Following the death of Michael "Mike" Ilitch, the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, several of his acts of kindness have been revealed, including the generosity towards iconic civil rights leader, Rosa Parks.
"I don't know if you remember, but Rosa Parks was beaten up by some bum in her neighborhood years ago", Keith said in a phone interview with The Washington Post, as he recounted the story Thursday. Howe won the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP six times during his long tenure with the Red Wings that earned him the nickname "Mr. Hockey". Keith credited the city's economic resurgence after years of bankruptcy and rampant foreclosure to the couple.
"To go over there and see Mrs. Ilitch and give a hug, it's nice to be able to do that", he said, according to a report by George Sipple in the Deroit Free Press.
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Now Mr. Armstrong's children work at Little Caesar's restaurants he owns in Detroit and Highland Park. Despite the city's decline in the decades following, Ilitch stayed in his hometown, earning him much admiration.
Ilitch died last week at the age of 87. The Ilitch family has been a driving force and so much a part of this community.
"Our goalies are winning games for us, but we've also really focused on defense since Mike took over", St. Louis defenseman Joel Edmundson said.
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As Keith points out, this is just one way Ilitch showed his love for Detroit.
As the public paid their respects to Ilitch at the historic Fox Theatre Wednesday, the stories flowed. Meanwhile, no one is paying tribute to the tens of thousands of workers who must labor at poverty level wages to coin the profits on which the Ilitch fortune is based.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Mike Ilitch can be made to: Ilitch Charities, The Detroit Red Wings Foundation and The Detroit Tigers Foundation. Parks died in 2005; and Keith still has a copy of the first check for $2,000 that Ilitch wrote out to her landlord at Riverfront Apartments in 1994. "I has done for Detroit", said Ben Laffoon, who was among those who signed, along with his 10-year old son Aaron.
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