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Daniel Piesko

Daniel Piesko


Daniel Gerald Piesko, born in Detroit on February 11, 1932 to Joseph and Elizabeth (Wozniak) Piesko, passed peacefully at home on March 5, 2022 with his beloved companion Mary Ryan Taras, daughter Martha Piesko, granddaughter Julia Piesko, friend Don Sylvester, and pastor John Judson by his side. He is also survived by his sister Lillian Path, his brother and sister-in-law, Larry and Shirley Piesko, brother-in-law Robert Parker, Kathleen Ryan Johnston, the Andrew Taras family, many nieces and nephews, friends, and colleagues. In addition to his parents, Dan was predeceased by his loving wife of 39 years, Loraine (Parker), his sister Virginia, his brothers Edwin (Sofia), Eugene (Christine), and Raymond (Roberta), and his brother-in-law Ed Path.

Dan graduated from Wayne State University and devoted himself to teaching, beginning his career at Mumford High School in Detroit. In 1969 he moved to Oakland Community College where he taught until 2014. Dan loved teaching history, enjoying and inspiring his students, as well as engaging in scholarship and debate with his colleagues. As a voracious reader and a curious and adventurous traveler, he never stopped learning.

A patron of the arts barely describes Dan’s commitment to, love for, and joy found in art and music. The Detroit Institute of Arts was central to Dan’s life. He served on the Speaker’s Bureau where he made presentations across the community on DIA exhibits as well as on his own work, The Art of Mythology. These significant contributions to the art world were a source of deep satisfaction to Dan. A devotee of classical music and opera, Dan was a regular at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Michigan Opera Theater.  In his many travels, he always found time for visiting museums and concert halls, seeking new experiences to enrich his life.

Not just an academic and an art lover, Dan was a sports fan, both as a spectator and as a participant, from his high school football days to his fierce tennis games, to his passion for golf, no matter the weather or the score, to countless hours of pre-taped games and long discussions analyzing the competition.

Dan was a man of many accomplishments, none more so than his kind gentle manner, his poise, finesse, sophistication, and intelligence.  He was a class act, genuine and engaging.  Growing up in Detroit, Dan had looked up to his older brothers, and enjoyed his role as elder to his younger sister and brother. He felt a strong bond of affection with his extended Piesko family which offered support, mutual respect, and admiration. This sense of family was felt by golfing buddies, colleagues, and friends as well.  A man of faith, Dan was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham.

To celebrate his 90th birthday, friends and family showered Dan with cards and letters, paying tribute to his influence in their lives and their delight in having him in theirs. Dan was deeply touched and declared his birthday, “a grand day.” And so it was, a fitting tribute to a grand gentleman, a good man.

A Celebration of Life will be held on April 9, 2022 at 11 am at the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, 1669 W. Maple Road, followed by a luncheon in the church. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Dan's memory may be made to the Oakland Community College Foundation Scholarship Fund, occfoundation@oaklandcc.edu, or to First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham Mission Outreach Programs or to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

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04/03/22 11:55 PM #1    

Kenneth Bertin (1964)

He came to our 55 year class reunion, He was a VERY special individual and educator. I never had him as a teacher, but all the classmates I knew who had him as a teacher, raved about him. RIP


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