Mike Ilitch, founder of Little Caesars Pizza, died on Feb. 10. He was 87 years old.
After serving his country as a member of the U.S. Marines Corps, Ilitch played minor league baseball in the Detroit Tigers’ organization. After a knee injury ended his baseball career, Ilitch eventually worked as a door-to-door salesman until he and his wife Marian saved enough money to open the first Little Caesars in Garden City, Mich., in May of 1959.
Ilitch eventually went on to own the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings and served as chairman of Ilitch Holdings.
Ilitch is survived by his wife of 61 years, Marian; children Denise, Ron, Michael Jr., Lisa, Atanas,Christopher, Carole; 22 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
The family will honor Ilitch at a private funeral service. The public is invited to share memories on a memorial site outside of Comercia Park in Detroit, near the Big Tiger, as of Monday Feb. 13. A public visitation will be held Wed. Feb. 15 from noon to 8 pm at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to: Ilitch Charities, The Detroit Red Wings Foundation and The Detroit Tigers Foundation.