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John B. Fognini

June 6, 1932 February 2, 2021
John B. Fognini
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Obituary for John B. Fognini

John “Jack” Fognini, died peacefully on February 2, 2021, at the age of 88. He was born in Detroit to John and Margaret (nee Baima) Fognini, and lived for most of his life in Detroit, Bloomfield Township, and then Sterling Heights.

He is survived by his beloved sister, Anita Adomatis, nephews William (Melody) Adomatis, Richard (Rosemarie) Adomatis, nieces Janis (Norman) Colborne, and Nicole (Thomas) Wharton. He also leaves great nephews William Adomatis IV, Michael (Dominique) Adomatis, Andrew Adomatis, and great nieces Ashley Adomatis, Nora Wharton, Ruby Wharton, and Jane Wharton. John was preceded in death by his sister, Donna Craig in 1997, and brother-in-law, William Adomatis Jr. in 2016.

After graduation from Catholic Central High School, John received a Bachelor of Education from the University of Detroit and taught just one day before enlisting in the U.S. Army. He served in Germany for two years, was part of the Military Police, and traveled throughout Europe. Following his discharge, John continued serving his country for six more years in the Army Reserves.

John loved teaching and enriching the lives of students at Pasteur Elementary School, Pershing High School, Barbour Junior High and Nolan Junior High, all in Detroit. He taught American History, Latin American History, social studies, geography, and English as a Second Language; he sponsored student council groups, and held administrative positions at some of the schools. John took several educational leaves of absence during his teaching years. He obtained his Masters plus 30 at the University of Florida, and while there, got involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and even demonstrated with black students seeking equality. He also lived in Mexico learning Spanish and Latin American Studies. Another leave took him to Bogota, Colombia, where he taught at the American Bilingual School.

John was an advocate and warrior for his community during his entire life, volunteering for causes that promote understanding and acceptance, and also causes that help disabled people deal with physical challenges in their environment. John joined the North End Concerned Citizens Community Council, a group working toward integration and cooperation within ethnic groups through peaceful resolution. After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 50, John began speaking up at civic meetings and writing letters to help others with disabilities trying to navigate terrain with obstructive curbs, non-automatic doors, and other challenges. He received the Advocate of the Year Award in 1994 from the MS Society, Michigan chapter, for his tireless volunteer work.

A private family viewing for John will be held Saturday, February 6, at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home in Clawson, including military honors, followed by a graveside service at White Chapel Cemetery. John will be greatly missed by his family, his many friends, and by those whose lives were enriched by having known him.

Memorial contributions may be made in John’s honor to Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit, Michigan, or Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park, Michigan.

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