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 Mary Lackamp, a former employee of University of Detroit Jesuit High School and a Berkley resident, died Feb. 17 from injuries suffered in a crash three days earlier that occurred when a man allegedly attempted to flee from Ferndale police in his vehicle and struck the vehicle in which Lackamp was riding.

Mary Lackamp, a former employee of University of Detroit Jesuit High School and a Berkley resident, died Feb. 17 from injuries suffered in a crash three days earlier that occurred when a man allegedly attempted to flee from Ferndale police in his vehicle and struck the vehicle in which Lackamp was riding.

Photo provided by University of Detroit Jesuit High School


Berkley woman, former U of D Jesuit employee, remembered as 'caring' and ‘loving’ person

Man allegedly responsible for death charged with murder

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 21, 2020

 Lackamp is remembered by U of D Jesuit High and her former colleagues for her school spirit and her loving and caring nature.

Lackamp is remembered by U of D Jesuit High and her former colleagues for her school spirit and her loving and caring nature.

Photo provided by University of Detroit Jesuit High School

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FERNDALE/BERKLEY — On Feb. 14, Berkley resident Mary Lackamp was traveling with two friends, husband and wife Bob Weed and Michele Mooney, on their way home from a University of Detroit Jesuit High School basketball game.

At approximately 9:15 p.m., the vehicle that the three were riding in was struck by an SUV near Eight Mile Road and Wyoming Street in Royal Oak Township. The driver of the SUV allegedly was attempting to flee from Ferndale police.

Weed and Mooney, herself a faculty member at U of D Jesuit, suffered serious injuries as a result of the crash, but were reported by police as in stable condition.

Sadly, Lackamp, 89, died from her injuries three days later, on Feb. 17.

In the time since the incident and her death, many people in Lackamp’s life have been honoring their friend and former colleague — especially those at U of D Jesuit High School, where she worked for 29 years.

“All of us at U of D Jesuit are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend Mary Lackamp,” the high school said in a prepared statement. “Mary worked as an administrative assistant in our Student Affairs Office from 1974 until her retirement in 2003. During that time, she touched the lives of many students who remember her as an extraordinary person and friend.  Our school community sends its heartfelt condolences to her family. We feel blessed to have been a part of her amazing life.”

Chuck Gumbel, a math teacher at the school, said that he started at U of D Jesuit in 1983 as the assistant principal, and Lackamp was his administrative assistant.

Gumbel’s role was mostly handling discipline, which Lackamp helped with, and he saw firsthand how great she was at interacting with the students at the school.

“The young men saw her as their mom at school,” he said. “She was very firm with them when they came in, but at the same time, when she finished that part of the discussion, she would move into, ‘OK, now how are you going to change things?’ and then would be very encouraging, and I think the young men there respected that.”

Though she retired from U of D Jesuit in 2003, it was never surprising to find Lackamp at school events in the years after. To hear that she was at a basketball game the night of the incident, Gumbel said Lackamp was “in her element.”

Gumbel also said what was impressive to him was how active Lackamp was in volunteering after her retirement.

“She would not let anything just sit and rest,” he said. “She would volunteer at Beaumont and various activities and was extremely active in her community, especially if it involved helping others, and I think that was typical of her.”

For anyone looking to say their own goodbyes to Lackamp or pay their respects, visitation will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home, 32515 Woodward Ave. in Royal Oak. A prayer service will begin at 7 p.m.

Lackamp’s funeral service will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at Our Lady of La Salette Catholic Church, 2600 Harvard Road in Berkley. There will be a visitation period at 10 a.m. prior to Mass.

“I think we all look for people in our lives who are caring and loving and exemplify what we believe in, as far as how you look for ways of helping others, and I think Mary was that person,” Gumbel said. “I think her task here on Earth was to be there for others, and when she was working there, it was for the young men. Even for her colleagues, Mary was well known, well respected by all of our staff over the years, and once you met her, you really did believe that you were touched by somebody special.”

After Lackamp died, charges were amended in the case against the man who allegedly drove the SUV that struck the vehicle she was in, Harris Howard. According to Ferndale Police Sgt. Baron Brown, Howard was arraigned Feb. 19 on three charges brought forth by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office: second-degree murder, first-degree fleeing and eluding, and second-degree fleeing and eluding.

According to authorities, police attempted to pull Howard over for speeding when he allegedly chose to flee from the scene, reaching speeds of 70 mph before hitting the vehicle containing Lackamp, Mooney and Weed. The 26-year-old Florida man allegedly tried to run from the scene, but he was arrested by Michigan State Police in a nearby neighborhood.

Howard is being held without bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at the 43rd District Court.

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