The commitment shown by Mike Ilitch to Detroit was returned to the Ilitch family in an intimate manner by those who visited to pay their respects. "If we just scored, the game would have been different".
Michael Ilitch was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1929 to Macedonian immigrants Sotir Ilitch and Sultana Tasseff Ilitch who came to the United States in 1924 from the village of Dragosh, near Bitola, Macedonia. He said he owes it all to "Mr. I". "When we are not scoring a lot of goals, they are not scoring a lot of goals, but they are scoring one more than us". Visitation hours are from noon to 8 p.m. He had demanded that then Tiger Manager Sparky Anderson hire scab replacement players, to which Anderson famously said "no", telling Ilitch "There ain't enough money in the world to buy my integrity".
"But for all of us, this is a huge loss", he said. "That will stay in the hearts and minds of all of us". He continued to pay for the apartment until Parks died at age 92 on October 24, 2005.
He eventually would help Mr. Ilitch start the Little Caesar's Veterans Program, which helps all veterans, but especially disabled veterans buy a restaurant.
"They kept pushing Detroit, and if it had not been for them, Detroit would not be in the renaissance that they're in now", he told WXYZ.
As for his reputation as a charitable man, Agius said Ilitch supported many causes, and would often give small gifts, like t-shirts or autographed baseballs, to total strangers. "I said, 'Mike, I don't want Rosa Parks going back into the same neighborhood that she was in when this bum beat her up.' He said okay".
UMD is dedicated to continue to carry out these ideals and extends their heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Ilitch and the entire Ilitch family.
While photos and videos were not allowed from inside Mike Ilitch's Wednesday, Feb 15 public visitation, Ilitch Holdings Inc. provided a set of photos from inside the Fox Theatre.