Detroit says goodbye to Mike Ilitch

- The Ilitch family gave people the chance to say goodbye to Mr. I on Monday with a public memorial.

The memorial is on display outside of Comerica Park, where fans can share messages with their memories of Mike Ilitch.

"I'm just so happy that he's bringing the city back alive and help so many people, and I feel like we truly lost somebody special so it's like emotional," said Donna Anderson.

Anderson owns a building nearby and says Ilitch's investments in Detroit raised her property values, but it was his investment in people that has so many of his employees visiting the public memorial.

"I've been with the company for nine years and he just truly was an incredible, selfless man," said Ilitch employee Kim Riccobono.

"I expressed thanks for all the support he gave to us and then signed my name," said another employee, Naveen Shakelli.

The Little Caesars' national training department was also there.

"He was very instrumental in every department. He would just come around and say hi and inspire everyone," Ann Marie Rockov said.

"The whole team wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Mr. Ilitch," said Dan Walker, director of national training and development for Little Caesars and Blueline. "We've grown from a team of three or four people to 27 and it's just because he believes in developing people, taking care of his people, and growing his companies so it was important that we all came over today as a group."

It's a common theme -- Ilitch's commitment to people. Terrance Jackson worked for Little Caesars when he was in high school.

"I never knew he was a Marine, but Mike Ilitch and his company Little Caesars gave me the opportunity to learn customer service," he said.

"I wrote thank you for the employment and success," said Kurtis Talley, who worked at Joe Louis Arena.

Ilitch was a Detroit legend, from hoisting the Stanley Cup with his Detroit Red Wings and heading to the World Series with his Detroit Tigers, to more private moments like paying the rent for civil rights icon Rosa Parks when she needed a new place to live after being assaulted in her home.

"When Mrs. Parks was accosted and we were concerned about her safety, he was kind enough to give her a place of security," said Lynnette Williams of the Rosa Parks Institute. "Because they care about the city."

And this city cares about the Ilitch family and will sorely miss Mr. I.

"Mike Ilitch is Detroit. He's here. He started Little Caesars in Garden City and look at the empire this man built," said Bud Somerville.


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