Profiles

June Manning Thomas

When June Manning Thomas started high school in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in 1965, her classmates either ignored her completely or stared at her in stony silence. When grades were distributed–she was an academic...

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Walter Roberson

Afternoon Delight Cafe has closed for the day, but seventy-one-year-old busser Walter Roberson–who walks with a stoop and smiles frequently–is still hard at work in the back of the restaurant, folding cardboard...

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Rebecca Arends

Rebecca Arends is a massage therapist, not an artist. But she painted murals at ten locations around town over the summer.The most prominent is at Orchid Lane on Liberty. The store’s alley wall once was covered with...

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Andy LaBarre

Waiting nervously for his life-changing interview, Andy LaBarre was startled when “this great, big bear-like man comes out of his office.” LaBarre’s voice deepens as he quotes the man’s words:...

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Randall Torno

Randall Torno builds his canoes for the water–even though some of them may never touch a river or lake. “Many people buy them to hang on the wall,” he explains, leading a tour of his basement workshop, where...

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City Historian Wystan Stevens

Reprinted from the June 1981 Ann Arbor Observer. Stevens died on July 26, 2015.His gaze fixed ahead upon the Greek Revival house at 126 North Division, City Historian Wystan Stevens backed slowly out into the middle of the...

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Jeff and Marc Taras

In the summer of 1981, Marc Taras went out for breakfast with his good friend Paul Joseph Ryder. After steak and eggs, the two took a stroll and passed a vacant shop in the 600 block of Packard St. “Wouldn’t this be...

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Heather Phillips

Spring is a very busy time for Heather Phillips. It’s not unusual for her to work twelve to eighteen hours a day at Heather’s Place, the little sewing shop in the lower level of her Water Hill home, making and...

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Sarah Toner

On a late March morning at the Arb the temperatures hover in the twenties, but Community High senior Sarah Toner doesn’t seem to mind the cold as she sets off along a trail in the Dow Prairie in search of birds. The...

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Jeff Pickell

“Wynken, Blynken, and Nod?” calls a woman, standing in the doorway of Kaleidoscope Books & Collectibles on Fourth Ave. “Check next week!” owner Jeff Pickell shouts back.Pickell (pronounced pick-ELL)...

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Art French

“Some people just don’t believe it,” says Art French, when he tells them that Ann Arbor once had a namesake automobile. But the proof is in his garage, parked next to his Buick sedan. On a snowy January day at...

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Mary Morgan and Dave Askins

“We didn’t get married because the Chinese government said we have to!” says Dave Askins indignantly. He and Mary Morgan–editor and publisher, respectively, of the late Ann Arbor Chronicle–tied the...

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Scott Campbell

In 1998, Scott Campbell was working for Sprint PCS in Kansas City. The cell phone company had recently launched America’s first digital network, and Campbell was developing new services for it. While excited about the...

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Ben Darragh

On a Monday afternoon, a group of middle-school boys is bowling at Bel-Mark Lanes. “Way to go, man!” one kid compliments another who’s just knocked down several pins. “Thanks!” the other boy replies...

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Sharon McRill

Sharon McRill’s office is illuminated by a pair of vintage-style lamps, so pea green and oddly shaped that any vintage shop would be envious. But McRill, forty-eight, didn’t pay a dime for them–or for the...

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Life After Everest

Moni Mulepati, thirty-three, has shared her remarkable wedding story so often you sense she’s a little impatient with yet another retelling. But the Nepal native knows her headline-making marriage in 2005 helps promote the...

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Ann Arborite Arie Lipsky

As the Ann Arbor Symphony rehearsed for a children’s concert, conductor Arie Lipsky was about to give the downbeat for the song “Puppy Love.” Mary Steffek Blaske, the symphony’s executive director, handed...

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A Fresh Look

“All the world’s a stage” is a fitting speech delivered amidst the greenery of Nichols Arboretum. As You Like It, the lighthearted love story being performed as part of the Shakespeare in the Arb series, now in...

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Dave Lamkin

It’s a rainy June afternoon, and All Star Driver Education instructor Dave Lamkin is giving two high school sophomores their fifth driving lesson. The girls remind him that today they’ll practice parallel parking and...

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Ele’s Place

The monogrammed necklace of her dad’s initials she wears, and the quilt made of his old T-shirts on her bed, are just two ways Oceana (Oh-SHE-anna) Bailey stays close to the memory of Richard Bailey—the father she adored...

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