OBITUARY

Ross H. "Ross P" Pawlak

August 1, 1982April 6, 2018
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Without words and with broken hearts, our family is thankful to a long-time friend. She conveys what we currently cannot. We love Ross more than he could possibly know.

“Oh, Ross. My dear friend. This is so not my thing, writing to you here. But I need to. Say it. All. And writing is our thing. I cannot stop thinking that I am so blessed to have had you in my life. To care for you, to care for your family as you did mine. You were ever learning and always sharing and I am so lucky to have been a recipient of your wisdom and affection. You taught me so much that truly shaped my life, my education of the world via Ross P. You gave me my very own unique 20 year degree in coolness: a literary, an artistic, a political, a historical, a spiritual education. But especially musical. Every instrument you played, every word you wrote, every rhyme you spoke, you became that art, it was purely born of your creative brilliance. It was always inspiring to witness whether in a crowd or a small huddle. You taught me damn near everything I learned about hip hop after age 15 and you were always sending me amazing rock and metal albums because you always knew exactly what I would like. This is just the type of friend you are. No matter where we moved or how we changed as people we always stayed in touch, even if only through letters and care packages. Even if you did not know it, this helped me through some hard times. We would send each other 10 page letters along with the most random and wonderful trinkets: from mix cds (that's right, probably even mix tapes at the start, haha) and photos to garbage pail kid cards and fantastic 80s movie soundtracks. This is just the type of friend you are. My friend, you had your struggles like the rest of us, and you always stayed strong. Everyone you loved, you loved so genuinely and generously, and we all adore you just the same. I am also so very glad that I got to stick around to see the man that Heidi brought out in you, the way you told me about how much you loved this woman, and her son like your own, you were completely enamored and inspired by her. You later told me that she saved you. (and for that, Heidi, I will be forever grateful to you.) As we continue to mourn our friends and family we have lost before (April, Luke, Dad, all) it comforts me that you're with them now. Ross Pawlak, my friend my brother, my darling, the world is a shade darker without you in it, but the love and wisdom and kindness you were always bestowing upon those who love you, will forever be where you cannot. I love you and miss you, now and always.” ~ B-Rizzle

Ross is survived by his mother, Michaelene; sisters, Natalie Hansen and Maureen Pawlak; niece, Cadia Rose Hansen, fiancée Heidi Castle; and her son Mason Faussett; and aunt, Alicia (Michael) Needham. Many cousins and friends also survive. Ross was pre-deceased by his sister, April. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Ross’ name may be directed to Michaelene Pawlak in care of Muehlig Funeral Home.

Please share a memory of Ross on his on-line guestbook.

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  • Michaelene Pawlak

Services

  • Memorial Expressions and Sharing of Memories Saturday, April 14, 2018
  • Memorial Visitation Saturday, April 14, 2018
REMEMBERING

Ross H. "Ross P" Pawlak

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Becky Comperchio

April 13, 2018

W.A.V.E. holiday party December 9, 2017. Hugs, hugs, hugs to all of you!!!

Shannon Campbell

April 13, 2018

Shannon Campbell

April 13, 2018

Shannon Campbell

April 13, 2018

Shannon Campbell

April 13, 2018

Josh Van Sickle

April 12, 2018

Kevin and Jaci Martin

April 10, 2018

Kevin and Jaci Martin

April 10, 2018

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Ross "Ross P" Pawlak was an empathetic but straight forward man. He often sought out the scene of action. Although sociable, inquisitive and witty, Ross was an individual who encountered many physical and life challenges.

Ross was born on August 1, 1982 at University of Michigan Women's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His mother is Michaelene (Mickie) Pawlak. He was raised in Brighton, Michigan and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ross possessed strong analytical skills which he used after researching the topics of the day, music and in controversial philosophical discussions. He was open and direct in his communication. Armed with wit, charm, mischief and tolerance, he was accepting of others.

Ross was able to relate well with others. His beloved family role as the youngest sibling role gave him the opportunity to look at the different angles of situations as they presented themselves. He was raised with three older sisters, Natalie Anne, April Jean and Maureen Lee. Ross had a strong desire to be treated fairly and would readily offer others the same fairness in return.

As a young child, Ross was already sharing his creative ability in many ways. He was outgoing and animated. He enjoyed new activities and pursued a variety of interests. He took part in soccer and BMX biking. As a teen and young adult, he liked to rollerblade, skateboard, bike, play trumpet and drums, listen to and make music, read and write and get tattoos that spoke to his life. Memorable achievements included grade school and middle spelling bee championships as well as first place in drumming in middle school Solo and Ensemble. Ross and friends began a band in middle school called Detour. His music was enjoyed by school friends and family.

Known to others as a focused, logical, open-minded and somewhat driven individual, Ross was able to utilize these qualities to thrive in high school. His curious, ‘non-cookie cutter’ nature fostered his ability to maximize his personal learning style through the hands-on approach at Clonlara. He was good with facts and had an excellent memory. He graduated from Clonlara High School in 2000. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite classes in high school were music and cultural anthropology. The teacher he enjoyed learning from the most was Frances Wright Johnson, who also became a dear family friend. Ross graduated from high school in three years. After high school, Ross began classes at Washtenaw Community College.

Friends and acquaintances found Ross an interesting man to know, and those close to him could relate to his communication style and passionate approach to his interests. He was uncomplicated and straightforward in his relationships, which allowed him to accept different types of people for what they were. While growing up, some of his best friends were Steven Pierce, Josh VanSickle, Kevin Martin, Lucas Lawhead, Dave Babas, Erin Campbell, Shannon Campbell, Bob Overholt, Mike Rodgers, Erin Rose, and sister Natalie Pawlak Hansen, who was ‘second momma’ in his early years. Later in life, he continued to be friends with Josh VanSickle, Dave Zambrowski, Brenna Rich, Jason Brauze, Blake Swingle, Ryan Pietruk, Dave Walsh, Kevin Stephenson, Nancy Leat, Damian Siegler, Natalie Leat Zolg, Daighna Rayner, Jeremy Turner, Lucas Lawhead, Dave Babas, Kevin Martin, April Pawlak and Momo Pawlak.

On February 15, 2013, an email was sent that would change lives - when Ross met Heidi. Through good times and difficult moments, Ross, Heidi and Mason built a family that was not based on blood that flowed through their veins, but was rooted in a deeper, unconditional love that time and death cannot erase. Ross taught Heidi the true meaning of love. He was a good listener, gave valuable advice and brought laughter, mischief and adventure to this family.

With childlike qualities himself, Ross identified with the inquisitive and creative side of children’s personalities. He was able to direct his energy and spontaneity towards helping children learn through fun activities. Children could be observed climbing on him during reading time at Clonlara. Most recently his niece Cadia Rose enjoyed time with Unkie Ross at the Zap Zone and the aquarium. Although Ross did not have a biological child, over the past several years he helped raise Mason Faussett, Heidi's son.

Ross was a flexible and competent worker who was fun to work with. Previous co-workers at Zingerman’s stated they knew when he wasn’t there because his energy was missing. A persuasive individual who was quick to make necessary decisions, his strengths included being able to think on his feet. He could be a leader who sought impact from his decisions. Gifted with the ability to read body language, Ross was able to motivate others in order to get a task completed. He was a good negotiator who enjoyed new challenges. Ross was a wheeler and dealer. He loved to buy and sell. He was endowed with an entrepreneurial spirit, allowing him to think beyond standard norms. Over the years he was employed by Meijer, Zingerman's Deli, People's Food Co-op and W.A.V.E.

Ross enjoyed his leisure time by taking part in various hobbies. He had something of an artistic flair in many of the things that he did. He put this creativity toward all of his pastimes. His favorite pursuits were enjoying events with siblings, Natalie, April and Maureen, his mom Mickie, and with extended family and friends. He loved backyard parties with barbeques and bonfires where he was ‘fire master’. Ross also loved reading, writing, laser tag, making music and playing video games with his beloved niece Cadia Rose, who was born in 2008, listening to and spinning records, making music and beats, playing guitar and drums, biking with Heidi and Mason, going to local bars and shows and wildly fun and somewhat raucous canoe trips up north with sister Maureen and friends, where the inside joke of checking your LPM’s (laughs per minute) originated. He loved movies, live concerts, geocaching, adding graffiti to favorite Detroit hangouts and various unsuspecting places, karaoke (he had a gifted singing voice), playing and schooling others at ‘Shut-the-Box’, playing video games, playing with pets, traveling, helping friends and family, garage sale-ing, and participating in shopping cart races. Ross also found enjoyment performing as drummer for the Ann Arbor band, Narwhals Collide. He was not only content to enjoy his hobbies alone, but also excited to share his interests with others.

Ross had a special bond with his mom, Michaelene. He cherished and took great pride in their friendship. His adoration and respect for her was unmatched. They enjoyed a variety of outings with Ross’s sisters, extended family and friends, attending ‘Trailer Park Boys’ events at Michigan venues and extended vacations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Canada.

Because he liked to take risks, he was a perfect match for out-of-doors activities. He was enthusiastic and happiest during these activities. In high school, he snowboarded whenever he had the opportunity.

Ross was a generous man who prized that same quality in others. As a sharp and individual thinker, he was concerned for our world, our country and neighborhoods. Ross served on the Springwater Subdivision Infrastructure Plan Committee in Ann Arbor. Ross’s hilariously amusing writing was published in Found magazine.

Travel and vacations were experiences that were truly enjoyed. He preferred to seek out excitement wherever he went and he was partial to vacations that were casual and laid back with an atmosphere of “live and let live.” Favorite vacations included Disney World, New York City, Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, D.C., canoe trips and weekend trips with Heidi to Belamere Suites.

Ross loved children, animals and cherished his pets. Two of his favorite pets were Daisy, his German shepherd and Floyd, his cat. Other pets he loved were dogs, Roxie, Charlie, Sugar and Gracie. It was heartwarming to observe his sweet nature when interacting with them, but especially his niece Cadia Rose, who he adored.

Ross is survived by his mother, Michaelene; sisters, Natalie Hansen Pawlak and Maureen Pawlak; niece Cadia Rose Hansen; fiancée, Heidi Castle and her son Mason Faussett; aunt, Alicia (Michael) Needham; many cousins, aunts and friends also survive. His sister, April Jean Pawlak, predeceased Ross in 2009. His memorial party was held at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he often liked to catch shows. Ross’s immediate and adoring family was present when he was laid to rest at St. Patrick Calvary Cemetery in Brighton, Michigan.

Ross was the kind of person who could win over others easily. A concrete but empathetic thinker, he relied on his senses to communicate with others. He was always able to provide amusing repartee to his friends and acquaintances, offering quips, anecdotes, movie quotes, inside jokes and affectionate jabs, researched stories and his love of music. Less than a week before Ross’s death, Ross mentioned to Maureen (while partying on the often-visited back porch of her condo) that there was nothing better than music. They discussed how the power and meaning of songs can change over time. He loved discovering new music and rediscovering the old. He was very passionate about this. Music was his religion.

Ross was always ‘present’ when he listened to you. This is how everyone will remember Ross "Ross P" Pawlak.

Ross' family is thankful to a long-time friend, Brenna Cameron, who conveys what they could not in their time of loss. They love Ross more than he could possibly know:

“Oh, Ross. My dear friend. This is so not my thing, writing to you here. But I need to. Say it. All. And writing is our thing. I cannot stop thinking that I am so blessed to have had you in my life. To care for you, to care for your family as you did mine. You were ever learning and always sharing and I am so lucky to have been a recipient of your wisdom and affection. You taught me so much that truly shaped my life, my education of the world via Ross P. You gave me my very own unique 20 year degree in coolness: a literary, an artistic, a political, a historical, a spiritual education. But especially musical. Every instrument you played, every word you wrote, every rhyme you spoke, you became that art, it was purely born of your creative brilliance. It was always inspiring to witness whether in a crowd or a small huddle. You taught me damn near everything I learned about hip hop after age 15 and you were always sending me amazing rock and metal albums because you always knew exactly what I would like. This is just the type of friend you are. No matter where we moved or how we changed as people we always stayed in touch, even if only through letters and care packages. Even if you did not know it, this helped me through some hard times. We would send each other 10 page letters along with the most random and wonderful trinkets: from mix cds (that's right, probably even mix tapes at the start, haha) and photos to Garbage Pail Kid cards and fantastic 80s movie soundtracks. This is just the type of friend you are. My friend, you had your struggles like the rest of us, and you always stayed strong. Everyone you loved, you loved so genuinely and generously, and we all adore you just the same. I am also so very glad that I got to stick around to see the man that Heidi brought out in you, the way you told me about how much you loved this woman, and her son like your own, you were completely enamored and inspired by her. You later told me that she saved you. (and for that, Heidi, I will be forever grateful to you.) As we continue to mourn our friends and family we have lost before (April, Luke, Dad, all) it comforts me that you're with them now. Ross Pawlak, my friend, my brother, my darling, the world is a shade darker without you in it, but the love and wisdom and kindness you were always bestowing upon those who love you, will forever be where you cannot. I love you and miss you, now and always.” ~ B-Rizzle