Artist, storyteller, Great Lakes fisherman, bleeding-heart liberal

Ed Stopke was born in Detroit to Alexander and Louise (Ahlert) Stopke. In seventh grade, he was selected to attend the Children’s House at the Detroit Art Institute, sponsored by Edsel Ford. While growing up in Detroit during the post-Depression years, he found treasures in back alleys and on beaches. Many of his findings later appeared in his artwork.

Ed graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1951. At seventeen, he won the National Poster Competition and received a Scholastic Art Awards Scholarship. Soon after his arrival at Reed College School of Fine Arts, he received his draft notice. An anti-war advocate all his life, Ed sought conscientious objector status and served with the American Friends Service Committee in Mexico. There he met and married Emyre Amendola and adopted her three sons. Ed worked at an ad agency, painted and studied pre-Columbian cultures in Mexico. After the family moved to the U.S. a daughter and son were added to their family. They later purchased a farm in Ypsilanti. He and Emy later divorced.

In 1969 Ed became art director at Stacy & Associates in Ann Arbor, where he met Judy Joffee, a graphic designer. They married March 28, 1971 and purchased a home in Scio Township where they opened a graphic design studio, Stopke Design & Print. Their son Mark was born in 1975.

The couple celebrated their 50-year anniversary last year. Ed continued creating paintings, sculptures and collages throughout his life, but always found time for fishing the Great Lakes, beach combing and alley picking. Ed’s work has been exhibited at many shows in southeast Michigan.

Ed was diagnosed with lung cancer in February. He took pride in telling his doctors he had quit smoking thirty years ago when a doctor refused to treat his cluster headaches until he quit. He did and never had another migraine. He died at his home in Ann Arbor after celebrating 51 years of sobriety on April 1.

Ed is survived by his wife Judy, six children: Edwina Estella, Edward Alexander Jr., Robert, David, Luis and Mark, many grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren. Mark and grandson Toby live in Ann Arbor.

A Celebration of Life will be held August 20 at the Dawn Farm Community Barn. Contact Judy Stopke for information at (734) 662–4178. Memorial contributions may be made to Dawn Farm, 6633 Stony Creek Rd., Ypsilanti, MI 48197 or dawnfarm.org/donate/