He will be remembered for his impact, advocacy and legacy
LANSING, Mich. (June 26, 2023) — Sen. Jeremy Moss (D–Southfield) issued the following statement on the passing of Donald Fracassi, Southfield’s longest serving official in city history.
Fracassi passed away on Sunday. He was first elected to the Southfield City Council in 1967 and served as Mayor from 1973 to 2001. He returned to City Council in 2003 and briefly served again as Mayor in 2015, until he retired in 2019.
“No singular individual has had a bigger impact on the City of Southfield than Donald Fracassi — I’m incredibly saddened to hear of his passing.
“Don was ‘Mr. Southfield,’ leading the city as Mayor during a dramatic period of growth — ‘from farmlands to skyscrapers,’ as he would say. I was the youngest member on a council of elders when I was elected to City Council in 2011, just like Don was more than four decades prior, and he really looked out for me during our term together. He often pulled me aside to provide counsel and encouragement.
“He used his platform to be an outspoken and passionate advocate for our city and propelled us to be a key player in our region — founding the Eight Mile Boulevard Association, forming the South Oakland County Mayor’s Association and serving in leadership in the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. He was instrumental in the development of many city amenities we enjoy to this day: the Southfield Pavilion, the Civic Center Arena, Beech Woods, the Historic Burgh site and more.
“As I’ve traveled across the state and country and encountered people with Southfield roots, without fail, they’ll immediately ask me if Fracassi is still around. He became such an indelible figure for generations of people who grew up here that his name became synonymous with Southfield — and in 2020, we literally named City Hall after him. While he may be gone, his legacy will be felt for generations to come.
“My heart goes out to his wife Karen and the entire Fracassi family. ‘Mr. Southfield’ will be sorely missed.”