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Alexander James Jemal, Jr.

January 15, 2018
Alexander James Jemal, Jr.
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Obituary for Alexander James Jemal, Jr.

Alexander James Jemal Jr. passed away peacefully at home on January 15, 2018 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

The son of Alexander Jemal and Sophie Oundjian, Alex was born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. He attended Grosse Pointe High School where he played the French horn and starred on the varsity tennis team. After graduating from Grosse Pointe High School in 1946, he attended Kalamazoo College where he played on the men’s tennis team as part of one of the of elite programs in the country.

After Kalamazoo College, Alex attended the Detroit College of Law and earned his law degree and passed the state bar exam in 1953. Alex was assigned to the Pentagon as a First Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the Army during the Korean War.

He married the love of his life Lily Bahadurian on October 30, 1955 in Detroit. The couple remained married for sixty-two years, living in the same Bloomfield Hills, Michigan home for nearly 50 years.

After his honorable discharge from the Korean War, Alex began practicing law with his father Alexander Jemal Sr. Alex thrived as a practicing attorney for over sixty years specializing in all aspects of civil law. As an attorney, he had expert knowledge of the law flawlessly representing clients on a wide range of legal issues. Alex loved practicing law and used his immense knowledge for the benefit of clients for well over a half a century. Alex recently renewed his bar card and continued to practice law and represent clients until his passing.

Alex was a superb athlete. He was an avid tennis player often seen in the evenings playing at clubs throughout the metro Detroit area. His prowess on the tennis court served him well and he often played and bested players far younger than himself. Alex also became an expert cyclist. He bicycled across most of Europe, often on his own, riding up to 100 miles a day through historic towns and mountain ranges. The trips would culminate with Alex presenting one of his famous slide shows to family and friends.

Alex was a renowned collector of over 1700 rare and first edition books from the most prolific authors in history. He traveled around the country purchasing rare books and his collection included authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, William Faulkner, John Updike and William Shakespeare. He kept meticulous records of his books and had a magnificent library display throughout his home and office. He donated a significant number of rare and signed first-edition books to nonprofit and educational institutions.

He loved spending time in Northern Michigan on property purchased by his father in 1935. The Empire, Michigan property was a magical place for Alex that came with breathtaking views and sunsets on Lake Michigan. Alex spent many summers in Empire with his family and always considered the cottage his second home. Because of Alex’s passion, the “up-north” property become a love for his entire family as they spent time in Empire enjoying the pristine waters of Lake Michigan, cycling the country roads of Leelanau County and climbing miles of soft sand dunes.

Alex was a member of St. John Armenian Church, the Knights of Vartan and Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). For years, he served as the pro-bono legal counsel for St. John’s Armenian Church of Greater Detroit and was a long-time donor to the church and many Armenian-American philanthropic organizations.

Alex was best known for his love of life, curiosity, kindness and genuine interest in people. He was as comfortable getting to know the taxi driver as he was writing complex legal briefs for his clients. His warm smile, kind heart and giving personality made him loved and admired by so many. His presence and contributions will be remembered forever.

Alex placed his family above everything else. He was the beloved husband of Lily Jemal, devoted father of Claudia, Janis and Timothy, adoring grandfather to Jennifer, Erin, Arya, Alexander and Kerry, loving brother to Dorothy Jemal Garabedian and dearest father in law to Gassia Apkarian and Duane Day.

VISITATION AND FUNERAL SERVICE The family will receive friends on Friday from 10am until time of funeral service at 11:00am in St. John Armenian Church, 22001 Northwestern Hwy; Southfield, MI 48075.

MILITARY HONORS AND MEMORIAL DINNER will take place in the church building Friday 12 Noon immediately following the funeral service.

INTERMENT in White Chapel Cemetery, Troy, MI

MEMORIAL DONATIONS The family suggests Memorial Donations be sent to St. John Armenian Church.

ARRANGEMENTS in the care of Simon Javizian Funeral Directors (248) 626-7815

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