2018-02-15 / Obituaries

Albert C. 'Buck' Dirette

Albert C. "Buck" Dirette, Higgings Lake, 82, died Feb. 15, 2018, at home, surrounded by his family and friends after a grueling two-year battle with lung cancer.

A Mass of Christian burial was held Feb. 19, at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, with Father Rolando Silva officiating. Christler Funeral Home, Prudenville Chapel, handled arrangements. Memorial contributions may be directed to the family. 

He was born in Detroit Jan. 28, 1936, to Emile and Katherine (VerWiebe) Dirette, who predeceased him. He was the first of four sons and spent his childhood in Southfield. He graduated from Highland Park High School in 1953 where he enjoyed all sports, participated in band and choir and was a member of the Varsity Club.

He married Joanne M. Hunt in 1957 and together, they welcomed their only daughter, Holly R. Dirette in 1958, who survives them. Two other daughters, Cheryl and Vicki, were born and died less than a day later.

Mr. Dirette was mentor and constant advisor to many, especially his brother-in-law, Kenneth R. (Cindy) Hunt, and their friendship and support of each other throughout his life was brotherly.

He was a selfless, compassionate, loving and diligent caregiver to many, including his in-laws, Stan and Dora Hunt of Higgins Lake, when Alzheimer's and Parkinson's took their independence, then to his dear wife, Joanne, through her eight-year battle with Huntington's Disease that took her life in 2008.

Mr. Dirette had many jobs in his lifetime, including pinsetter for the bowling alley and a golf caddy at Plum Hollow Golf Course where his lifelong love of golf began. He started his 36-year career at General Motors with a tool and die apprenticeship at the Fort Street Plant in Detroit and retired in 1992 as a senior engineer in charge of plastics at the General Motors Tech Center.

He and his wife retired at Higgins Lake where they enjoyed boating, family life and all the wonderful fishing spots that only he knew with his son-in-law, William H. "Bill" Oliver II, and only grandson, William H. "Billy" Oliver III. Many hours where spent as crew chief for his son-in-law at Merritt Speedway, where his expertise was helpful.

While widowed, he took every opportunity to be on the area golf courses. He was a member at Redwood Golf Course, Pineview Highlands Golf Course and was a scratch golfer at any course with the pins in, some days 36 holes. He lived his life with gusto and truly enjoyed his golf buddies and the camaraderie of friends and family.

In 2015, he met Charlotte Crist and enjoyed a carefree and active senior life of dancing, traveling and friends, while members of the Houghton-Higgins Lake Elks and Houghton Lake Eagles. While healthy in 2016, he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer after shoulder pain affected his golf game. He never complained, saying "we deal with the hand we are dealt" and trusted his medical team to provide care to give him more time. Treatments, doctor appointments and prayers consumed his last years until he began care with Munson Hospice and his awesome nurse, Khristine Stanaway, in December of 2017. He made peace with his fate and the Lord, held onto hope and fought like a prizefighter until his last breath.

Besides his parents and his wife, Joanne, he was preceded in death by a baby brother, who died during childbirth.

Surviving Mr. Dirette are his daughter, Holly R. (Bill) Oliver; brothers, Louis Dirette of Detroit and Bruce (Liz) Dirette of West Bloomfield; nephews and nieces, Darrin and Brian Hunt, Matthew, Aaron, Christopher, and Emily Dirette and Cindy Sturgill; and special friends, Glenn and Melva Stuart of Roscommon.


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