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On the day of the Big Red Heart, Valentines Day, my father got the green light to cross over to heaven and join the love of his life, his wife Celia.  My father was 93 years old.

My father has owned a small service station on the corner of Kercheval and Cadieux since 1954.

However, he might be best known as Mr. Cross-man, the crossing guard who helped the kids get safely to Maire Elementary School and back home each day for 50 years.  Whether it was raining, snowing, sleeting, hailing my dad was out there.  “I gotta go, I gotta cross the kids” he would say.  This past September he was ill and I was given the honor of “TEMPORARILY” taking over my father’s crossing guard duties for him.  Working from home, I was able to oblige. Now I catch myself telling my clients, co-worker, friends, and family, “I gotta go, I gotta cross the kids”

My father was the youngest boy in a family of 9.  He served his country as a private first class in the Army.  He worked with his older brothers at their Hayes and Kelly Gas Station, which opened in 1948.  At one time that service station was the 2nd highest volume Gulf Station in the State of Michigan.

For a long time, my father owned over 100 acres of property in the Bruce Peninsula in Canada and he loved off-roading with his jeeps.  No car seats, no air bags, “Just hold on to the roll bar and hold on for your life.  You will be fine” and we were.  As a family we literally made new trails in the brush and even had jeep races thru his property.  He loved his license plate that read “Beep, Beep, I love my Jeep”

My parents raised 7 Children in a big house on Lincoln in Grosse Pointe and in 1985 they moved to Cadieux Road in Grosse Pointe Park–literally a stone’s throw from my dad’s small business.

In addition to crossing the kids and running a business during the week, my dad volunteered as usher at the Bon Secours Chapel (Now Beaumont Grosse Pointe). He served there for over 30 years.  He was known for his colorful outfits and he was the King of the Chapel.  He was also a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

His business, the gas station, in my opinion became one of the last remaining slices of Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show on the planet.  If you are familiar with the Mobile Speed pass, my dad’s gas station was the complete opposite: you couldn’t just get your gas and go, you were encouraged to sit down in the office and shoot the breeze.  My dad seemed to know everyone in Grosse Pointe as well as what everyone was doing in Grosse Pointe.

For 66 years, my mom did almost everything for my dad.  After my mother passed on in 2018, my father took great pride in learning how to cook and take care of himself.  He loved his family, his friends, his little dog Wendy and of course his one car attached garage that faced Cadieux Road.

If you were worthy enough, you could sit in the garage with him, have a bag of Better Made chips and he would show you every little thing in there and what it meant to him–from his Old Joe Muirs Menu to classic license plates to his photo of him with the late great Sparky Anderson.  Posted prominently for all to see is a sign with his favorite saying, “Let The Good Times Roll!”

Love you dad, there is so much more say…But, It’s 3:30 “I gotta go, I gotta cross the kids”

# Beep, Beep, I love my Jeep

# Life Is Good

# Let the Good Times Roll