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Major Franz Willison Stevens

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“Praying God will bless the family with His comfort and peace. We bought a condo in MLVCA #1 in 2002 and I later served on the Board with Franz....Read More »
1 of 2 | Posted by: Paula Lytle - Warren, MI

“My condolences to Beth and Tim and their family. I never met Franz but Beth talked very highly about him and he meant a lot to them. He will truly be...Read More »
2 of 2 | Posted by: Peggy Reggio - Royal Oak, MI

Major Franz Willison Stevens, age 82 of Warren, died Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Acsension St. John Hospital in Warren. He was born February 23, 1937 in Detroit, son of the late Theodore "Ted" and the late Virginia (nee: Willison) Stevens.

Following high school, Franz decided he wanted to further his education and learning, and ultimately went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree in Engineering. Soon afterwards, at 24 years of age, Franz took another bold step by enlisting in the U.S. Army. With his degree in hand, it was in Detroit on June 6, 1961 that Franz entered the armed forces as an officer and would begin his long & admirable service to our country. Spanning over 16 years, with 4 of them in foreign service around the globe, Franz's primary assignment was that as Mobility Material Manager for both tank and ground applications. His overseas assignments included bases in Germany, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Other notable achievements would comprise his tenure at Michigan State University where he served as Professor of Military Science in their ROTC program,…and his work at the city of Warren's TACOM facility. Franz's time in the military would find him rising through the ranks and earning esteemed promotions, the last of which was awarded on July 10, 1968 when he received his commission as Major. Franz would go on to serve another 9 years until receiving his honorable discharge on October 4, 1977 in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.

While serving his country, this fine soldier was honored to receive numerous decorations which included the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Berlin), Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medal w/palm, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal w/2 Overseas Bars,…and the distinguished, Bronze Star.

So it is, with thanks and praise from a grateful nation, that we pay homage to Major Stevens for his longstanding military career and service to our country as a soldier in our great United States Army. For the sacrifices made and his willingness to stand in harm's way in our stead, we extend our posthumous gratitude and honor his bravery, valiance, and patriotism in helping to preserve the cause of freedom.

Throughout the 60's and 70's, in conjunction with his military career, Franz derived great satisfaction in sharing his leadership skills and strengths as a mentor and leader within the time-honored Boy Scouts of America. With troops in Maryland and Michigan (Okemos),…and across the pond in Germany and Saudi Arabia, this Army officer simply shined as he helped mold these young hearts and lives towards a more disciplined and structured knowledge of serving others,…and to "Be Prepared."

Following his departure from the Army, Franz chose to put his knowledge and expertise to work with the automotive giant, General Motors. At 40 years old, Franz entered the workforce in 1977 and was part of the many changes that transpired as the company morphed from Delphi to Gear & Axle, and then to American Axle where he served as a Project Engineer. With 25 years under his belt and a history of loyal & dedicated service, Franz finally decided to accept his well-deserved retirement in 2002 at 65 years of age.

From his experiences with both the military and the automotive industry, it came as no mystery that Franz was destined to lead and inspire,…and he did just that following his election to the position of President of his Condo Association. He was always the voice of reason and common sense, and truly made a difference amongst all his neighbors. That same leadership also compelled the Major to reach out to his fellow comrades within the Vietnam Veterans of America, a group of 'kindred spirits" with whom he enjoyed associating, swapping stories, and staying active in the many outreaches to the community. Another fraternal order that Franz was proud to call his brothers was the Mason's. It helped provide even more of the discipline and camaraderie that Franz lived for and treasured.

So,…you can take the boy out of the military, but you cannot necessarily take the military out of the boy,…as was the case when it came to Franz's appreciation for firearms. A devout member of the NRA and former soldier, handling guns was simply second-nature to Franz,…and there was no better place to exact his post-Army shooting pleasures than at the Multi Lakes Conservation Club in Oakland County, Michigan. The club provided a unique and satisfying environment in which to hone his marksmanship skills while sharing in the common appreciation for shooting.

Being a single man, if he didn't rely on restaurant fare, then he was compelled to do his own cooking,…and frankly, he was quite adept in managing his meals. Franz liked to cook with some of his specialties being his famous smoked meats, jerky and sausage. That and some scrambled eggs,…and you were havin' a party! And yes, eating out had its pleasures as well, and Franz was well known for the many times he would roust up a group of hungry-lookin' folks and treat them to dinner. Nothing says awesome like somebody else cooking your food,…and it's even more of a bonus when it's free! But of all that can be said and recounted when it came to Franz and his food, three simple words say it best,…Orange Tree Café. Nestled in the strip mall off the corner of 15 Mile Road & Schoenherr lies a jewel of a restaurant that was Franz's home away from home. Not only was the food fit for a king, but the customer service was on a scale beyond measure. Franz was in there just about every day, and it was the perfect rendezvous spot for his fellow Coffee Clutcher's. Like Norm was to Cheers, Franz was to the Orange Tree,…and his loyalty truly spoke to the owners and staff who served him countless number of times. He had become so endeared that even when he was unable to