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Lewis A. Melfi

February 9, 1935 August 11, 2020
Lewis A. Melfi
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Obituary for Lewis A. Melfi

Lewis Andrew Melfi was born in Detroit, Michigan to Gaetano Melfi and Giovannina (Bommarito) Melfi. on February 9, 1935. He was a member of a large Italian American family and he was raised in Highland Park, Michigan. His father died when he was just 9 years-old, and his mother worked at Cadillac Motors to support the two of them, for many years.

Despite some difficult times, Lewis graduated with honors from Highland Park High School in 1953. He then graduated from Wayne State University (BS, 1957) and University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Dentistry (DDS, 1961). Dr. Melfi then enlisted in the United States Air Force and served his country as a Captain until 1963, when he was honorably discharged.

Following his service in the United States Air Force, Dr. Melfi became a business-owner. Along with his partner, and his surviving wife of 42-years, Arlene Marilyn (Manoli) Melfi, he developed and operated a series of local dental offices. These offices were located in Madison Heights, Troy and Bloomfield Hills.

Over the next 45 years, Dr. Melfi developed his dental skills. He performed general dentistry, but he also specialized in the surgical application of dental implants. Dr. Melfi was a sweet man. He was a passionate and caring dentist; and it should also be noted that he was a pioneering dental artist who contributed to the advancement of his field.

Dr. Melfi was intelligent and enterprising. He was an entrepreneur and a dreamer. He could both conceptualize and create. In his dental practice, he staffed an anesthesiologist and a dental lab technician in-house, so that he could personally craft and cut dental appliances, on the spot, intraoperatively.

Dr. Melfi had ideas, but he didn’t just think. Dr. Melfi had the rare ability to put his thoughts and ideas in motion. For example, as a lover of thoroughbred horses, Dr. Melfi dreamt of opening his own horse farm, where he could raise and train high-end professional racehorses.

What happened? He ended up with two horse farms, one in Ocala, Florida and one in St. Clair, Michigan; and his farm in Ocala housed a full-sized racetrack so that he could develop an optimal training program for his horses.

In time, horseracing was traded for fatherhood; when Dr. Melfi and Arlene gave birth to their son, Lewis Andrew Melfi, II, and after that, Dr. Melfi spent the remainder of his life with that singular focus. As years passed, and along the way, Dr. Melfi found himself traveling to New Orleans, San Francisco and San Diego to share adventure with his son; and one son, soon led to more “sons,” when Dr. Melfi became a grandfather. Dr. Melfi had two grandsons that he called his “other sons,” Ash Carrollton Melfi and Blake Lafayette Melfi.

Dr. Melfi’s family enjoyed 39 years of bliss together, until his eventual peaceful death at the age of 85.

During that time, Dr. Melfi watched his “sons” grow-up and he loved every second. When not performing dental surgery or running his dental practice, Dr. Melfi coached baseball and played a lot of golf with his son. He was a good putter, he a bad slice, he shot around 90, and it didn’t matter to him.

Dr. Melfi was a man of faith and a devout member of the Roman Catholic Church, spending much of his free time observing church services and reading scripture. He loved attending his bible study group. He also enjoyed attending sporting events, writing, and laughing at a good joke. He will be remembered for his earnestness, his generous smile, and his willingness to help anyone, even at great personal cost. He always asked about others first; and he loved all of us so much.

Dr. Melfi had an incredible life. It was full of experiences and as he aged, Dr. Melfi had the joy of spending many years, in the sunshine, surrounded by love, while living with his “sons,” his daughter in-law, Meaghan Brenner McKay, and his wife, Arlene, in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

A private funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, in White Lake.

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