On May 23, 2020, our family's beloved patriarch Ernest Fata passed away peacefully at his home into the arms of his Heavenly Father, where he was reunited with his parents, Paul and Mary Fata, his sisters Gloria Spagnuolo and Margaret Fetyko, and his brother, Frank Fata. Born on September 13, 1927, he grew up and spent his entire life in Lansing, Michigan.
1927 - 2020
A proud graduate of St. Mary's High School, Class of 1945, he was on the 1944 State Championship Basketball Team. After serving two years in the army, he continued working in his father's store, which evolved into Paul Fata & Sons, a wholesale grocery distributor specializing in Italian food. He was involved in many businesses, including many bars and restaurants in the Lansing area. On January 22, 1955, he married the love of his life, Teresa Castellani. Together, they raised 8 children and this year, they celebrated 65 years of marriage.
The three pillars of Ernie's life were faith, hard work, and most importantly, family. He had a strong devotion to the Catholic Church, especially Sant'Ippolito, the patron saint of the village in Italy where his family was from. He loved going to the Festa di Sant'Ippolito each August, and attended every year for 80 years. Proud of his Italian heritage, he visited Italy dozens of times over the course of his life. Ernie was a people person and would do absolutely anything for anyone. He loved talking on the phone (especially to Richard), going out to dinner with friends, and socializing at the pool when spending winters in Florida. Being an avid sports fan, he rooted for the Spartans, Tigers and the Lions, unless they were "having an off year," and then he'd joke that he was rooting for the other team. Ernie was known for his quick wit and sarcastic sense of humor.
He is survived by his wife, Teresa Fata, his siblings and in-laws, Dorena Castellani, Eleanor (Louie) Dionise, Ellen Fata, David Fetyko, Lawrence (Barbara) Fata, and Joanne Bernest; his children, Paul (Lorraine) Fata, Joe (Michelle) Fata, Tom Fata, Tony (Liana) Fata, Annette (Dennis) Knapp, Steven (Karlee) Fata, Celeste (Michael) Bishop, and Angela (Tarek) Buckmaster; his grandchildren, Andrea (Dr. William) Ballard, Scott, Gabe, & Paula (Chris) Fata; Justin (Amanda), Alex, & Zachary (Shaina) Fata, Gemrich Cuyoca; Carli & Gino Fata; Maggie Oliver, Ernie (Aki), Katie (Sam), & Allison Fata; Daniel (Suzanne) & Joshua (Audra) Allegri; Teresa, Daniel (Megan), & Adam Knapp; Teresa, Max, & Bruce Fata; Christina (Rob) Gilreath, Marisa Bishop, and Jeremy & Nicholas Edstrom; as well as 24 great grandchildren, and 35 nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by other close family members, his brothers-in-law, Art Castellani, Orlando Spagnuolo, and Dennis Bernest; his mother- and father-in-law, Mildred and Frank Castellani; his niece, Louanne Dionise Dalebout; and his cousins and close friends, Richard Fata and Albert Cascarelli.
Private funeral Mass will be held at St. Gerard for immediate family, with burial to follow. Public memorial service will be held at a later date. Funeral arrangements provided by Tiffany Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Ernie's honor to Mother Teresa House, 308 N Walnut Street, Lansing MI 48933.
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