Source: Sherman Publications

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Farewell to a longtime friend

by Andrea Beaudoin

February 12, 2014

American Legion Post 377 in Clarkston presents John Cesarz’ family with a flag in honor of his service to the US Army. Photos by Andrea Beaudoin
John Cesarz was a great husband, father, grandfather, veteran, and friend according to all who knew him.

Independence Township Senior Adult Activity Center hosted a Memorial Service at the Carriage House on Feb. 7 to honor Cesarz, a long-time employee of 17 years providing bus transportation for seniors.

The memorial featured a lunch buffet, followed by a 21-gun salute and folding of the American flag, which was presented to Cesarz's family by American Legion Post 377.

He loved his family, said his son John Jr., as he spoke about his dad.

John Jr. added his dad was a great father who gave him and his siblings a wonderful childhood. From the trips he planned with the kids to weekend bike trips to Stony Creek Metro Park equipped with hot chocolate and brownies - the fond memories were plentiful.

John, an Ortonville resident, was deeply loved by his family and many friends, a big kid at heart, a family man who was always grateful to the brave souls serving his country.

John Jr. said his father loved his country and was very patriotic. At 18-years-old, he joined the Army and served two years. John's appreciation for those who served their country never wavered and he always appreciated their sacrifice.

"He never honored a veteran without a tear in his eye," recalled John Jr.

As a young man, he served as an altar boy at St. Anne's in Ortonville. When he drove the bus, he liked to share stories of youth. He also liked to pick special names for everyone at the center.

"He called me 'hair,'" said one woman laughing.

Amy Laboissonniere, a co-worker of John's, said he taught her a great deal and showed her the ropes.

"When it came time to go to John's funeral I did not want to attend because I did not want to say goodbye," she said.

Independence Township Parks, Recreation and Seniors is accepting donations in John's honor for a flagpole to be raised on July 4th in front of the senior center. Director of Independence Township Parks, Recreation and Seniors Ken Elwert said donations are also being accepted for Wounded Warriors.

"We will get any donation where it needs to go," said Elwert.

A flag will be raised in his honor on Independence Day, something John long envisioned for the center. He deserves the honor, say his friends.

John loved to make people laugh, and he was generous.

"Dad was cheap. He counted every penny, but if someone needed something he was the first one there with his checkbook of you needed to pay off a loan or needed a down payment on a house," John Jr. told the crowd.

John was married 51 years to his wife Mary.

"That's over 18,000 meals and he loved my mom's cooking—all except for one meal, Chicken Divan, he asked she never make again."

John Jr. had a special message for his dad.

"Don't worry dad we're helping mom," he said. "Thanks for taking good care of us."