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John Calder
(December 9, 1920 - August 19, 2012)

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John Calder

U.S. Veteran

John Calder, 91, passed away August 19, 2012 following a short illness. He was born in Bergenfield, NJ to Eugene Barrows and Frieda (Becht) Calder on 12/9/20. He came to Ypsilanti with his family when he was 17, lettering in football, basketball, and track his senior year at Ypsilanti High School where he graduated in 1938.

He enrolled at Michigan State Normal College (Eastern Michigan University). Before completing his college degree, he enlisted in the Navy Air Corps during World War II. This included 2 years in the South Pacific as a rear-seat gunner in a dive bomber. He received a Honorable Discharge from the Navy in 1945. John then returned to Eastern Michigan University where he pledged the Arm of Honor Fraternity and enjoyed a long, active membership as a Hammerhead. He was also a member of the Forum Club and enjoyed many years of watching EMU football.

He married Bonnie Jeanne Kirby in 1947 and took a position with Kaiser Frazier to work in the auditing department at Willow Run. He stayed with Kaiser Frazier until it closed in 1954 then took a job with the General Parts Division in sales and purchasing at Ford Motor Company Rawsonville. He established his own company, John Calder Associates, sales agents for automotive parts suppliers in 1966. After his retirement, he accepted a 10-year appointment to the Board of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan.

He served 2 terms as Mayor of the City of Ypsilanti between 1961 and 1965. During his tenure, he coordinated a large urban renewal project, brought fluoride to the city water supply, legislated liquor by the glass, and provided free downtown parking during the month of December. During his term as mayor, he was instrumental in bringing the Ypsilanti Greek Theatre to town in 1966. This included an appeal to the Olympic Committee bringing the Olympic torch through Ypsilanti to "ignite" the Greek spirit on its way to Detroit.

He is survived by three daughters: Carolyn (John) Falsetta, Alice (Jerry Cooch) Calder, and Betty (Robert Coxford) Russell. His pride and joy, four grandchildren: Shannon (Kirk) Carlson, Eric Hill, Briley Calder, and Corey Russell. His legacy: Owen Carlson, Adam Carlson, Erin Carlson, and Broderick Calder.

He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 31 years, Bonnie Jeanne Calder, his parents, his siblings Edith Block and Eugene Calder, a favorite nephew, Barry Calder and son-in-law, Mark Russell as well as a host of very good friends. John always enjoyed an audience and good stories followed him wherever he went.

John was a 60-year member of First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti. His family requests donations be made to the church where he was a faithful servant and a member of the Session. His memorial service will be on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM at the church. Cremation has taken place. Please join the family for visitation after the service.

John was one of the initial residents at Cross Street Village (the old Ypsilanti High School) where he liked to joke he was "cramming for his finals". His family would like him to know that he has received an A+.

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