Lawrence J. Dropiewski
March 19, 1931 – December 1, 2019
Lawrence Joseph Dropiewski (Larry)
Bloomfield Township, MI; Oro Valley, AZ (formerly Birmingham, MI)
Larry passed away on December 1, 2019 at the age of 88 (in his 89th year as he liked to say). He was preceded in death by his parents Edward C. and Blanche M. Dropiewski, his sister Estelle G. Murray, grandson Bradley Dropiewski, and nephew Mark E. Murray. He leaves behind his sister Vivian (Raymond) Guitar (Clinton Township, MI), his children Marianne (Doug) Sacksteder (Centerville, OH), Larry D. and Judy Dropiewski (Auburn Hills/Harsens Island, MI), and Lisa (Michael) Vetowich (Highlands Ranch, CO), his grandchildren Katherine Dropiewski (Jeremy Ur), Steven Dropiewski, Jonathan Dropiewski, and Piper Vetowich, his step-grandchildren and a step-great grandson Lincoln Isherwood, as well as nieces, nephews and cousins.
A family and friends visitation/celebration of life will be held on Thursday, December 12, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, with family remembrances and sharing of ‘Larry stories’ beginning around 7:00 pm. A military internment service for his ashes will be held at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan on Friday, December 13 at 10:30 am. A luncheon will follow, details to be provided. Condolences may be sent to his family via this website. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in his name to the Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra, Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business or the Wayne State University Law School. A Tribute To A Great Life…
Larry was born in Detroit, but grew up in Harbor Beach, Michigan, where his father Ed ran the local hardware and farm implement store serving the community. He graduated from Our Lady of Lake Huron Catholic High School in 1949. Following high school, he became a business owner of the Mobil gas station in Harbor Beach. Larry was called to duty during the Korean War, enlisting in the United States Air Force, serving primarily at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. During his service, he was honored as Airman of the Year of his squadron, earning him preferred housing in the Officer barracks. He served tours of duty in Guam, Japan and Hawaii, and was honorably discharged as a Technical (Staff) Sergeant in 1956.
Larry believed in the importance of education and used his GI benefits to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Michigan State University in 1959. He married the mother of his children, Ann Huhn, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Grand Ledge, Michigan, November 1959. Larry started his accounting career with the Ford Motor Company in northern California, and was a loyal Ford car buyer for many years. He relocated back to the Detroit area in late 1960, where he also worked at local accounting firm Ernst & Ernst while earning his CPA, prior to joining advertising agency McManus, John & Adams in a finance role. Larry continued his education while working full time and helping to raise a family by attending night school, ultimately earning his Juris Doctor degree in Law from Wayne State University in 1968.
Once he earned his law degree and passed the bar exam, he moved into private practice for many years, representing both individuals and corporations. Larry was still active in his work for the Wajim Corporation well into his 80’s, only officially retiring from their board this summer. His duties for them in real estate management, including the execution of many complex lease agreements, kept his mind sharp. Recently, their board of directors signed a proclamation indicating that “his wise and helpful counsel, often in times of difficulty and challenge, will be long remembered, as well as his knowledge, his forthrightness and his generosity of spirit”. Larry was also honored last year, along with just a few other attorneys as a 50-year member of the State Bar of Michigan.
During his children’s years at home, he tolerated their passion for household pets. The list of pet species housed in their Birmingham home, once referred to as the ‘Dropiewski Zoo’, was quite impressive and included dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pig, chameleon, hermit crab, snakes, turtles, and fish. Their dog named Cinnamon and his daughter Lisa’s Siamese cat Meng were his favorites.
In his ‘retirement’ years, Larry found a place where he could escape the dreary Michigan winters in Arizona. He built a home in the Oro Valley area in 1998, which he enjoyed as a seasonal residence until 2016. Larry played many rounds of golf on the local courses, and hiked in the area foothills and mountain trails with his fellow members of their ‘Tucson Gentleman’s Association’ (including Larry Demrick). I understand that he also enjoyed sharing happy hour martinis with his neighbors Phil & Kandi Stiffler. The heat suited him, and he never complained about it being too hot in Arizona. Larry enjoyed the wildlife in the wash behind his home and a beautiful view of the Santa Catalina Mountains from the front of his home.
Larry had many passions over the years including a desire to know how things work, so he could repair it (‘it’ being pretty much anything like a car, fuse/breaker box, furnace, microwave, etc.), which likely harkened to his depression-era childhood. If it could be fixed, it should be (and not thrown out), a trait his son Larry Jr. is carrying forward. Larry Sr. also had an interest in geology, particularly for oil and mineral prospecting. He also explored many of the National and State parks, and was involved with the Michigan Basin Geological Society. His adventurous spirit led to the creation of a side business, with Larry founding the Great Lakes Petroleum Corporation in the mid 1980’s, and trying to ‘strike it rich’ in the oil business with the CJ Volmering Well in Huron County, Michigan. The well didn’t produce any oil but was the opposite of a ‘duster’. It was used for many years to supply chloride water for local road dust control.
Being proactive about his wellness was very important to Larry, and he literally read hundreds of books on natural/alternative health, and was a fan of Dr. Andrew Weil in particular. His research and use of natural supplements and compounds likely extended his life and its quality. His daughter Lisa also shares his passion for learning about natural health and wellness for longevity.
Larry had a strong appreciation of the English language, and wouldn’t think twice about correcting his family, friends, or even a complete stranger’s grammar. Although on occasion he did call his daughter Marianne when completing a crossword puzzle to confirm the correct spelling of a word (he complained that the nun’s weren’t very good teachers).
He was proud of the academic achievements of his children and grandchildren, especially his granddaughter Katie who will be defending her PhD in Nanoengineering at SUNY/Albany, his grandson Steven, a recent Computer Science graduate of Wayne State University, his grandson Jon who is continuing his collegiate studies at the University of Michigan, and his granddaughter Piper, a straight-A student at Mountain Vista High School (CO) and a member of the Field Hockey team.
Around his neighborhood in Bloomfield Township, until recently, Larry would have been found riding his bike to pick up a newspaper or his lottery bets, and making daily walks around the neighboring streets when the weather permitted. He also took great pride in his home’s landscaping, and was still mowing his lawn last year and keeping his garden beds flowering. Just this spring, he asked his daughter to split a bleeding heart bush (originally from his family home in Harbor Beach), so that she could plant a cutting at home in Ohio.
We will miss our brother, father, grandfather, uncle and friend Larry, and hope that his unique spirit, passions and quirks will be carried forward into future generations by his surviving family and friends.
Until we meet again Dad, with love from your children Marianne, Larry Jr. and Lisa.
- Marianne (Doug) Sacksteder, Daughter
- Larry D. and Judy Dropiewski, Son
- Lisa (Michael) Vetowich and, Daughter
- Katherine Dropiewski (Jeremy Ur), Grandchild
- Steven Dropiewski, Grandchild
- Jonathan Dropiewski, Grandchild
- Piper Vetowich, Grandchild
- Bradley Dropiewski, Grandchild (deceased)
- D. Zachary (Christina Combs) Sacksteder, Step-Grandchild
- Beth (Jon) Isherwood, Step-Grandchild
- Stevani (Will) Alexander, Step-Grandchild
- Brooke (Joel) Cain, Step-Grandchild
- Lincoln Isherwood, Step Great Grandson
- Edward C. and Blanche M. Dropiewski, Parents (deceased)
- Vivian (Raymond) Guitar, Sister
- Estelle G. Murray, Sister (deceased)
- Mark E. Murray, Nephew (deceased)
Celebration of Life
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Pixley Funeral Home
3530 Auburn Rd.
Sharing of Memories
Pixley Funeral Home
3530 Auburn Rd.
Great Lakes National Cemetery
4200 Belford Rd.