DETROIT (WJBK) - To the rest of the world, she was known as the Queen of Soul -- a woman whose strong and soulful voice could effortlessly jump multiple octaves whether belting out tear-jerking ballads or jump-and-shout gospel. But she never turned her back on Detroit.
Aretha could have moved to Hollywood or New York - and she did spend a good amount of time in both places - but she stayed deeply connected to Motor City. It's evident in the Boston-Edison home where she was raised - which she owned for years until the right person came along.
Nikkia Sanders and her husband, Myron, were looking for houses for a year. She liked Boston-Edison and has a design background so she knew she could fix up the 6,000 square foot home.
She had no idea it was Aretha's home.
"This is Aretha Franklin's house. And she has a clause that says she can't sell it for 40 years," Sanders said.
Even though the house was vacant and Franklin hadn't lived there for years, she kept it because she loved the house.
"Please let Miss Franklin know I want to cherish this house, I don't want to tear it down, I want to restore it and love it as much as she does."
Eventually Nikkia's determination paid off and she got word that Aretha would sell the house. It closed December 2013.
"I'm sorry, I feel very sad that she passed. Once we found that out, we had a treasure on our hands."
Nikkia only met Aretha Franklin one time - but that one time changed her life.
"She came over, we took a picture and I thanked her for selling the house and started crying," Nikkia said.
Finding out that Aretha passed brought back memories.
"When I woke up this morning I just- husband text me and said Aretha left us. I said I know I was watching Fox 2 and I started crying again," Nikkia said.
It also brought a renewed determination to fix up the house for her family which will soon grow from 6 to 7.