Hyde Park – Myron Wahls – Park 64

 

When I am sitting on that panel deciding cases, sometimes I find myself thinking that it’s like playing in a jazz trio and deciding how we’re going to play that tune most effectively so that it comes out sounding good..”  Judge Myron Wahls

Judge Myron “Mike” Hastings Wahls

Park location:  East of Livernois at Warrington and Chippewa.

Judge Wahls (1931-1998) was often referred to as a Rockefeller Republican, a term coined in the mid 1970’s to denote a moderate to liberal political stance similar to New York Governor / U.S. VP Nelson Rockefeller.  He was a unique, talented man confident and comfortable in his own skin.  The media described him as a tireless fighter in matters of the law and within his personal world.

Judge Wahls Photo: Motorcity Muckracker
Judge Wahls Photo: Thanks Motorcity Muckracker

Wahls was tireless.  He served on the Appeals Court from 1982 – 1998.  Reports indicate he reviewed cases at home up until his death from cancer.  Prior, he was nominated by the Republican party to run against Frank Kelley (D) for the position of Michigan Attorney General in 1974.  He lost the bid, but won an appointment to the Wayne County Circuit Court by Governor William Milliken in 1975.

Wahls was an Detroit Attorney and a member of the Michigan Employment Security Commission Appeals Board from 1969-1975.  He fought for civil rights by marching in Alabama and Mississippi in 1964 as part of the Freedom Summer.  He was tireless in his efforts to register people to vote. Continue reading “Hyde Park – Myron Wahls – Park 64”

Commander George Ham Cannon – Park 63

“The past can take you to the future.” – Shirley Burch, NE Detroit Community Activist

Last week I was at Bishop Field with a friend.  An older longtime Detroiter chatted us up.  He said “Oh Detroit will NEVER be great again.  It will never be like it was. And young people can’t make a living off being farmers, so we got to knock that off”.   This conversation seems to always present itself  when I randomly run into folks when trolling Detroit parks.  I think what’s really happening is people won’t believe it until they see it.  I say re-imagine the definition of great, ditch the negativity and believe instead.

There was a time when Detroit was first.. cars, industry, pharmaceuticals, the arsenal of democracy, leadership, a burgeoning film industry, parks system was in the Top 5.  I don’t find these stories because I want to harken back to the way it was.  I don’t revel or get off on WWII stories either [and there are a lot of them in this blog].  My plain aim:  Give Detroit something to think about.

George Ham Cannon Photo: US Marine Corp Public Domain
The handsome George Ham Cannon
Photo: US Marine Corp Public Domain

Fixating on the past isn’t productive but glancing backwards is a-ok.    Glancing backwards, we see Detroit was paved with the dedicated, the super smart, the kind and the exceptional and oh some crappy people too.  Glance around now and see the synergy that is taking place.. we can collectively say  ‘We still got it and maybe even more of it now..along with the trash, crime and blight’.

So, here’s a story about an exceptional Detroiter from way back.. despite today’s deficiencies, we were and are still exceptional.  And yes, back in the day, we were often first like Mr. Cannon.

Continue reading “Commander George Ham Cannon – Park 63”

Leonard Kerschke – Park #5

Taken Too Soon

It was a shock to me when the doctors told me that I had six months to live.  My first thought was of my family and then the thought flashed through my mind of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and what he said, Thy will be done, not mine”.    – Leonard Kerschke

March 1, 1957

Gentlemen – Leonard Kerschke, employed by the Department as a recreation instructor, has recently been advised by doctors that he suffering from cancer and has less than six months to live.

Mr. Kerschke, married and the father of two young children has been an efficient recreation instructor and a loyal employee and since his illness has displayed a remarkable spirit of cheerfulness in the face of overwhelming adversity.

The Department would like to recommend to your Honorable Body that the playlot located on the south side of Seven Mile Road between Chalmers and Celestine, which is the general neighborhood of his home, be named for Leonard Kerschke while he is yet alive, as a tribute to his admirable courage and spirit.

Respectfully submitted,

J. J. Considine

General  Superintendent

Lived and died on the eastside

Leonard was born on September 26, 1929.  He was a deep eastside Detroiter.  He attended the Detroit Institute of Musical Art; met his wife at Bethesda Missionary Temple; married at Immanuel Bible Church; began his career in the Detroit Parks and Recreation Dept. Shortly before Leonard passed, he began writing about his journey through cancer.  His article was picked up by the Associated Press; he received nationwide response and well wishes.  Leonard died on April 15, 1957 – he was 27 years old.

The small playlot bearing his name is still located on Seven Mile Road between Gratiot and Hayes Road.

Leonard F. Kerschke Playlot
Leonard F. Kerschke Playlot