Robert Wilson Barr
Robert Wilson Barr, 71, died unexpectedly on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2001, in Sydney, Australia.
Mr. Barr retired from Detroit Edison after 42 years. He was a Korean War veteran, a Mason and a member of Lake Shore Presbyterian Church, the Grosse Pointe Seniors Men's Club, the Nomads Travel Club and the Gowanie Golf Club. He was known as "a good guy who was a caregiver and friend to all."
Mr. Barr is survived by his wife, Cecelia; three daughters, Jeanne (Stephen C.) Carey of Needham, Mass., Susan (Gerard M.) O'Donovan of Fairfield, Conn. and Sheila of Washington, D.C.; a sister, Diane Barr Gordon; and four grandchildren, Allison Jeanne Carey, Megan Elizabeth Carey, Robert Patrick O'Donovan and Patrick Gerard O'Donovan. He was predeceased by a brother, Donath.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Kaul Funeral Home in St. Clair Shores.
Memorial gifts may be sent to Lake Shore Presbyterian Church, 27801 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores, MI 48081.
Michael R. Bruce
Former Grosse Pointe Park resident Michael R. Bruce, Sr., 63, devoted husband of Beverly Brown, died Saturday, Oct. 6, 2001, at Martha's Vineyard Hospital in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
Mr. Bruce grew up in Grosse Pointe Park and was a graduate of Austin Catholic Preparatory School, the University of Detroit and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He was a retired IBM executive with expertise in international alliances and served on the board of directors of several high-tech companies.
According to his brother John Bruce, Mr. Bruce was "a man who filled a room with excitement. He was a man who loved life and enjoyed sharing his homes, adventures, wisdom and stories with friends and family."
His passion for fishing and big game hunting led him to travel across the United States and Canada. He went on an African safari and recently returned from a successful caribou hunt in Northern Quebec.
Mr. Bruce was also an expert chess player, a champion fencer, a talented amateur photographer and a collector of classic guns and sports cars.
He was a member of the Safari Club International as well as a longtime, active member of the National Republican Party and the National Rifle Association.
Mr. Bruce and his wife retired to a historic New Hampshire farm in the White Mountains, which they remodeled for family and guests to enjoy.
He was noted for his personal tours of Martha's Vineyard, the New Hampshire farm and Paris, France.
Mr. Bruce is also survived by his sons, John, Charlie, Mike and Erik Brown; brothers John and Charlie; his sister Kathleen Boemer; eight grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A private memorial service was held on Oct. 9, at his farm in Tuftonboro, N.H.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Safari Club International-In Memory of Michael Bruce, 4600 West Gates Pass, Tucson, AZ 85745. This special fund will enable physically challenged hunters to enjoy their lifetime dream of going on safari.
Elisa K. Burdick
Elisa K. Burdick, 66, died of lung cancer on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2001, at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, Vt. The former resident of Grosse Pointe relocated to North Bennington, Vt., 18 years ago.
Ms. Burdick was born at home in Utica, N.Y., on April 26, 1935, to Mary Cantwell and Dr. Raymond A. Kempf. She attended the Barmore School, earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Finch College and graduated magna cum laude from Southern Vermont College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
A member of the Junior League of New York, she made her debut at the New York Junior League Debutante Ball in 1952. She later served as the editor of the Junior League of Detroit's "Bulletin."
During her years in Grosse Pointe, Ms. Burdick was an active parishioner at St. Paul Catholic Church. She served as president of the Children of Mary, was a member of the Detroit Urban League and the first woman scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of Michigan.
In Vermont, Ms. Burdick was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church of North Bennington and Sacred Heart St. Frances de Sales Catholic Church of Bennington where she participated in the R.C.I.A. program.
She was most grateful for her recovery from alcohol and drug abuse achieved through Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Ms. Burdick's wide-ranging intellect, wit and command of language enriched the lives of her family and many friends who will miss her dearly. Her interests included literature, poetry, music, religion and movies.
She is survived by her daughters Victoria (Torry) Burdick of Rochester, N.Y. and Vanessa Burdick of New York City; a son Daniel Burdick, D.M.A., of Edinboro, Pa.; a brother Dr. Raymond (Jan) Kempf; nephew Brendan Kempf of Santa Monica, Calif., and many cousins and friends. She is also survived by her former husband Daniel H. Burdick II of Birmingham.
Ms. Burdick donated her body to the University of Vermont College of Medicine. A memorial mass was held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in North Bennington, on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Arrangements were handled by the Mahar and Son Funeral Home of Bennington.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Elisa K. Burdick Prescription Assistance Fund in care of the Maher and Son Funeral Home, 628 Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201.
Grosse Pointe Woods resident Evelyn Dykstra, 79, died Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2001, at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit.
Born in Detroit, Mrs. Dykstra was a 1939 graduate of Eastern High School and later attended the Detroit Business Institute.
She was a secretary in the Ternsted Division of General Motors Corp. until her marriage. During World War II, Mrs. Dykstra served in the Women's Army Corps.
A homemaker and music lover, she sang in the General Motors Chorus and the Choir of the First Reformed Church of Detroit. Her talent for gardening led to a Beautification Award from the city of Grosse Pointe Woods. Mrs. Dykstra also enjoyed cycling, history and travel.
She was a life-long member of the Reformed Church of America and supported many local charities.
Mrs. Dykstra is survived by her son, Douglas E. Dykstra; daughter Janet Runde and brothers James Dykstra, John Dykstra, Louis Dykstra and Ralph Dykstra, and two grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Jerome E. Dykstra and sister Sylvia Woltersom.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, Oct. 6, at A. H. Peters Funeral Home in Grosse Pointe Woods. Interment is at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society; The Church of the Master, 30200 Schoenherr Road, Warren, MI 48093 or The Organ Fund of Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church, 211 Moross Road, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236.
William C. McMillan
William Charles McMillan, 84, of Grosse Pointe Farms, died of natural causes on Friday, Oct. 12, 2001.
Born in Grosse Pointe Park, Mr. McMillan graduated from Detroit University School, Hotchkiss School and Yale University. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II.
He was the Chief Executive Officer of The McMillan Office, Inc. in Detroit.
Mr. McMillan enjoyed memberships in the Country Club of Detroit, the Yondotega Club and the Huron Mountain Club in Big Bay.
A life-long resident of the Grosse Pointes, Mr. McMillan was a man of many interests including painting, wildlife carving, coin and stamp collecting, golf, fishing and hunting. In his youth, he was Junior National Skeet Shooting Champion in the same year his father was the National Champion.
Mr. McMillan was known locally by many for his daily forays along our city curbsides in search of lost coins, abandoned cans and other treasures. It was not uncommon for him to find over $1,000 annually, which was donated to local charities. This unusual pursuit may have been inspired by his childhood contact with John D. Rockefeller. Mr. McMillan was the recipient of one of Mr. Rockefeller's famous dimes and the advice that he should keep his eyes open for the other opportunities to enrich himself. While he took this advice to heart, he spent his life taking care of other people.
Mr. McMillan is survived by his sons James Thayer McMillan II, Douglas McMillan and Philip McMillan; daughters Julianne Bockius and Amy Harwood; brother James McMillan; sisters Marie Louise Bodman and Anne Manierre; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy Fouts McMillan, his sisters Helen Schreiber and Elsie Caulkins and his grandson William Charles McMillan III.
Arrangements were handled by the William R. Hamilton Co., Mount Clemens. A memorial service was held on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church. Interment is at Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation, 5075 Warren Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.
Jean Larrabee Obenauer
Jean Larrabee Obenauer died at her Grosse Pointe Woods home on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2001, shortly after being diagnosed with leukemia.
Mrs. Obenauer was born in Detroit on Dec. 24, 1912, the first child of Alvan F. Larrabee and Louise Elliott Larrabee. In 1934, she graduated from Hillsdale College where she was an active member of both the Rho Gamma chapter of the Chi Omega Fraternity and the National Honorary Dramatic Fraternity, Theta Alpha Phi.
After a few years of teaching, she settled in Highland Park with her husband G. Davison Obenauer, whom she married in 1939. She lost her only child Bonnie Jean to leukemia 10 years later.
Mrs. Obenauer's experiences in public service began with her participation in scouting. She also served on the board of directors for the Neighborhood Service Organization and was a dedicated member of the American Association of University Women (A.A.U.W.), involved in that organization's Art Guild and a director for their Golden Anniversary Historical Pageant. In addition, she was the president of the Alpha Chapter of the HP Women's Club; advisory board member of the Federation of Women's Clubs and deeply involved with such children's charities as the United Way and Easter Seal.
In September 1958, Mrs. Obenauer began her 20-year career working with children in the Hazel Park School District and participated in the teachers sorority Alpha Delta Kappa and the Michigan Education Association.
Her retirement in 1978, several years after moving to Grosse Pointe Woods, allowed her to extend her community participation and to enjoy her love of gardening, travel and sewing. Her installation in Questers in 1985 added to her full life as did her work with The Little Garden Club and her monthly book club meetings.
Survivors include her sister Maryalice L. Rosella; her sister-in-law Thelma Larrabee; nephews Richard Rosella, Alvan "Larry" (Susan) Larrabee and Richard (Barbara) Larrabee; nieces Marylou (Richard) Isenberg, Linda Larrabee, Judith Rosella and Laurie (Remi) Blom. She is also survived by her grandnieces and nephews, Brett Isenberg, Randall Larrabee, Michael Isenberg, Nicole Larrabee, Brian Larrabee, Krystal Larrabee, Kathleen Larrabee, Richard Larrabee, Jacquie Larrabee and Jeanine Larrabee.
A memorial service was held on Monday, Oct. 15, at the Verheyden Funeral Home in Grosse Pointe Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Henry Ford Hospice or Bon Secours Cottage Hospice team.