Cover photo for Salvatore "Sam" Messina's Obituary
Salvatore "Sam" Messina Profile Photo
1941 Salvatore "Sam" 2021

Salvatore "Sam" Messina

February 21, 1941 — March 5, 2021

Salvatore Antonio “Sam” Messina, age 80, of Northville, passed away on March 5, 2021. Born in Detroit on February 21, 1941, to parents Antonino & Carrie (Yannello) Messina. Beloved father of Kari (Eric) Dahlquist and Terese (Randy Cass) Messina. Proud grandfather of William & Andrew Dahlquist. Dear brother of Louis and Rose Messina. Also survived by his former wife Diane Lendzon. Also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Preceded in death by his partner Carolyn Anulewicz and by his brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Florence Messina.

Sam was the longtime owner and proprietor of The Courthouse Grille, formerly known as Ernesto’s, where for more than 30 years he delighted in welcoming patrons to enjoy a fine meal and celebrate the special occasions in their lives. Concurrent to his proprietorship and until his retirement in 2001, Sam served as Director of Investor Relations for Chrysler Corporation and Daimler Chrysler. He served on a small team of executives, who along with then-Chairman Lee Iacocca, went before Congress to secure what at the time was the largest rescue package ever granted by the U.S. government to an American corporation and sealing one of the most famous corporate comebacks in recent history.

“Thanks to the stamina of the Chrysler negotiators and 11th hour decisions by the Canadian and American governments, Chrysler Corporation has avoided an untimely death. The importance of that achievement for Detroit, Michigan and American economy can scarcely be overstated.” - Detroit Free Press Editorial May 15, 1980

Sam was involved in his community, serving on several boards and foundations. He was a founding partner and treasurer for Keller Williams Realty Professionals in Plymouth and Brighton. He was a generous friend and patron of the arts and charitable causes. He loved sharing a fine meal and a glass of wine with his many friends and family. He traveled extensively throughout Europe and filled his home with treasures from his journeys. Throughout his life, and especially in retirement, he could be found, shovel in hand, digging holes, and planting trees in his backyard.

Sam graduated from the University of Detroit in 1962, paying his way selling apples from his father’s orchard at the Eastern Market on weekends. He later earned his MBA in Finance, also from the University of Detroit. He valued education and instilled this in his daughters from a young age, always encouraging their goals and aspirations. He was a proud father and grandfather and enjoyed spending the holidays out West with his family. He loved to hear about his grandsons’ accomplishments at college and thrilled in their pursuits. He lived life fully, enjoying the fruits of his labors, and he will be missed by all the family and friends whose lives he touched.

Friends may visit the Schrader-Howell Funeral Home, 280 South Main Street, Plymouth on Friday, March 12th from 3:00pm-8:00pm.

A Funeral mass will be held on Saturday, March 13th at 10:00am St. Kenneth Catholic Church 14951 North Haggerty Road, Plymouth. Visitation will begin at 9:30am until time of mass.

For those who cannot attend and wish to view the Funeral Service in a safe environment, the funeral will be live streamed.

As of November 18, 2020, we are permitted to have no more than 25 people in attendance for visitations and funerals. Please be advised that in observance of the Governmental Order from the State of Michigan and the current COVID-19 situation, when in attendance at the visitation and funeral service, we kindly ask for the safety and well-being of the families we serve, and for your health, that everyone practice social distancing and consideration for other guests in attendance. Masks are mandatory. Please refrain from handshaking and embracing family members and one another.

Those who wish to honor the memory of Sam Messina are invited to consider a contribution in lieu of flowers to Partnership for the Arts & Humanities, 50755 Cherry Hill Road, Suite 10, Canton, MI 48188) and the University of Detroit Mercy, 4001 W. McNichols Road, Detroit 48221.

Contribution envelopes will be available at the Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Salvatore "Sam" Messina, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 12, 2021

3:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Schrader-Howell Funeral Home

280 S. Main St, Plymouth, MI 48170

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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