped many people. Love and miss you Bernie, rest in peace.
-Theresa Rogers

Oh Bernie, you were such a wonderful pal. Our youth was filled with so much fun and I’ll never forget your smile and our silly pranks. May you rest in peace, my dear friend.
-Paulette

I served as Bernie’s UAW Steward at Chrysler for three terms. Bernie was one of the most positive individuals I have ever known. Always smiling and always had a kind word. I will miss his radiant smile and all of our chats, whether it was about union business, fishing, gardening, and especially his true passion, photography. I will miss him dearly. R.I.P. my union brother.
-William G. Panagos

Bernie, I am going to miss our good morning messages. Send me a message from Heaven. Thanks for taking care of my brother Bill Barr. I will let my light shine.
-Susan Davis

Many moons ago we were first communion partners at St. James, number 19 in line. Rest in peace, Bernie. Condolences to your family and friends.
-Theresa Bucy

I will always remember Bernie and the first time I met him so many years ago at a mutual friend’s house. He had a great smile and a huge heart for others. The world won’t be as beautiful of a place without you. Rest In Peace, my friend.
-Gina G.

I worked with Bernie for a brief but memorable time. Always reliable and fun to work with, and an excellent photographer as well. Gone far too soon.
-Jeff Lilly

Bernie was like a brother to me. He would be there if you needed him. I’m glad we talked in his garden the other day. He loved and was loved by many. He will be missed.
-Tom & Kathleen Dowd

Bernie very graciously met my son and I Downtown Detroit before sunrise to take skateboard pictures for my son’s graduation. That was about seven years ago. I knew Bernie through the Ferndale Friends, which we both worked for. He was always kind and gently upbeat. I send love to his family and friends.
-Shannon O’Brien

Bernie, I will never forget you! I am so honored to say we have remained friends for 46 years! I know you are still shining bright! IWBYDF
-Tammy Howard (Roberts)

My deepest condolences to you and the rest of Lafambroise family. I’m so sorry and saddened to hear the passing of your brother Bernie. A great family man and friend to me and, oh! An awesome gardener. I looked forward to stopping by at least two or three times every year for some vegetables from him. God bless you all through these sad times and may his memories be a blessing. R.I.P. Bernie. “Fly High Eagle.”
-Michael W. Grabke

He touched me. I hope he knew how much he helped me be what I am today. Funny, I didn’t really think about it much until these last 24 hours. There are the Bobs, the Johns, the Heathers, Tims and Daves who showed me the mechanics and the how tos, but it was Bernie who taught me the things I’m using most now. By his words and examples: The garden and plants wouldn’t be what they are; my trusting in God to put someone in front of me to love; my home’s aura; the gratitude and spiritual sobriety; the things I’m finding matter the most in maintaining my strength. God Bless him.
-Gary W.

I remember being new at a WARM meeting, Spring 2014, and thinking: “this guy sounds wise!” I also had the opportunity to hear a talk he gave in front of the group about his life. It’s an incredible story and I left that meeting feeling both fortunate and hopeful for my own recovery. I loved sitting at tables with him. He will be missed.
-Stephanie G.

He helped me through many life situations. Bernie was like a brother to me and he would be there if you needed him. Words can’t adequately express the gratitude for this man. I am glad we recently talked in his garden. He loved, and was loved by, many people.
-Tom D.

IT IS ALWAYS DIFFICULT SAYING GOODBYE TO SOMEONE WE LOVE AND CHERISH. Family and friends must say goodbye to their beloved Joshua S. Urban of Ferndale, Michigan, who passed away at the age of 38 on May 9, 2021.

He was loved and cherished by many people including his parents Stephen Urban of Ferndale and Marie Cardona (Joseph) of Hazel Park; his brother Jeremy Urban of Ferndale; his girlfriend Dawn Porter of Hazel Park; and his sons, Trevor and Hunter.

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to the charity of choice.


JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU,  WONDERING IF YOU ARE WATCHING ME,  thinking about us, or maybe hanging with our past loved ones. I miss you already, planned to stop at the donut shop before the airport, like in the past, to say goodbye and grab a coffee, but had to stop myself in tears and make my Keurig. No one is there.

When I saw you Saturday, you were in great spirits, felt great, I asked you to come with me to Vegas. We would have had the best time, but I guess you had other plans. It’s not the same out here, knowing what I have to come home to.

My heart hurts. I stop myself from looking at Facebook, because I don’t want to cry out here. Gotta’ keep a game face.

Remember when we would go to the casino to play poker together? I just keep waiting to wake up from this nightmare. After mom and dad, it’s just me. I am always gonna wonder what could have been. I love you Joshua… Rest tight little bro…


IT’S AN UNBELIEVABLE LOSS. JOSH WAS THE CENTERPIECE,  the driving force and the reason we woke up every day. He was the staple, the cornerstone. He made it the way it was. We want to fulfill everything we talked about with him (such as the donut ideas)! We are literally “in his shoes” back there (inside the store) and even seeing his chair brings back memories.

It’s hard sometimes to come here every day, but we do it anyway. Joshua worked hard, seven days a week. He was here from the moment the store opened until it closed, typically by himself, until we walked in to help. We were the “Three Amigos,” the “A-Team!”

Joshua knew everybody, and he had worked here since he was six or seven-years-old. From around 2008, Josh helped his dad bake the donuts. Then in 2013 he took over more. We could count on him for everything because he was a loyal friend. And kind to everyone, from the smallest baby to the oldest customers. Josh took the time to get to know people; he would even deliver donuts himself to the older ladies. For example, a lady named Guinevere would come in on Tuesdays and Josh would immediately stop what he was doing and take her items out to her car.

Josh was great at finding ways to build the businesses by expanding our vendor accounts with gas stations and different stores. Josh loved making donations of donuts for many worthy causes, and he really cared about the community of Ferndale. He did everything with such passion! Some customers still don’t know that he is gone. Others share memories so we still get to talk about him while we work.

He had many interests, such as football and history. He enjoyed watching Ancient Aliens, The Goldbergs and The Golden Girls on TV. Music was also a big part of his life; he would dance around in the back to his favorite songs. It was hard hearing those songs after he was gone, but now we enjoy hearing them because of the memories they bring back. Traveling up North to a family home way his favorite way to re-energize before returning back to work. Also, he loved spending time out boating with his brother, Jeremy.

Josh’s father,  Steve, now trusts us to keep it going, which we truly appreciate. That took a lot of courage and he trusts our judgement, but it’s hard to fill Josh’s shoes. Steve had a vision of Josh taking over the business; now he has a bunch of women to deal with! We can’t make things run like he did, and the speciality Joshua Donut is gone forever. But we will always try hard to do it his way, the way he showed us. His presence is with each of us, every day. We see little signs of him all the time. We were privileged to have him in our lives.”

Memories of Dawn Porter, Colleen Pank & Cyndi Heys
Transcribed by Jean Goeddeke


Happy Heavenly Birthday to my dear best friend Joshua. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you or speak your name. I truly, deeply miss you every single day. I wish you were here so you would be able to celebrate your birthday and us having a house soon, and Shaylyn’s sweet 16th birthday. I know you will be watching and we will feel your presence. I love you with all my heart. Til we meet again…
– Cyndi Heys


We love The Apple Fritter and Josh would always treat us the kindest every time we went to The Apple Fritter and nobody can ever make better donuts than him.
– Abby, age 11


I’ll miss you Cousin. I’ll miss our adventures and working together and having a riot. You were the best friend a cuz could have. You would do anything for anyone. That was your kind heart. I love you, Joshua. R.I.P., my cuz.
– Martin Downs


Steve and Jeremy; my heart goes out to you and your family. Josh had a good heart. Like many others in the community I’ll miss him.
– Kris Lieber


Oh my. This is incredibly sad. His family and the whole community have suffered a terrible loss. I celebrate his life and the joy he brought to everyone who knew him. Hugs to his family.
– Merri Busch


Josh was always so nice and took great care of us. Very sad. Keeping Dawn and the rest of Josh’s family in our thoughts and prayers.
– Mike Hickey


The last time I saw Josh at the shop, he remembered that I worked for the Fisher Theater, and asked me how we were doing and we chatted for a bit. It lifted me up that he remembered. Back when we had The Book of Mormon at the Fisher, Josh helped us give away a bunch of maple-glazed donuts for a promotion (if you know the show, you know the connection.) He was always so very nice. My heart goes out to the staff, family and friends. I feel like this is a big loss for all of Ferndale.
– Scott Myers


My sincerest sympathies to your entire family. I believe it was Josh I gave the original artwork for my Vern Dale of Ferndale comic that featured The Apple Fritter. He and Colleen helped us out quite a few times. Great people.
– Josh Ryals


I am sad about this news. I saw him Saturday morning and only had a chance to wave hello. Our old pastor used to say: “We all are on the same path, and some will be there first and will just wait for the rest of us.”
– Laurie N Charles DeNoyer


My grandma and Josh used to talk all the time about football, and she would often go to The Apple Fritter only to see him and Dawn. She loved him and it was very obvious he had a good heart. My heart goes out to everyone working at The Apple Fritter and to Josh’ family and loved ones.
– Karly Natin


I went to The Apple Fritter donut shop on Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM. I then saw the wreath and the flowers on the door and said to myself “Oh no… not Josh!” I was very sad. I did not know what was going on. After being completely shocked for a few minutes, God put a peace over my heart and made me remember. The last time I saw Josh was last month, when I came to get a donut all the way from Eastpointe. I told him that I loved him and I would see him soon. He knew my favorite donut when I walked in the store. He would have it ready for me with a smile. I miss you guys and love you all! Steve, stay strong and stay safe. Apple Fritter has the best donuts in Michigan. Josh made every donut better. He will really be missed!
– Taleisha Jones


R.I.P. Joshua Urban, you and I have been through so much together. Our friendship was so strong. You tried to teach me how to cook smothered pork chops and then kicked me out of the kitchen. You have made me smile, you have made me sad, I always said I would always be by your side through anything. You had a rough time with stuff. I was always there for you, now you will be our guardian angel. I will forever be your best friend. Til we meet again, love and miss you so much.
– Cyndi Heys

HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED AT YOUR LIFE and realized that it lacked purpose? Eight months ago we admitted this to ourselves.

Throughout our lives, we are led to believe that we find our value and worth in external sources. This is not true. To place our value in external sources, we create a gap between ourselves and the meaning of life. Which will always lead us to un-fulfillment.

What we know now is that a dream is not what we save up for, work towards or achieve. A dream is the way we experience life. Life is meant to be lived purposefully.

When you ignite your dream, you discover your values. The two are inseparable and support each other. It then becomes imperative that you embody these values in every moment to bring your dream to life.

For us this means leaving Ferndale and beginning our journey of Running Into a New Earth, taking us to the Stop Line 3 Resistance in Northern Minnesota.

THE PROPOSED ROUTE FOR LINE 3 crosses 227 lakes and rivers, including the Mississippi River and rivers that feed directly into Lake Superior. As a representation of these sacred waters, we will be running 227 miles along the North Country Trail.

“If Line 3 is completed it will carry nearly a million barrels a day of crude oil – the dirtiest oil to extract and burn – from Alberta, Canada through Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.

“When it spills, as all pipelines do, millions of people downstream will feel the effects, and wild rice beds sacred to the Anishinaabe in Minnesota will be destroyed.” – Line 3 Solidarity Action.

Enbridge, the Canadian company building this pipeline, is the same company responsible for the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history which happened in Kalamazoo, July 2010. They are also the same company pushing the Line 5 pipeline which is proposed to travel under the Straits of Mackinac.

THE WAY WE CURRENTLY LIVE as a people has an expiration date that is fast-approaching. Looking for answers within the same system that has led us down a path to our own demise, will only bring about more destruction.

It’s time to create a new energy within ourselves. Looking beyond our current societal structures. Change cannot take place within the current structures. We must change our energy, and the structure will follow.

Unhappiness and negativity is a disease on our planet. What pollution is on the outer level is negativity on the inner. Creating a new energy is to shift the way we experience life. To discover the depths of our being and the beauty that lies at our core. When this happens, our world around us will begin to change.

We heal ourselves, and by doing so, we heal Mother Earth.

To learn more about #StopLine3, visit www.stopline3.org and follow our journey on @wearebrandonandfiona

By Kevin Alan Lamb

I BELIEVE THE PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN EACH OF US A better understanding of what is meaningful in our lives, that which we take pride in, and those who comprise our tribe.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the prevalence of absence within our community, along with the events that help define its character, delivered a gut check that we will continue to recover from.

Unable to attend concerts, sporting events, and pastimes like Ferndale Pride, many were denied access to their community, and to the very ingredients which breathe life into their blood. Accessibility and inclusiveness are two qualities that Julia Music, Executive Director of Ferndale Pride, builds their foundation upon.

“One of the main things we try to do is engage the entire community, so we will have a number of organizations representing the LGBTQA. We were not able to get all of them, but we were able to get LGBTQ represented from different groups. Also, we have lots of different political backgrounds, lots of different religious and non-religious backgrounds represented in our non-profit booths. That is a big component in making sure our Pride festival is very inclusive.

We also have a lot of medical and social services available throughout our Pride festival. We will have STI testing on the street with the Matrix MAC Health Mobile Unit, and free COVID vaccines going this year so people who want to get a vaccine can come get one.”

New to Ferndale Pride this year, in addition to it taking place on Saturday, October 2, will be a third stage programmed inside 215 West Ferndale.

“We are very lucky that Liv Cannabis bought the main stage, and Green Buddha and Thoughts & Prayers are putting on the DJ Dance stage. They are very excited to be joining us this year for the first time ever. We will have 187 booths, and they are all sold out, totally full. Over 200 volunteer slots will be filled by lots of people, helping out, getting the day going, and that is really exciting to see.”

IF PEOPLE WANT TO HELP, THEY CAN VISIT FERNDALEPRIDE.COM where they can sign up to volunteer or donate. They will begin working on Pride 2022 in November.

“A silver lining that emerged from these pandemic times: We got to see places like The Candle Wick Shoppe, which is a small business in Ferndale, come back for the third year with their naming rights sponsorship, ensuring we could actually put on the event because that takes care of a large chunk of our expenses. We have really been lucky that so many businesses were able to do well during the pandemic and come back to support us, and that contributes to the fact that we are not charging again this year at the gate. There’s no gate, actually – you can just walk right in, free of charge. Bring your whole family because of our fundraising efforts and our sponsors.”

Other events happening in conjunction with Ferndale Pride include an interfaith prayer service on October 29, from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM at Schiffer Park. A multitude of different religions will be represented in prayer for a good Pride festival.

MotorBall has moved Pride Weekend, so that will be a ticketed event that you can purchase tickets for if you’re interested in going to all of those club events. TG Detroit will put on their Invasion during Pride so transgender men and women and their allies are welcome to buy tickets for those events. Lots of things to do throughout the week and weekend and we are just very excited to bring Pride back to Downtown Ferndale.”

Melanie Williams and Nicole Duffey, lifelong best friends, are celebrating 14 years in business as co-owners of Regeneration, a resale clothing store at 23700 Woodward Ave. in Pleasant Ridge, just blocks away from Ferndale and I-696.

DESPITE A TOUGH YEAR DURING THE PANDEMIC, they are expanding the size of their store with the addition of a new space called The Annex, and looking forward to the future.

Williams and Duffey expressed deep gratitude that their store managed to survive the difficult circumstances brought about by COVID-19.

“We are appreciative that most of our customers feel safe to shop and sell clothing with us during such an uneasy time,” Duffey said.

The duo’s history as business owners goes back to 2007, when a desire for new careers led them to shift gears and open Regeneration.

“We were both in a stagnant place, job-wise and life-wise; craved a change and wanted a challenge,” Williams said. “We both adored vintage clothing and had been avid thrift store shoppers, so it made sense to try our hand at a business we loved.”

Regeneration had expanded to two stores when a second store opened in Clawson in 2011. But the Clawson store did not survive the pandemic, allowing Williams and Duffey to focus on growing their main location in Pleasant Ridge.

“Deciding to close our Clawson store wasn’t difficult, as we knew that managing both stores, especially amid a pandemic, would be too much to handle financially and emotionally,” Duffey said. “Last Summer, we rented the space next door to our main location to help manage the overflow of inventory.

“Eventually we will break down the main wall and refigure our dressing rooms. But in the meantime, The Annex houses the bulk of our accessories for men and women,” said Williams. “While the front room has a cozy boutique feel, the Annex is an intimate space that is a revolving/evolving room dedicated to local artists and sustainable products.”

LIKE MOST SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS, Williams and Duffey got creative during the pandemic and went outside of their normal methods of engaging customers, and much of their efforts to stay connected to customers focused on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram.

“We’ve used Instagram the past few years to highlight exceptional items we buy for the store, but now we’re using Instagram to make connections. Just before we reopened in May 2020, we invited our staff to share Instagram videos of what they’d been up to during quarantine. We’ve since transitioned into hosting a weekly live sale on Instagram at 2:00 P.M. on Saturdays. It’s important to share highlights of our inventory with folks that aren’t one hundred percent comfortable shopping during the pandemic. We cultivated a big family of customers prior to the pandemic shutdown, and our activity on Facebook and Instagram helped us stay in touch with people and connect to other businesses.”

One trend the two women have noticed is that career-oriented items aren’t selling as much as they once did. Working from home has changed career-wear culture. They said the great thing about resale is that you don’t have to spend a lot to wear fashionable clothing, and shopping secondhand is beneficial for one’s budget, as well as the environment.

“When we do shift back to school full-time, being social, or heading back to the workplace, our store will be a fantastic option for families who don’t want to spend full price on apparel,” Williams said. “Also, having a significant amount of down time has inspired folks to clean out their closets and purge unneeded things. This is beneficial to the world of resale, because we are seeing an influx of amazing items that people are casting off in exchange for cash or store credit.”

By Ingrid Sjostrand
Photos ©2021 Bill Gemmell

FERNDALE HAS ALWAYS had a reputation as a welcoming and inclusive community. The global pandemic seems to have only reinforced those ideals as neighbors, city government and businesses united to help each other and bring joy in the city’s own unique way.

MAYOR MELANIE PIANA REFLECTS ON THIS PAST YEAR IN THE CITY and how residents kept their spirits up, like through the T-Rex Walking Club which involved residents, and Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks members, parading the streets – socially distanced – in inflatable costumes.

“For me the real bright spot was the community coming together, supporting their neighbors and businesses to help people meet their needs, as well as bring joy,” Piana said. “I was really inspired by the Elks Club T-Rex parade, people decorating their front lawns, others checking to make sure people had enough food to eat. It was really inspiring to see.”

Outside of residents uplifting their neighbors, the pandemic provided the opportunity for Ferndale government to find new, and renewed, ways to meet the needs of its citizens.

“We wanted to make sure our older adult residents were being taken care of. We coordinated with local organizations and volunteers for meal deliveries, sent out flyers that included state and county COVID resource hotlines so we could reach those who might not have access to the Internet,” Ferndale City Council Member Kat Bruner James said. “We are also in the process of re-invigorating our printed city newsletter. I’m not sure when we stopped producing it, but we found that residents really appreciated the updates on initiatives and things going on in the city data from a community survey in early 2020 showed us that residents want this, but the pandemic highlighted the critical need for this particular form of communication.”

Collaboration and connection grew in many ways during the pandemic. Bruner James noted more residents attending City Council meetings with the new virtual format and Piana saw a connection among city departments to support small businesses.

Mayor Melanie Piana

“There is a new spirit of partnership between the city, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the South Oakland Area Regional Chamber of Commerce,” Piana said. “They’ve really leveraged each other’s strengths and expertise to respond to our small-business communities needs and became a source of information and guidance for how to apply for small business grants and navigate any employment issues.

The DDA contracted with an HR firm at the beginning of the pandemic because a lot of the small businesses had human resources needs. We’ve been deploying and distributing PPE (personal protective equipment) provided through safety kits by the County,” she added. “So, we’ve tried a lot of different approaches to support our businesses. It’s been a chance to have partnerships that brought a lot of value and benefit to our small businesses across the city.”

ON TOP OF ENSURING THE SAFETY OF THE COMMUNITY, the city continued with several scheduled projects for 2020. In August, City Council approved its Affordability & Inclusive Housing Action Plan to create a blueprint to increase housing options at all price points throughout the city. They’ve also expanded open outdoor public spaces, like the “Grassy Knoll” at 9 Mile and Bermuda and patio zones for restaurant use. They are currently working on a proposal to require standards for short-term rentals, like Airbnbs, in the city.

“We are finalizing the short-term rental ordinances now,” Bruner James said. “Next, we will be looking into the

Council Member Kat Bruner James

vacant and abandoned housing and how to better manage and rebuild those. This will be an important project as having a high rate of vacant homes can lead to a lot of issues for residents including property value and pests.”

“We have data that Ferndale has an eight percent rate of vacant single-family homes, so we’re going to dive deeper into why and understand what is contributing to that number and identify solutions for this issue,” Piana adds.

As we move into 2021, the city is preparing for some exciting changes along Woodward Ave. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be repaving the road between 8 Mile and 10 Mile starting in 2022. In partnership with Pleasant Ridge, Ferndale has applied for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant to improve safety and modes of transportation options as part of their Woodward Avenue Improvement Project which, if approved, will coincide with the repaving.

“I’m really excited to take advantage of this repaving opportunity and our two cities have come together in a strong partnership supporting making improvements on Woodward,” Piana said. “The grant has been submitted and we’re hoping to hear back by July.”

Mayor Pro Tem Rayon Leaks-May

Residents will have another opportunity to come together as a community to provide input on the final design and engineering of the Complete Streets project. Piana suggests keeping an eye out for meeting details in the next few months and emphasizes the necessity of these improvements.

“WHAT THE PANDEMIC SHOWED US IS THE REAL VALUE of open and public space and how much having access to public space is important to the public’s health,” Piana said. “You need great sidewalks that connect you somewhere and access for people who may need to use mobility devices. These are all things that the pandemic really doubled down on. We knew it but, until we had to rely on it completely for social well-being and to interact with people in our communities, it wasn’t as apparent.”

As vaccinations roll out and businesses begin reopening, it can feel like things might be back to normal by summer but Piana wants residents to remain cautiously optimistic.

“Looking ahead for 2021, we’re still in a pandemic. I like to use a music analogy – we’re crescendo-ing up the

Council Member Laura Mikulski
Not Pictured But Also Serving: Greg Pawlica

vaccinations and decrescendo-ing the COVID cases,” she said. “The City will be keeping the focus on safety and supporting small business recovery. We’re at more than a year of hunkering down at home, everybody is sort of sick and tired of the pandemic, but we really still need to do our part and stay safe.”

By Ingrid Sjostrand
Photos ©2021 Bill Gemmell

AFTER A YEAR OF SO MUCH CHANGE, LOSS AND LONELINESS, it feels almost necessary to search for the bright spots. To look back and find some good and look forward to the fresh opportunities of a new year. In living up to its name, Pleasant Ridge seems to be doing just that.

Commissioner Ann Perry & Mayor Kurt Metzger

MAYOR KURT METZGER has found that the strong sense of community and familiarity among residents has helped many get through the worst days of the past year.

“With the arrival of Spring and vaccines, to see more and more neighbors out, walking dogs, pushing strollers or biking indicates a change toward normalcy,” he said. “Just the idea that we’ve been in our homes and isolated – you see this look on people’s faces when we see each other on the streets. Almost a release.”

Others like Ann Perry, one of Pleasant Ridge’s four City Commissioners, found that the forced transition to virtual meetings and events has allowed for increased community involvement.

“That’s one of the most important things I, and all of us, do as commissioners. We’re here to listen to what residents are saying and make sure those things are reflected in policy and practice,” she said. “With remote meetings, it’s given people more access to that. They might not have come to meetings before but now it’s so easy for more people to interact and that has been an excellent experience.”

And this opportunity for resident involvement extends past just virtual commission meetings. Every City department, board, foundation and block club benefits from the involvement of residents and volunteers.

“This pandemic has been such a psychological strain on everyone’s emotional health and having those connections makes a huge difference,” Perry said. “Anyone seeking ways to connect can always reach out to any of the city commission members through the city website. We can always help connect them to different groups and communities.”

IN ALL, THE COLLABORATION OF CITY DEPARTMENTS AND RESIDENTS has ensured the sense of community wasn’t lost in the isolated year and may have lessened the negative impacts of the pandemic.

“Despite 105 reported cases of COVID and one COVID related death over the year, I think we survived pretty well. Budget-wise we were not impacted, as we were able to increase our general fund balance. Obviously, services were delayed and offices were closed but, unlike other communities, we are mainly residential and most of the impact was on social life and activity,” Metzger said. “Outside of that, as a City, we were able to continue most of the projects we had planned.”

Those projects include the addition of two new pavilions in the city: One on the East Side at Gainsboro Park and the other at the community pool on the West Side.

“I think those will be really great spaces for people to gather and have their parties and little events. They are a really nice addition to the park and pool area and are beautifully designed,” Perry said.

As we look forward to 2021, there are plans for even more projects and city improvements, including collaboration with the City of Ferndale on a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant to add bicycle tracks to Woodward Avenue and streetscape updates. The largest project beginning this year will be updating the water lines throughout Pleasant Ridge.

“THE BIGGEST THING WE’RE NOW FACING IS THIS STATE MANDATE to get rid of all the lead lines,” Metzger said. “We’re trying to find ways to minimize the financial impact on residents, but it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to have a town hall in April to explain why it’s necessary, what the ramifications are and why we just can’t absorb the cost ourselves.”

“It’s an almost unintentional benefit of having such sandy soil, our water mains never broke,” Perry added. “Unfortunately, that has put us in a tough situation because they are now over 100-years-old and we have to do these lead line updates.”

While this new year might bring new challenges, Metzger wants to assure residents that they are exploring all the potential ways to ease the pain of these necessary updates and have them concentrate on things to look forward to this year, including the re-opening of the community pool.

“The pool is the number-one attraction, followed by summer camp, the swim team and those kinds of activities,” he said. “That’s what people miss the most so we’re just hoping that we can reopen and operate as close to normal as possible.”

“Our Recreation Department is so smart and love what they do. It’s fun to watch them figure out how to navigate this,” Perry added. “I think this will be an exciting summer!”

Maybe one last bright spot of the past year is the opportunity to find excitement and joy in the little things in 2021.

“While many individual lives have been altered, I believe that the overall effect of the pandemic is to further tighten our community bonds,” Metzger adds. “We’re all in this together and the idea of getting back to some level of normalcy will be plenty exciting.”