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Village council recognizes Bob Flath

November 28, 2012 - After 35 years, a well-known member of the community is moving on.

Bob Flath came to Ortonville in 1977 to make his home and a living as the village photographer—capturing area residents and events on film and then digitally as technology changed.

On Nov. 26, during their regular meeting, the Ortonville Village Council unanimously approved a resolution on behalf of village residents expressing "official gratitude and deep appreciation to Bob Flath for his efforts, devotion, and public service to the Village of Ortonville, residents and patrons and wish him best regards in all his endeavors."

Flath, a past council trustee (2004-2007), planning commissioner, Brandon Township trustee, and fire board member, planned to move from Ortonville today, Dec. 1, to Missouri to be close to family.

"I am very appreciative of the resolution," said Flath during a candid conversation on Tuesday. "This is very nice." He then added with a laugh, "It couldn't have gone to a nicer person."

Flath's biting wit and sarcasm are legendary to many around Ortonville. The native of Brooklyn, N.Y. arrived in Michigan in 1957 and did a wide range of photography, including taking pictures of the Detroit riots in 1967. His ex-wife was from Drayton Plains and he moved to Ortonville from that area in 1977 to open a photography studio. He chose this community hoping to do photography for seniors from Brandon High School and Goodrich High School.

The Village Photographer studio was opened at the corner of Mill and Cedar streets from 1978 until May 1990 when it was destroyed by fire. He opened it the following year on Mill Street and continued for a couple years before closing the studio and going to work as the photographer for The County Line Reminder newspaper. In 2003 he joined the staff of The Citizen and continued to capture the life of the community until retiring in 2010.

"I've lived here 36 years and I've never regretted one minute of it," said Flath. "I've loved the closeness and friendliness of the people. So many people know me because they've seen me on the football fields in Goodrich and Brandon and all the seniors I've photographed over those years. For every person that's going to miss me, there are probably five that are happy to see me go, because of my attitude and my charming personality."

"There are a multitude of little things that I have photographed that just added up to an enjoyable job. In all honesty, it was enjoyable. This town has changed tremendously over the years, both positive and negative, which I elect not to elaborate on."

Flath said he will miss teasing the school kids and a few others. When asked what he will do in Missouri, he responded, "any damn thing I want."

"I never regretted one minute moving to Ortonville and I will miss a lot of people, even though I don't tell them that," he said.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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