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Community Mourns Loss of Ferndale DPW Crew Leader

Donald Gattes, 49, of Ferndale, died Sunday while leaving work. "He was truly a wonderful person," said City Manager April Lynch.

The Ferndale community is mourning the loss of city employee and resident Donald Gattes, 49, who died Sunday as he was leaving work.

Gattes, a crew leader for the Ferndale Department of Public Works, had been working on a water main break Sunday and was leaving work when he reportedly had a massive heart attack, said his neighbor Kay Watson.

Watson said services will be held at Wessels and Wilk Funeral Home in Pleasant Ridge. The viewing will be from 1-9 p.m. Thursday and the funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday.

Ferndale City Manager April Lynch said Gattes worked with the city for 17 years. He was hired in 1995 as a laborer and had currently been working as a crew leader.

"He will definitely be very missed," Lynch said. "He was a big part of our operation and organization ... this is just devastating to this whole organization."

She said the entire DPW department is grieving the loss. "They're just really struggling right now," she said. "Right now staff is trying to wade through the grief. He was truly a wonderful person, a great person, always smiling. He will truly, truly be missed. It is very devastating."

Gattes is survived by his mother, Lynch said.

Sally Mace July 31, 2012 at 08:18 PM
A wonderful family. My heart aches for their loss.

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