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Suspected Heart Attack Takes Life…

Suspected Heart Attack Takes Life of 49 Year Old DPW Worker Donald Gattes

(C. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, July 31, 2012)

The community is in mourning as news spreads that Donald Gattes, a longtime member of the Department of Public Works, passed away on Sunday in a medical crisis that Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan says was most likely a heart attack.

Gattes had been driving on East Chesterfield going Westbound towards Hilton when the city-owned vehicle he was driving veered off the street and hit a tree at a low rate of speed, Sullivan explained.  He had been repairing a water main break at 8 Mile and the Railroad tracks and was likely headed back to the DPW yard.

“The cause of death won’t be confirmed until after the autopsy, but based on the evidence at the scene it seems like it was most likely a heart attack.”

Gattes has long been part of the Ferndale community, having worked with the DPW over fifteen years.  According to his obituary through Wessels & Wilk Funeral Home, he was a beloved friend of Kathy Johnston and her two sons, as well as a beloved uncle.

A viewing will be held at Wessels & Wilk at 23690 Woodward Avenue on Thursday from 1-9pm.  The funeral will be at the same location on Friday at 11am, with burial to follow at Roseland Park Cemetary.

To view the full obituary, visit

For more information on Wessels & Wilk, visit

The Ferndale 115 News respects the privacy of family and friends as they grieve.  If anyone who knew Donald Gattes would like to add their memories of him please email us at and we can add you to this story.

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