Louise Adray remembered as pillar of community

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Louise Adray, described as a pillar of the community, businesswoman and philanthropist, died Jan. 17 at 86.

The longtime Dearborn resident, who co-founded Adray Appliance Photo and Sound Center with her late husband, Michael, in 1955, died in her house surrounded by family members.

George Bednar, family friend and former Adray Appliance vice president and general manager, said she and her husband were like family to him.

“I will miss her,” Bednar said. “I started with them from 1978 until the store closed in December 2009 and I always felt that I was a part of the family.”

Bednar said for many years Louise Adray played an active role in the business.

Adray Appliance Photo and Sound Center, a mainstay in the community, expanded to an entire city block and grew to include stores in Canton Township, Ann Arbor and Troy. Those stores were closed for varying reasons.

Bednar said Adray often took time out of her day to check on him and his family.

“She would call me and say, ‘How’s it going, George?’” Bednar said. “She would ask about my family, if I had another grandchild. She always wanted to know about that. It is a good feeling to work with someone that thinks of you as a person, instead of another number.”

Bednar also recalled the days when Adray made rice pilaf and sent it in to work.

“She was a tremendous cook,” Bednar said. “She would make a big pot of it and send it to the store and everybody wanted her rice pilaf. She was just a nice lady.”

Others remember Louise Adray as active in the community.

Henry Ford Community College Executive Director of Development John Lewandowski said he knew the Adray family for many years.

“To have a family like Mike and Louise and their children be so supportive has meant a lot to the college and students,” Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski said through the couple’s donations and support, two funded endowed scholarships with the HFCC Foundation and the Mike Adray Memorial Golf Tournament, established in 1982, were formed.

“The family and college have had a longtime relationship with mutual support,” Lewandowski said.

The Michael and Louise Adray Endowed Scholarship is awarded to HFCC students who study a number of fields, including law and business.

The Michael Adray Scholarship is awarded to students for outstanding civic involvement.

The Adrays also established the Adray Community Hockey League 35 years ago.

The Mike and Louise Adray ACHL Scholarships were initiated 28 years ago and about 160 scholarships have been awarded. Approximately $237,800 have been paid to scholarship recipients.

Adray’s daughter, Debbie Adray, said her mother was dedicated.

“She was born and raised in Detroit,” Debbie Adray said. “She was devoted to her family.”

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said he grew up knowing the Adray family during a time when his father, then-Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Sr., was in office.

“My father was the mayor during a period of time when they were really active,” O’Reilly said. “I would see them socially at events. They were just incredibly generous and very good business people.”

O’Reilly said “so many things for young people were done under the Adray sponsorship.”

“(Louise) was supporting young people going into the arts,” O’Reilly said. “They were very interested in Dearborn’s youth. This was a community in which they grew their business and they wanted to make sure the city was taking care of the young people.”

O’Reilly said the family was extraordinary in terms of community involvement and commitment.

“It is always a tragedy when you lose somebody,” O’Reilly said. “This community owes her a great deal of appreciation.”

HFCC Federation of Teachers’ President John McDonald said Adray was “fun to be with.”

“Louise was very engaged in supporting Michael,” McDonald said. “She and her daughter carried on his tradition and legacy beautifully.”

McDonald said he knew the family for at least three decades and said they were influential.

“When someone like Michael or Louise pass,” McDonald said, “it leaves a major hole in the community that others need to step in and fill.”

McDonald said he looked up to the couple.

“They were good role models of what good citizens and community activists, and what all, of us should be,” he said.

Adray leaves behind her brother Mike Kajoian, niece Susie Mardoyan and a host of other nieces, nephews and friends.

Adray was preceded in death by her husband Michael and sister Violet (the late Chris) Zennedjian.

A visitation was scheduled for Jan. 20 with a prayer service at Howe-Peterson Funeral Home, 22546 Michigan Ave.

A visitation preceding the funeral was also scheduled for Jan. 21 at St. Sarkis Armenian Church, 19300 Ford Road.

Adray will be buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Sarkis Armenian Church.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)

HFCC’s 22nd annual Adray golf tournament helps support student scholarships
DEARBORN — The 22nd annual Henry Ford Community College Mike Adray Memorial Golf Tournament will hit the green this year on May 15 at the Dearborn Country Club, 800 N. Military.

The tournament helps provide funding for 100 scholarships of $1,000 each for local high school students seeking a college education.

A continental breakfast will be available at 6 a.m. Morning golfer registration opens at 6:30 a.m. A silent auction begins at 7 a.m. and continues throughout the day. The morning round will begin at 7:30 a.m. Lunch will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Afternoon golf registration will open at noon and the afternoon round begins at 1 p.m. Entertainment, along with wine tasting and appetizers, will be at 4 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

Cost for the morning round is $200, and cost for the afternoon round is $250. The fee includes 18 holes of golf; breakfast, lunch, dinner and all evening activities; entertainment; and a silent auction. Dinner-only tickets are available for $75. Wine tasting will be available for a donation.

Tournament sponsorships are available beginning at $500.

As the largest annual fundraising event for the HFCC Foundation, this event brings together community leaders, alumni and friends, organizations and companies to support the academic endeavors of students seeking a college education. According to John Lewandowski, executive director of the HFCC Foundation, the tournament has raised nearly $1 million for scholarships since its inception in 1982.

“The students who receive the scholarships funded by the Adray tournament are the best and brightest from the top 10 area high schools sending students to HFCC,” Lewandowski said. “Nearly half of the recipients are from the Dearborn area, followed by Detroit and Downriver, so the students are truly representative of this community.”

For further information, call 313-845-9620 or go to www.adraygolf.com.