Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.

After a brief struggle with cancer, Stephen Paul Ptaszynski, 66, passed away on a beautiful Fall morning at home, with his loving wife of 41 years, Dawn (Willard) at his side.

Steve was born in Detroit, Michigan to Donald and Joyce. He graduated from Finney High School, and received his Mechanical Engineering Degree from Lawrence Institute of Technology, where he was a member of the PKU Fraternity. He was at the forefront of technology integration, and served as Director of Technology for a printing company. He was also an instructor at Highland Park Community College. He lived in the Detroit area most of his life, relocating to Dimondale, Michigan in 2017 to be nearer to his children and grand kids.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents and his precious son, Kenneth Ray.

His happiest days were spent both with his children, as he instilled in them integrity, kindness, honesty, and humor, and as beloved Papa to his grand kids. He was very involved in Scouting, and was always up for camping, fishing, or target practice. Steve and Dawn were high school sweethearts, and were together for 49 years. Early in their relationship, Steve told Dawn that he wanted to marry her, but not until she could spell his last name. Eight years later they were married. Steve faced cancer with humor and a determination to live his life to the fullest. He and Dawn embarked on a “Farewell Tour” across the country to visit family, and sweet memories of this trip will always be in our hearts.

Steve is survived by his wife, Dawn; sons, Matthew (Sarah) and Joseph (Devin) and daughter, Veronica Emmendorfer (Jeremy); grand kids, Luke, Lucille, Lilienne, Claire, Christopher, and Floyd Stephen; brothers, Stan (Mary), Mark (AEnid), Greg (Beth), and sisters, Fran Hunter (Phil), Kathryn Mason, Sandy Gordon (Dan), and Sue Watson; and also many nieces and nephews.

The family will hold a Celebration of Life and burial at sea at a later date.

Memorial donations may be made in his name to:

Sparrow Hospice Services
1210 West Saginaw Street
Lansing MI 48915


Compassionate Hands & Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach
P.O. Box 141022
Orlando, FL 32814

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Steve’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids.


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.


  1. Sarah on October 25, 2019 at 10:11 am

    We will miss him so much. Luke, Lucy and Lily miss their Papa already. He was such a great grandpa & Father.
    We love you. ♡

  2. Devin on October 25, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    I will always remember enjoying getting to be Steve’s euchre partner and those few fun times we beat Joe and Dawn. Thanks to Steve for encouraging dreams even when it’s tough or seems impossible. Claire will miss her fishing buddy and Chris will miss playing cars with Papa. <3

  3. Veronica on October 25, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    If only phone calls could be made to Heaven, Floyd would be on the phone non-stop with his Papa (and so would I) <3

    One thing I've learned from Dad is to enjoy life and make the most of it. Not only from his last few months of living life to the fullest, but also right before he walked me down the aisle. When the music started, he pulled me back as I began to take a step, saying, "Make them wait." He didn't want me to rush and instead wanted me to savor the moment. While I will continue to practice his lesson, I know that I will often think about Dad and how loving he was.

  4. Matt Twiss on October 25, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I never had the pleasure of meeting “Mr. P,” although I heard lots about him from Joe, who was quite fond of, and proud of his father. Without him, and his dedication to instilling great values in his children, I wouldn’t have the best friend I have now.

  5. Mary Herbst on October 25, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    So many memories with Uncle Steve I don’t know which ones to list. New Years Eve kisses from Uncle Steve were the best <3 He is loved and missed very much! The Herbst family is keeping all of you in our prayers!

  6. Teri on October 25, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    I never would have known my cousin Steve if not for his beautiful wife, Dawn. I am so happy she found me. He welcomed me with arms as open as his heart. I love and will miss him more than I can say. Stay free, Steve.

  7. Diane on October 25, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    I can’t believe it took Dawn 8 years to learn to spell Steve’s name! But she was never sorry she did💕 They were a great match. Steve has such a calmness about him. And I think his logical brain frustrated Dawn at times, but they agreed on most things. When I would visit we would have some great talks, and he would often through in humorous thought with a grin and a twinkle in his gorgeous blue eyes. The love he had with his children was profound, and I knew he installed great values in them. His grandkids all adored their papa, as he did them💕. I will always treasure special memories this special man. Rest In Peace dear Steve.

  8. Mark Ptaszynski on October 26, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I love you with all my heart. You were there for me when no one else could be.
    Go rest high on that mountain

  9. Sandy Gordon on October 26, 2019 at 10:49 am

    You were there for me when I needed a shoulder. You were a rock. I love you and will miss you forever.
    Aka pain in the ass

  10. Stan Ptaszynski on October 26, 2019 at 11:07 am

    We grew up together, fought like brothers, got in trouble together, had a lot of respect for each other and enjoyed great times together. He will be in my thought always and I will miss him until it is my turn to join him.

  11. Mary Friend (Ptaszynski) on October 26, 2019 at 11:16 am

    As a recent addition to the family, I’d like to say something. I didn’t know Steve but a few short years. However, I came to appreciate his intelligence and wealth of knowledge on many topics and must say I was often surprised. I also thoroughly enjoyed his somewhat dry sense of humor. I got a kick out of that little smirk which crossed his face when he made that joke and got the reaction he was looking for. I feel blessed to have gotten to know him if only for a short time.

  12. Sue Watson on October 26, 2019 at 11:23 am

    I would just add that we even sometimes got in trouble FOR each other. Ditto…he will always be in my thoughts, and I will miss him until we meet up again.

  13. Fran on October 26, 2019 at 11:27 am

    And Fran agrees with the saying, until we meet again.
    That was the last thing she said to Steve at the family reunion as she hugged him goodbye!

  14. Margaret L Wellman on October 27, 2019 at 12:53 pm


    My sincere condolences for the loss of your husband. I am one of Diane’s buddies at Pershing High School and learned of your loss from her via Facebook. Your families seem to have had more than your fair share of loss for which I am sorry.

    Marge Lamb Wellman

  15. Lynwood Edmond on October 29, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Didn’t get to hang out a whole lot with STEVE but the times I did I can remember thinking now that’s a good man. And that he would be a person that I would like hanging out a lot more with. Always obvious that his kids loved him and he was a good dad.Steve and Dawn were a great match. I am sure that he will be sincerely missed By all who knew him.

Leave a Comment