Former Michigan senator Jack Faxon, 83, of Birmingham, died Jan. 9, 2020.
Following are excerpts of a 2018 profile of Sen. Faxon written by contributing writer Judy Greenwald:
Former Sen. Jack Faxon could look back on his life of public service with pride: former legislator, one of the last surviving delegates of the Michigan Constitutional Convention, elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1964, a member of the Appropriations Committee for Education, composer of the bill establishing the Michigan Council for the Arts, to name just a few highlights.
The energetic, personable Faxon was an avid art collector as well as an artist in his own right, and his Birmingham home was a true showplace, with a priceless collection of sculpture, paintings, stained glass and oriental rugs, ranging from ancient pieces to modern works, including his own. He even had his own art exhibition in the State Capitol back in 1965, which featured his abstract paintings.
Art was only one of Faxon’s interests. His parents came as adults from Russia, and they instilled in him the importance of education. In 1956, he became a teacher of social studies at a Detroit middle school.
Faxon noted that his good performance as a student and precocious nature as a child definitely enhanced his yearning for knowledge and led him in the direction of learning. This connection with the academic world was expressed in another outlet: his founding of the International School in 1968.
“We began as the City School of Detroit and had 37 students enrolled in kindergarten through third grade,” he said, “and we were the first private school with a foreign language program in the U.S.”
The school moved to Southfield in 1981 and then, under the continuing direction of Faxon, to Farmington Hills, where it continues to attract discerning families.
Faxon was proud the student body consists of children from around the world who are immersed in a curriculum that promotes multilingual studies, leading to increased cognitive development.
“We believe that in our increasingly global environment, the quality of success will be determined by one’s ability to understand and communicate with people from different cultures,” he said. “Our multicultural, multiethnic environment looks ahead to the world of tomorrow, and we remain committed to foreign language proficiency in an academic setting that stresses the broad liberal arts as we advance into the future.”
Faxon also enjoyed a lifelong love of theater. He was a theater usher and became an opera buff. Faxon e loved attending performances at the Met in New York and was able to translate that love into real life by being on stage. He performed as a singer and dancer in such venues as the Ford Auditorium in Detroit and off-Broadway at St. Marks Theater in New York. He noted with pride that one of his first roles at MOT in the late 1970s was Prince Orlofsky in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, and a recent performance showcased him as the godfather in The Nutcracker ballet. His opening nights were some of the most exciting of his life, he said.
Faxon was the devoted brother of Lorraine Meisner; dear uncle of loving niece and nephews; and was also survived by other loving family members and friends.
Interment was at Hebrew Memorial Park. Contributions can be made to a charity of one’s choice. Arrangements by Hebrew Memorial Chapel.