Memorial Edition 2021

By Sara E. Teller

Businessman, Family Man & Visionary

JACK ARONSON, FOUNDER OF GARDEN FRESH IN FERNDALE AND A MAN WHO GAVE FIERCELY TO THE COMMUNITY HE LOVED, died peacefully in his sleep at age 68 after a battle with cancer. His heart of gold and love for his family will long outlive him.

Aronson was first and foremost a go-getter. He poured passion into everything he did. Son Daniel Aronson, the youngest of five now-grown children, said “I couldn’t have asked for a better role model and father. He was determined and hard-working, and yet he always made time to be with his kids.”

Daniel said of his father’s business mindset that he was always innovative and on the cutting edge. “He was the heart and soul of Garden Fresh,” he said. “He created the recipes. My mom helped make it come together while my dad would go out and sell it. He partnered with business-minded people. When he discovered that some of the products, like onions, were exploding, he researched high-pressure pasteurization vessels; water pressure which kills pathogens extending the shelf life and keeping everything fresh. It was a game-changer.”

Brett Tillander, CEO of Metro Detroit Youth Club, echoed these sentiments, saying of Aronson, “He saw the things that go unseen and heard the things that go unheard.” For the Youth Club, “He was a coach for people who needed it.”

ARONSON DID MUCH FOR THE KIDS INVOLVED WITH THE CLUB. Tillander remembers Aronson set one of the members up to throw a first pitch at a Comerica Park game. Aronson was inspired by her tenacity, Tillander said, and mentored her until, as an adult, she began to work with autistic youth herself. He recalled, “Jack had the ability to seed and inspire others to take action.”

He also added that Jack and wife Annette made a great team, saying, “Throughout their time at Garden Fresh, they both did so much. I remember Annette wouldn’t let the sale of Pepsi go through so that employees wouldn’t lose their jobs.” He chucked and recalled, “One day, Annette came in and some of the employees were anxious about it, wondering why she was there. Turns out, she just came in to wash the windows.”

Daniel and Tillander both agreed some of their favorite memories with Aronson involved food. Daniel called his dad a “foodie” and said he was a “phenomenal cook” who would feed a crowd by coming up with “seven different things that would somehow all come together in the end.” He added, “My favorite memories were driving around finding new places to eat.”

TILLANDER SHARED A STORY OF ARONSON RANDOMLY DRIVING HIM out to Red Hots Coney Island in Highland Park (now closed), putting four coney dogs in front of him and leaving him with a to-go bag of twenty. He didn’t have the heart to tell his friend he had just switched to being a vegetarian. He knew Aronson had a love for food, and Tillander ended up just eating them all. He said, “Whenever Jack was driving, it was an adventure. You had no idea where you were going and yet it was all okay.”

Daniel found his dad’s willingness to go above and beyond and get involved in as many charitable organizations as possible incredibly inspiring. He recalled, “He was involved in lots of charities, not only the Youth Club, he did a lot with the Salvation Army and the Beyond Basics Reading Program.” He added, “Above all, my dad was passionate, compassionate and strong.”

Tillander hopes that “when the silence comes, when the flowers stop, when the cards stop, others remember to connect with Annette and the family. They’ve done so much for the community.”

Jack is survived by his loving wife and devoted partner,  Annette (known as Vitamin A), his children Trevor (Angela), Melissa (Davey), Melanie (Dave), Jack (Bridget) and Daniel (Shantel) as well as 16 beautiful grandchildren, Tyler A, Tyler, Marlie, Janet, Katie, Jayson, Landon, Ryan, Lily, Katie, Emily, Mya, Lea, Hannah, Olivia and Drea, and siblings Kenneth (Joan), Virginia (Gordon), Diana (Roger), David (Lynn). Predeceased by his parents and his brother, Sonny.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Metro Detroit Youth Clubs (, Say Detroit (, Salvation Army of South-Eastern Michigan ( or Beyond Basics (

JACK WAS A PROUD GRADUATE OF FERNDALE HIGH SCHOOL, a restauranteur, and founder of Garden Fresh Gourmet. But, more than that, Jack and his beloved wife Annette, were committed to helping our community and our children achieve a better future. As a part of that commitment, the Aronsons made an incredible investment in Ferndale Public Schools to help improve literacy.

Jack knew that success for any student is built on a strong foundation of literacy. Due to the incredible generosity of the Aronsons, Ferndale Schools was able to hire a full-time reading specialist and purchase flexible learning furniture, computers, and licenses for READ 180 curriculum. READ 180 is a researched-based reading tool that blends reading comprehension, academic vocabulary and writing skills for students. Thanks to the Aronsons, Ferndale High School has been able to provide vital reading intervention and tutoring for hundreds of students.

Jack’s commitment was much more than just financial. In addition to being involved in the reading program at FHS, he and Annette regularly took the students on culturally diverse field trips and brought them lunch so that they could talk and get to know each other. Jack was committed to establishing personal relationships with our students and school community.

Jack’s engagement traveled far beyond the boundaries of Ferndale. He served on the board of Beyond Basics (an organization promoting youth literacy), as well as the national board of the Salvation Army. Through their foundation, Jack and Annette were also significant contributors to Boys and Girls Clubs of South Oakland County, as well as other charitable causes focusing on bettering the lives of children and young adults.

WHILE MANY WILL REMEMBER JACK for his incredible success in the business world. We in Ferndale have been blessed to know Jack personally and to witness the truly life changing impact of his generosity. The greatest legacy any of us can hope to leave behind is one where through our actions in life others benefit when we are gone. Jack has truly left a legacy that will positively impact our community for generations to come.

On behalf of the entire Ferndale Schools family, I want to send my deepest condolences to Annette and the entire Aronson family.

Thank you Jack.

Dania H. Bazzi, PhD
Superintendent, Ferndale Schools


THERE ARE MANY FOND MEMORIES OF THE TIMES I SPENT WITH JACK. I know I don’t stick out as anyone special in any particular way but that’s completely appropriate. Jack was a larger-than-life person to probably everyone he knew.

We met when I was running AJ’S Cafe in downtown Ferndale. AJ’s was a beloved “living room” of Ferndale that achieved a lot of local, even national and global attention for the many grassroots activities that happened there. Jack once told me that when he traveled around, people knew two things about Ferndale, him and AJ’s Cafe! That was pretty cool.

When the time came to leave AJ’s Cafe, I was kind of like a fish out of water. I had no idea that the social capital we had achieved at AJ’s could be translated into working capital somehow. I put my chips down on a coffee company and we called it Detroit Bold, because the city of Detroit and all of its people, despite all we had endured throughout the ages, was bold. It was the best word to describe us.

THERE WAS NO ONE I COULD HAVE IMAGINED ASKING FOR ADVICE OTHER THAN JACK. He basically took me under his wing and took me in. I’ll never forget that first meeting on 9 Mile at his headquarters in Ferndale. He sat me down at this super-long executive meeting table with he, Dave Zilko, and Mike Griffin, his trusted cohorts. They began to lay out a plan for me to follow and gave me the necessary roadmap towards success. Detroit Bold is sold in hundreds of stores today and it would never have happened were it not for Jack.

It was not all work, though. I played in his charity softball games because he asked me to be one of the celebrities. I could not imagine myself as a celebrity but hey – if he wanted me to play I was glad to, no questions asked. I knew the cause was good. We had a lot of lunches together, mostly at Red Hot’s Coney in Highland Park. We both were originally from around there and loved to go back. Our roasting operation is there, too. Jack made sure to stop in and see the facilities and lend his name to ours.

In 2016, we lost our mom. Throughout the year, Jack always made sure that I went back home with hummus, chips and salsa. Our mother was bedridden and had a hard time eating, but she sure loved that hummus. I Face-Timed Jack for my mom so she could say hello and, of course, Jack was gracious enough to chat with her.

Jack and Annette (that was our mom’s name too!) attended the funeral and took me off to the side of the room where they gifted our family a check to help with the funeral costs. I was so flabbergasted, it was completely unexpected and quite helpful. Jack and Annette knew that my coffee business was still a fledgling business.

JACK NEVER SOUGHT ATTENTION FOR THAT KIND OF STUFF. I think Jack knew that happiness did not come from the attainment of things. It came for Jack by giving, and quietly so. I think that of all the gifts he has given to me, that is the one that I cherish the most.

If you knew Jack, you know what I mean. If you didn’t know him, rest assured you

would have liked him. He gave his time and talents to me as he would to anyone who crossed his path.

Rest, dear friend. We will carry on and your memory will live on for generations to come.

AJ O’Neil
Detroit Bold Coffee & AJ’s Cafe


I KNEW JACK ARONSON SINCE THE ’70S, THROUGH A MUTUAL FRIEND. But I really got to know him and his wife Annette in the early ’90s, working for him at Clubhouse BBQ. Then, in August of 1998, I started working for them making salsa in the back of the restaurant. That’s when the real story began.

As the salsa business grew over the years, so did their love for helping others. Through their humble struggle building a business, so did their humanitarianism grow. They became involved with the Bed & Breakfast Club, Salvation Army, The Boys & Girls Club and many other great giving foundations. They started their own Artichoke Garlic Foundation. They help fund Beyond Basics and many more. They have been there for countless organizations and thousands of individuals over the years.

I love these people who also helped me in my time of need. I can’t express my deep sadness for the loss of my friend. Jack who lost a three-year struggle with cancer. Through his struggle, he learned so much about this horrific disease, traveling to Switzerland, Austria and lastly Hungary in June/July of this year searching for alternative cures. Through his travels, much was learned for future cancer victims.

His memory will live on throughout the world forever. R.I.P. my dear friend and boss in Heaven with all of the other Earth’s Angels.

Sincerely, your Cherbot 2000!
Cher Mitchell

I’D HEARD HIS NAME IN MY HOUSE EVERY DAY FOR YEARS. My mom was always going to work at his house, or she would hang with his wife, Annette (one of her best friends). Jack was my first boss at Clubhouse BBQ in Ferndale. Now I know the whole family, and am sorry for their loss of such a creative and generous man! He loved helping his community.

I was already working at the restaurant when he created Garden Fresh Salsa. I worked at a few different positions for that company too. On one trip in Chicago, Jack told a waiter it was my birthday. It was not, but they didn’t know that, and the staff came with a cake and song. It’s funny to look back on now! He made a pig for my luau graduation party and an employee put the pig’s head on my living room table! (I had just become a vegetarian.)

Jack sent me food often through my mom. He knew I love salmon. He loved me, and called me Amy Lou. (“Jack, like you know that is not my middle name right?”) I used that name on a voice text telling him that I loved him about eight hours before he died. I am very grateful that I knew to tell him that then.

He made his dreams come true and did what he was sent here to do, which is to help people! I could never forget him even if I wanted to. He has been such a big part of my life.

Amy Mitchell

ONE THING ABOUT JACK ARONSON (there are too many to list) is that each relationship he had was unique to that individual. He always made you feel important, no matter if you were a student trying to build your own brand or the CEO of a major company. I never saw any ego in any of my time with him over the years.

When I was in treatment for cancer, he made sure I had food prepared each week, and when it was over he and Annette offered me a job with the Ferndale Literacy Project. He saved my life in ways he and Annette never knew. Heartbroken that I will never hear that booming voice again or have to struggle to keep up with his speed-talking. Love you,  Jack.

Carol Jackson
Ferndale Literacy Project
SouthEast Oakland Coalition

MICHAEL B. LENNON, AGE 64, OF FERNDALE, died on Thursday July 1, 2021. Loving father of Ryan (Kristy) Lennon and Tara Lennon. Dear brother of Sherry Lennon, Lori Lennon, Tim Lennon, Ed (Mary Ellen) Lennon, B.J. (Karyn) Lennon, and the late David Lennon. Also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Former spouse of Faith Lennon. Family suggests memorials be made directly to his children.



My wonderful late brother, Mike, was Ferndale through-and-through. He was born and raised in Ferndale, graduated from Ferndale High School, and served the City of Ferndale with distinction for nearly four decades as a police officer and city councilman.

Mike was very intelligent; he always kept up to date on everything going on in Ferndale. He made time for any citizen who had a question or concern. Although gruff at times, everyone knew that deep down he was a big teddy bear.

Mike’s biggest accomplishments in life were his two children: Ryan and Tara. He bragged about them all the time and was a big part of their lives. I always looked forward to him telling me about their latest accomplishments.

Mike’s legacy will live on. The City of Ferndale lost a great champion. He will always be rooting for Ferndale, even in Heaven!

– Tim Lennon, Brother

WHEN MICHAEL B. LENNON PASSED AWAY THIS SUMMER at the age of 64, another page was turned in the history book that is Ferndale, Michigan. One of those characters in a city with more than its share, Mike figured heavily in the political and civic life of Ferndale for more than 40 years.

Born to a big, boisterous Irish family during the height of the baby boom, Mike followed in the footsteps of his father, brother and other family members in local and regional community service. A police officer with the Ferndale Police Department for a quarter of a century, Mike went on to run and win a city council seat in 2003. He held that seat for twelve years during a period of continuing great change in Ferndale, serving under three mayors.

Mike was an old-style Democrat, moderate in social and fiscal policies but always a strong supporter of labor and the working and middle-classes. His common-sense positions and gruff but honest rhetoric drew support and votes from across the spectrum of Ferndale’s communities. He could always be counted on to stand up for city workers, the businesses, seniors and taxpayers in the city.

He was also a lovable and funny guy. My favorite stories about Mike took place one summer evening in the heart of the city. I found myself sitting next to Mike at the patio bar at Como’s. The place was packed…with hundreds of women. Mike turned to me and said “I like this bar. There’s lots of pretty, sharp women here.” I told him that it was first Wednesday, and that he was surrounded by lesbians. He grinned, and said, “That’s okay, I love it.”

That same night, after Mike ordered a drink, the waiter brought him his vodka in a tiny rocks glass not even the size of a tennis ball. Mike held it up and roared in his gravelly voice that could be heard across the din of the patio: “I’m gonna’ need a bigger glass…this glass is too small.”

During my time as mayor, Mike sat next to me, and during the summer months I benefited from the fan that he had installed under the council desk that kept blowing on him during our sometimes interminable meetings.

For a time Mike worked for Jack Aronson as a driver at Garden Fresh Salsa. As we mourn the loss of these great lions and friends of our community, we can take solace in knowing that Ferndale is a much better place because of them.

– Craig Covey, Former Mayor




I FIRST MET MIKE LENNON PRIOR TO ANY INVOLVEMENT in local politics. We were both working on a charity event for one of the local non-profits. The first thing that struck me about Mike was the way his face lit up when he was greeting people. Mike loved people, especially his Ferndale people.

Mike came from a family with deep roots in Ferndale and he committed his life to serving his neighbors. First, as a police officer, then as a city councilperson, and throughout his life at any community event or charity fundraiser.

Later, when we served on city council together, Mike carried that love for his community through every issue we considered and vote we took. Mike especially liked to look out for those whose family, like his, were residents over several generations. He was passionate about holding those neighbors up and ensuring they were always represented.

I am really going to miss Mike. His sense of humor was infectious. He would leave candy wrappers on your council chair or pass on a slightly off-color joke. He was serious about his work and service. He had a big heart and always had time to offer advice to someone new trying to get involved in the community. He always made time to listen to his constituents or to just be a good friend. His larger-than-life personality will continue to leave its mark for a long time in Ferndale.

– Dan Martin


MY DAD TAUGHT ME THINGS I’LL NEVER FORGET. Even if he thought I wasn’t looking, I studied his every move as a kid. From the way he called everyone “boss,” the way he shook everyone’s hand, the way he knew exactly what buttons to push, and which ones not to push.

He had a magnetism about him that could captivate a room, and he often made sure of it. He was a bit gruff and rough around the edges, but he was also reasonable, unshaken, and tender at heart. He cared for the little guy and stuck up for his fellow man. He took pride in his work and in his public service and never gave up on people.

Words simply cannot express how unique my dad was and how unbreakable our bond was. In fact, I still feel him with me every day. I’ve always been told that I’m just like him. Maybe without the quick wit and crass tongue I always knew him to have, but I was definitely given his mannerisms and ability to make light of any situation.

I KNOW THAT MY BROTHER AND I WERE VERY SPECIAL TO HIM. I saw the tear in his eye as he watched my brother graduate from the Navy A School, and I knew that every smirk he gave me was a “good job.” He wasn’t one to share his feelings very often but I could always see through to his true heart. Maybe it was from all the years of bonding over Chips with Erik Estrada while eating salt and vinegar chips, or maybe it was our mutual dislike for hanging Christmas decorations.

Whatever the case, he was just a man that sought love and understanding like all of us. My brother, Ryan, and I are proud of the knowledge and life skills he imparted on us, and we know he’s with us in spirit. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t on the other side, still trying to call me at 6:30 A.M. just to see if I had plans that day. I will always be his “Stinky” and he’ll always mean the world to me.

– Tara Lennon, daughter



Sorry to learn of Mike’s death. The Lennon family has contributed so much to the Ferndale community through the generations. Our condolences to all.
– Shirley & Don Pemberton

Rest in peace Mike.. Rest in the hallow of God’s hand.
– Sharon Szalma, Former Deputy City Clerk, City of Ferndale

Mike – I will miss your humor, kindness, and hospitality, and our occasional meals together sharing laughs and concerns.
– Jaynmarie Reddie

So sorry to learn of your passing. I remember you from high school as a good man. My condolences to family and friends.
– Doina Rosu

Mike Lennon, You are too young to leave us. We had some good times and you lived a life of service. Sometimes you lived larger than life. May you be pain free and at peace. I’ll see you again.
– Annette Richards

I will never forget our trip together to the Rose Bowl when Michigan won the National Championship. We sure had a lot of fun in California and of course here in Michigan. Mike, you sure will be missed. You had a great career in the city you loved.
– Kevin Knight

Rest In Peace my dear cousin.
– Deborah Calnen Halleck

Mike was a kind and loving person, always there when you need help. Condolences to the family. Stay strong Ryan and Tara.
– Patrick Lennon

I am so sorry to hear this. Mike was a great person. He contributed so much to the city he loved. My thoughts are with his children and family.
– Trisha Samseli

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PATRICK J. CURTIN, AGE 90, DIED ON SUNDAY,  JULY 25, 2021. Beloved husband of 61 years to the late Carolyn G. (Spaulding). Patrick was born to Margaret (Brady) and Edward Curtin in Detroit. He was raised in Ferndale and graduated from St. James High School in 1950.

In 1951 he joined the firm of Spaulding & Son Funeral Home while he pursued his education in Mortuary Science, graduating in the class of 1953 from Wayne State University.  He then served two years in the U.S. Army in Kokura,  Japan during the Korean War. He returned home to marry the boss’ daughter and the love of his life, Carolyn Spaulding. They were married in June, 1956.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Patrick served on the Downtown Development Administration. While on the DDA he was on the planning committee for the first Dream Cruise, which was organized as a fundraiser for the Field of Dreams Soccer Park to be built at Martin Rd. Park. He was a lifelong member of St. James Parish where as a student there he served as an acolyte (alter boy) and later on the Parish Council with a stint as President.

In retirement, Patrick grew a full, white beard and was employed as a naturally-bearded Santa, donating all his wages to children’s charities. He had several antique cars which gave him a lot of joy, and he and our mother could ofter be found cruising Woodward in one of them, driving up to Birmingham for ice cream. He also enjoyed traveling and especially with his family, both as a young father and as a grandfather. He loved the Tigers, long road trips, and photography.

Patrick is survived by daughters Lynn O’Meara (Kelly), KellyAnne Ruda (Charlie) and daughter-in-law Patricia Curtin. Loving grandfather to Conor O’Meara M.D., Cait O’Meara (fiancé Steven Eby), HM2 Maura Curtin-Stubblefield, USN (HM1 Jerry Stubblefield, USN) and Charlotte Ruda. Dear brother to Aileen Littlejohn (late Ernie). Predeceased by son Kevin Curtin, sisters Mary Margaret Morgan (late Howard) and Sr. Rebecca Curtin, CSJ, brothers, Rev. James Curtin, Thomas Curtin (late Nina).

Patrick, with Carolyn by his side, was an avid traveler, having visited every continent. He was active for many years in St. James parish, Michigan Funeral Directors Association, Ferndale Kiwanis Club and various other organizations. He was a kind and generous man, supporting many charities to help improve the lives of those less fortunate. He was a true Irish gentleman with a quick wit and a loving heart.

Family suggests donations may be made to Pope Francis Center, 438 St Antoine Street, Detroit.

Or the Ferndale Historical Society, 1651 Livernois, Ferndale MI 48220


MY DEEPEST SYMPATHIES to you and your family with the loss of your dear Dad. He was the kindest and sweetest man there was. His love for his family, faith, and friends made a significant impact on many. I loved his laugh, humor and his mischievous ways of finding ways to have a little more fun. He will always be “my favorite godfather” and think, or believe anyway, that I was “his favorite goddaughter.” Thanks for sharing your Dad will all of us. The line to greet him in heaven will be long and know my Dad will be so happy to have his lifelong best friend with him and Are will have an apple pie waiting for him. Love you, Uncle Pat. My love to you and your families.
– Ann McNamara Knight

MR. CURTIN WAS THE NICEST MAN I’ve ever met besides my dad. I loved Mr. Curtin. It was an honor to assist him. I will always have fond memories of time spent with Mr. Curtin and his family. Kelly Anne and Lynn. I will miss Mr. Curtin forever.
– Shanell Farris

FROM THE MOMENT I met Patrick he was incredibly kind and warm towards me. Within ten seconds of meeting him, he sat me down and began to teach me backgammon before then stopping the game to offer me a rusty nail. A memory I will never forget.
– Dan Field

WHEN I WAS INTRODUCED to Carolyn and Pat quite a few years ago, I knew immediately what a sweet and charming man Pat was. They also exuded such love between husband and wife that I really believed them to be role models for any married couple. Carolyn’s death was a huge loss but now losing Pat is truly a multi-magnified loss for everyone who knew him. He joins Carolyn and other family members in the marvelous “Angel Brigade” of our dear Lord Jesus Christ. They’re all watching over every family member and all of their friends.
– Terry Toman

SWEET MR. CURTIN was the father of one of my closest friends, Kelly. I got to know him when he became my landlord. He treated me like another daughter and spoiled me with a beautiful scarf he brought back from Ireland, which I still have. And then there was the champagne he gave me at Christmas. Above all, he was one of the kindest souls that I ever met. He had a big heart, and a great sense of humor. Kelly and Lynn, you are in my thoughts and prayers.
– Robin Francis

OUR SINCERE SYMPATHIES to the Curtin family. Pat was such a gentleman and highly respected by his peers. We have only fond memories of him and pray for comfort in the loss of this patriarch.
– Mart and Mary Hollebeek

I FEEL VERY FORTUNATE to have had a 70-year-plus friendship with the most loving, very generous, spiritual, kind, person I ever knew: Pat Curtin; a delight to be around. His ability to not worry and greet almost any life event with a very positive & supportive attitude was admirable.
– Dick McEvilly

I WOULD LIKE TO OFFER my sincere condolences to the family for your loss. When I think of Mr. Curtin, I remember his pleasant demeanor, his friendly smile and genuine concern for the other person. Pat will be remembered professionally as a compassionate funeral director who had very high standards of professionalism. Funeral service has lost a remarkable colleague.
– David A. Kesner

PATRICK WAS A CLASS ACT. My memory will always hold that twinkle he would get in his eye, his signature giggly laugh and hearty hugs.
– Kathy Onderbeke

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:

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.

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

By Kevin Lamb

The words “Jazz” and “Cats” have long been synonymous, but these days, it’s being taken to a whole ‘nother level. Mostly started in Korea and South Asian countries, cat cafes have been a popular trend throughout the world for some time.

“Jazz. What cat doesn’t like jazz? It’s as though jazz was created as a soundtrack for a cat’s life: John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, the usual suspects. We also play a lot of Brazilian jazz from the 1960’s and the cats seem to dig it,” Executive Director of Ferndale Cat Shelter, Deanne Iovan says.

But don’t be fooled, you can’t actually bring your cat to the Catfe Lounge, enjoy a coffee, and groove to some Coltrane while contemplating your mutual place in the cosmos.

“Many people don’t realize that we have been open for six years on Livernois in Ferndale. Some people also think they can bring their cats there to play with other cats, like a dog park. Not a good idea! Cats are very different from dogs and all of our cats are rescues who need forever homes. We are a part of Ferndale Cat Shelter and as such, licensed with the Michigan Department of Agriculture as a cat shelter.”

Turns out, it’s jazz for cats who need homes! Can you dig?

“WE KNEW WE COULDN’T AFFORD to build out a proper coffee shop right away since we were just in our first year as a non-profit. So we decided to offer self-serve coffee and tea instead. I pitched the idea to our very small board of directors and they surprisingly agreed. We did a small kickstarter fundraiser and opened on a shoestring. Since then, we have grown and taken over the space next door.”

Since I don’t believe in coincidence, it’s probably not one that Catfe Lounge on Livernois is just a half-a-mile away from the longest continually running Jazz establishment in these United States, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge.

“We always need dedicated volunteers. Animal rescue work succeeds on the backs of people who volunteer their time and energy to helping animals in need. Without volunteers, most rescues would not exist.”

YouTube alone assures me y’all are cat crazy…while history itself speaks for jazz, making this a classic “twenty nine or two-for-fifty” (Mr. Alan’s commercial) type of volunteering opportunity, people! Have I mentioned how healthy helping others and Ferndale felines is for an anxious mind?

“Our biggest obstacle right now is finding the space, time and veterinary care for all of the animals who need it. The pandemic quarantine brought many new fosters into rescue since they were staying home. Now that number has dwindled because everyone wants to get out and get back some normalcy in their lives. Veterinarians have been scrambling to catch up with the demand for spaying and neutering since many clinics closed or could only perform emergency surgeries during the pandemic. The veterinary profession is a hard road and requires an enormous amount of education and training. The financial payoff is meager compared to human doctors, yet veterinarians have to learn the physiology of so many species. It’s a thankless job most days. I feel their struggle.”

THE CATFE LOUNGE IS EXCITED to start having events again! “We have yoga classes twice a month and will be bringing back the ever-popular Cat Bingo in September. As always, we are looking to expand our footprint in the community and that means finding a larger facility to move forward with a coffee shop to create a sustainable non-profit business model. It’s always better when you don’t have to beg people for money!”

Each of us has an opportunity to show up for community in a unique way; different gifts bring different passion but indifference always ends the same. Perhaps you’re looking to show up in your cat’s pajamas to connect and engage with Ferndale in your way, maybe this could be it.

“Our volunteers and fosters! There are so many to be grateful for. And our veterinarians who step up to help even when they are overworked. We are very lucky to have so many good people helping our organization. On that note, building relationships in the community and fostering those relationships is so important to succeed in our mission. Each one of us plays a vital role.”

By Ryan R. Ennis

WHETHER YOU’RE AN aspiring actor or director, or just seeking entertainment, the non-profit organization Michigan Stage has something for you. With its goal “to produce theatre in enriching, refreshing new ways directly within the community of Ferndale and greater Oakland County,” opportunities abound for escaping from the monotony of the daily grind by indulging the imagination.

At Michigan Stage studio locations this summer, instructor/ artists with strong creative drives conducted summer youth playlabs for students ages 7 to 13. During the sessions, the instructors helped students develop themes and dramatic moods for designing skits and short sketches centered around D.I.A. (Detroit Institute of Art) works on display in the community. Under the artists’ tutelage, the students learned how to breathe life into their ideas through performances at small local venues. The classes have served as meaningful ways for children and adults to express their creativity.

The playlabs fall under the wings of the organization’s Performing Arts Academy, whose vision is a commitment to “upholding the professionalism of the performing arts community.” To execute that vision, the academy provides resources such as intensive tenweek theater workshops scheduled in the evenings for students ages 13 to 22. Also available are individual voice and dance lessons along with workshops on contemporary pop-rock Broadway composers. A youth ensemble assists with the academy’s artistic and administrative direction.

Another opportunity offered through Michigan Stage is its play-reading group – Michigan Page – in which group members analyze and critique theatrical works via Zoom. Selections include both contemporary and classical drama. Guest speakers help to facilitate the meetings by providing discussion points and background on the texts. Most recently, in April, participants read and interpreted Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, based on Virginia Wolf’s popular genderfluid character who lives for centuries and re-examines history through encounters with key figures of English literature. Michigan Page’s bimonthly meetings plan to resume in January 2022, at a local library. Says a Michigan Page participant about the club, “(It’s) an environment where the love of theatre is nurtured . . . and impactful discussions are fostered in a relevant way.”

Leading the cast at Michigan Stage is founding Artistic Director Tim Paré, a Michigan State University graduate with an impressive résumé. Previously, he held the titles of Educational Director for two stage companies where he developed theater arts programs for youths and young adults. By directing and choreographing his students in musicals and other performances, he annually reached 7,500 community members. College students have also enrolled in his workshops and courses on how to audition performers, dance professionally, and manage stage productions.

In forming his company, Paré has striven “to expose audiences both new and old to the performing arts in new ways – to nurture a curiosity to explore the world around us through…community theater productions.”

As part of fulfilling his mission, Paré directed three free concerts entitled Broadway in the ‘Burbs, all performed on August 7 at The dot (Development on Troy) in downtown Ferndale. The shows featured Broadway cast members singing tunes from Beautiful: The Carol King Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, and other hits. Before and after each performance, gatherers were able to meet the singers, as well as chat with the fire and police department workers who were on hand with activities and information on city services.

Up next for Paré and Michigan Stage is Looking Back Through Stained Glass, a family-friendly musical that explores the styles of punk rock and heartbeat pop music in addition to the themes of rebellion and selfacceptance. Starring in the production will be Drag superstar Nancy Nogood and recording artist Ugochi Nriaka. Performed at the Ant Hall in Hamtramck, the musical will run from September 30th through October 9th.

For more information on Looking Back Through Stained Glass, autumn playlabs, and other Michigan Stage events and programs, visit You can also keep up to date by joining the mailing list. To contact Tim Paré directly, email him at