Every Life Deserves to be Celebrated.



John N. Ertell

October 19, 1933 ~ February 23, 2018 (age 84)

On February 23rd, 2018, we lost our beloved brother, uncle and friend, John N. Ertell.  He is survived by his sisters Mary Brown and Elizabeth Stevens; four nieces - Susan, Carole, Lisa and Kathy Stevens; three nephews - Ralph, Bruce and Jim Brown and numerous great nieces and nephews.


John was born on October 19th, 1933 in Detroit, Michigan to Margaret and Newman Ertell. As a boy, his sisters never let anyone pick on their little brother. He had a mischievous sense of humor, enjoying practical jokes with the help of, and sometimes to the dismay of, his sisters and friends. He served in the Army and spent some time in other cities and countries as a young man. He was mistaken for a beatnik in 1960’s San Francisco, but to my sisters and cousins, he was “Mr. Kool Man” with his Ray Ban aviators and Kool cigarettes.


To me, he was “Uncle Bug” and I was “Doodles”.  We gave each other these nicknames when I was about 3 years old and they stuck ever since.  He never had children of his own, but he was a dear, funny friend to all of us kids.  Some of my fondest memories of him are from our grandpa’s cabin, making grilled cheese sandwiches and riding in his green Gran Torino.  


He moved to Petoskey in 1986 and was my dad’s golf buddy for years, at Bay View Country Club, Charlevoix Golf Club and other courses in the area.  He was an avid reader. He loved Sinatra, Jimmy Cagney and baseball, specifically the Detroit Tigers. His favorite song was Jimmy Dorsey’s “So Rare”. He was almost unbeatable at Balderdash and to him, playing croquet was so easy he “didn’t see why everyone didn’t win”. He had an infectious laugh.


John loved animals and they loved him back. He grew up with dogs and cats and later rescued two kitties, Charlie and then Scooter, who were his friends for many years.  He was a pal to all the dogs and cats in the family and always inquired about them when he talked to us on the phone.


He enjoyed writing and receiving letters and was an engaging conversationalist even when he wasn’t feeling well. He had me laughing the last time we spoke on the phone, only about a week before he passed away. At the end of our conversation, we signed off the way we always did: “Love you”.  “Love ya here, Doodles”.


We will not have a service or visitation but will instead plan a private gathering of family members.  If you knew and cared for John, please consider a donation in his name to The Little Traverse Bay Humane Society or another animal rescue group.

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