Joe Favazza Passes Away

Joseph J. Favazza, III, died suddenly following a brief illness Tuesday, February 5, 2008 in Bay Regional Medical Center. He was born to Joseph, Sr. and Grace (Moceri) Favazza in Bay City, where he resided all his life. Joe received his Bachelor's degree in journalism from Central Michigan University and his law degree from Detroit College of Law. While studying for his bar exam, he was a law clerk for the Honorable Donald Holbrook and was admitted to the bar in June of 1972. Together with his father, he practiced law through the firm of Favazza and Favazza. Joe was a member of St. Joseph Parish, Bay County Bar Association, Michigan Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Judicial Society, U.S. District Court, and the Bay County Historical Society. He had quite a collection of cars and was a member of the Classic Car Club. Joe raised grand champion burros and goats at his Charleston Ranch in Standish. He also enjoyed vacationing at his home on Beaver Island for the past 20 years.
Joe is survived by two sisters, Catherine Anne Ferguson and Grace Mary (William) Nordstrom of Bay City; special friend, Dr. Janet Guisinger; nieces and nephews, Melissa (James) Lile, Jennifer (Paul) Coder, Lisa Ghent, Nicholas Nordstrom, and Brandon Roth; along with several great nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was also predeceased by a sister, Paula Favazza Black and a brother-in-law, Gilbert Ferguson.
The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated Monday, February 11, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. in St. Joseph Church (Third & Grant Streets, Bay City). Joe will lie in state in church Monday after 10:00 a.m. Rev. Dale A. Orlik will preside, cremation will follow, and interment of Joe's cremains will be in St. Patrick Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to "wishes of the family". Visiting hours are Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with the Vigil for the Deceased Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in the W.A. Trahan Funeral Chapel.

Trahan Funeral Home

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Whether in an airplane en route to his four-story home on Beaver Island, or tooling in his 1936 Packard car, Joseph J. Favazza Jr. enjoyed life's journey. Favazza, 62, a Bay City lawyer who died Tuesday due to respiratory problems, "liked to go out and grab life," said his sister, 46-year-old Grace M. Nordstrom of Bay City. A funeral Mass takes place at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 1005 Third St., on Bay City's East Side. "My brother worked hard in the law business for 35 years, and when he wanted something like that antique Packard car, he treated himself with it," Nordstrom said. "That was his dream car - the car he always wanted - and he bought it in November from someone in New Hampshire." Favazza and his nephew, 21-year-old Brandon Roth of Bay City, took the green Packard for a spin to Favazza's Arenac County farm a few weeks ago. Favazza died Tuesday from complications related to injuries to his diaphragm he suffered in a car crash about 10 years ago, Grace Nordstrom said. "He got a cold last week and it settled in his chest, and it was just too much for his body any more," Nordstrom said. Favazza, the son of the late Joseph and Grace (Moceri) Favazza, lived in an apartment in his law office inside The Charleston Building at 1101 Center Ave. in Bay City. His father served as a Bay County assistant prosecutor in the 1940s, and in later years as Bay City's city attorney. Joseph Favazza Jr. became known for eclectic pursuits - his toy collection numbers in the thousands, and he once grew garlic and raised burros on his farm near Standish. "We used to kid him about being the garlic king of Arenac County," said Thomas E. Bock, 54, a Bay City lawyer. "He tried to make a cash crop out of that garlic," Bock said. "I don't know what his success rate was." Favazza could afford unique pursuits and possessions, in part, due to shrewd investments and financial decisions, friends said. "I think Joe was a very astute businessman," Bock said. "I think he made very wise real-estate investments." Nordstrom, Favazza's sister, said her brother "dabbled in the stock market from the time he was 17 years old, but real-estate investment was really his thing, and he did very well in it." Friends said Favazza had plans to build a coffee shop on Bay City's Center Avenue, at Sherman Street, on the site of a former gas-station property owned by Favazza. Nordstrom said her curly-haired brother "was not a necktie man," but instead preferred sportcoats and snazzy cowboy boots. "He was flamboyant with his dressing - he kind of looked Las Vegas-style, but his personality was very courtly, and he was very much a gentleman," said John C. Leaming, 77, of Essexville, a retired Bay County district court judge. Bay County District Court Judge Karen Tighe said Favazza "always bowed when he saw you, and he was very respectful, and he was a very good attorney." Visitation for Joseph J. Favazza Jr. occurs Saturday and Sunday, from 2-5 p.m. and from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Trahan Funeral Chapel and Prearrangement Center, 256 N. Madison Ave. Favazza's sister, 64-year-old Cathy Ferguson of Bay City, also survives him.

Published in the Bay City Times on 2/8/2008.