Former longtime City of Southfield Mayor and Councilman Donald F. Fracassi passing

June 26, 2023

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Former longtime city of Southfield Mayor and Councilman Donald F. Fracassi passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, June 25, 2023 on his 63rd wedding anniversary to his beloved wife Karen. He was 88 years old.

Mr. Fracassi served as Mayor of the city of Southfield for over 30 years in addition to 18 years on City Council. The city of Southfield held a dedication ceremony on September 11, 2020 to officially name the Southfield Municipal Campus located at 26000 Evergreen Road as the Donald F. Fracassi Municipal Campus.

His political career spans over 50 years with the city of Southfield. He was first elected to the City Council in 1967 as one of the youngest ever; elected Council President and Acting Mayor in 1969-1972; elected Mayor 1973-2001; returned to City Council in 2003, as Acting Mayor in 2015 and again as a Councilman until 2019.

Mr. Fracassi’s tireless work to improve the quality of life for the residents of Southfield and Oakland County is still evident today. Throughout his long and distinguished years of service, he successfully pioneered several positive initiatives that have secured Southfield as an economic hub in southeastern Michigan. Some of his most impressive accomplishments include:

  • Implementing the first 911 Emergency System in Michigan and one of the first Emergency Medical Service systems (EMS) and Paramedic programs in the United States in 1972;
  • Curbside recycling;
  • Mayors for United Negro College Fund;
  • Founder of Eight Mile Boulevard Association;
  • Established Southfield as a “Smart Zone;”
  • Assisted in the first Senior Citizen developments (McDonnell Towers and Woodridge Apartments;
  • Assisted in the development of the Burgh Site in 1976;
  • Negotiated the joint contract between Southfield, Japan and L.T.U. to build in Southfield the first composite bridge in the United States;
  • Nominated in 2002 as “Michiganian of the Year;”
  • Established East-West route for I-696 and its sound walls;
  • Awarded “White House Millennium Community” for Southfield in 2000;
  • Diversity Award; National Black Caucus;
  • Eccentric Newspaper’s “News Maker of the Year;”
  • Jewish War Veteran’s “Man of the Year;”
  • United Negro College Award;
  • Governor of Kentucky designation “Kentucky Colonel;” and
  • Jewish War Veteran’s “Brotherhood Award.”

Mr. Fracassi is survived by his wife Karen of 63 years, Donald, deceased (Donna) Fracassi, David Fracassi, Patti (Ernie) Taber, Roderick (Jennifer) Fracassi, Tim (Heather) Fracassi, Philip (Stephanie Simard) Fracassi; grandchildren Donald Fracassi, Jessica (Gideon) Massengill, Michael (Zoe) Fracassi, Kelsey (Dane) Stier, Peter Fracassi, Christopher Fracassi, Sydney Fracassi, Brittany (Michael) Avila, Katherine Fracassi, Emma Fracassi, Gabrielle Fracassi, Dominic Fracassi, Joseph Fracassi, and Elizabeth Fracassi; and great grandchildren Lyla, Beau, Phineas, Ella and Duncan.

Viewing will take place at Sawyer Fuller Funeral Home located at 2125 Twelve Mile Road in Berkley on Wednesday, June 28 from 1-8 p.m. The funeral will take place at Highland Park Baptist Church located at 28600 Lahser Road in Southfield on Thursday, June 29 at 10 a.m. instate until time of the service at 11 a.m. The public is welcome and invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to Southfield Goodfellows

For more information, call Community Relations at (248) 796-5130.