Joseph Daniel Pas

A man with a simple ethos that all conflicts could be solved over a cocktail or cigar, Joseph Daniel Pas had a knack for finding solutions through positivity, creativity and humor. Those who knew Joe best knew of a strong, kind-hearted “man’s man,” with unbending integrity and work ethic. They also knew a man whose disdain for crowds and adulation was only surpassed by his ritualistic adherence to a daily routine that always began with exercise and ended with dinner by 5:30 p.m.

Joe died at his home in Troy, Mich. on Apr. 12, 2022 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 78.

Born the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, 1943, to Joseph Stephan Pas and Mary Rose Pas (Jelinski), Joe most enjoyed being alone in front of a body of water – often with beer or a fishing rod in hand – or in front of a TV on Sundays, eagerly enduring another Detroit Lions heartbreak.

He grew up in Wyandotte, Mich. surrounded by a modest Polish contingent of family and friends. His mother ran the Friday fish fry at Frank’s Café, and his musician father played gigs after working on an assembly line. Joe could be found pulling apart and inspecting the innards of his brothers’ belongings, or outside desperately trying to catch and domesticate the birds and chipmunks from his front yard. Joe’s mother once remarked that when her middle son left home, so went half her laundry load.

Joe was a national award-winning art director for the Campbell-Ewald advertising agency. Well-known and well-regarded throughout the industry, at one point he was considered the “king” of point of purchase and direct mail marketing. Humble to a fault, Joe quickly dismissed such superlatives and lamented celebratory offerings, instead wishing to leave for home early enough to beat traffic.

Joe’s wife of 53 years, Susan Margaret (Busch), said he was often stymied in the art of gift giving. He best expressed himself creatively through painting and crafting custom, usually irreverent, birthday and anniversary cards. Joe was her “Boy Scout,” a genuine gentleman with an unflinching optimism toward all walks of life and situations.

Nearing age 40, Joe and Susan finally gave birth to their only son Joseph Ryan, a bruising baby boy who weighed well over 11 pounds. To his delight, Joe proclaimed to his pals that “Ryan” was the next Lyle Alzado, an intimidating NFL defensive lineman at the time. Ryan never played football, but Joe was a diligent and doting father just the same, sharing his love of the saxophone, design, humor and sports (including the Lions, unfortunately).

Joe was pre-deceased by his father Joe, mother Mary and younger brother Daniel. He is survived by his wife Susan, son Ryan and older brother Gerald Joseph “Gerry” Pas (Lori). He was a proud uncle to Olivia Pas, Adam Million (Michelle) and Amie Hanson (Jaisun).

A memorial gathering will be held for Joe from 2:00 – 4:00 PM on Monday, May 2, 2022 at Gramer Funeral Home, 705 N. Main Street, Clawson, MI 48017.  A memorial Mass will be held at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 581 14 Mile Rd., Clawson, MI 48017; (248) 588-1222.

In lieu of flowers, donate to your favorite food pantry, such as Gleaners Community Food Bank ( Or in honor of Joe’s fondness for Michigan outdoors, consider giving to land and water conservancies, such as the Michigan Nature Association ( or The Nature Conservancy in Michigan (donate here: For research and community support related to bile duct cancer, the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation ( also accepts donations.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Gerry, Lori, Olivia Pas

    Joe, our dear brother, brother-in-law, and uncle will forever remain in our hearts, in our daily thoughts and prayer. He will be sorely missed and our many memories of his loving kindness, generosity and humor will have to suffice until we are reunited with him in the realm beyond. We will continue to love you, Joe, and to watch over your family (((Sue and Ryan.)))

  2. Patricia karttunen

    Beautifully written for a beautiful man.

  3. Dean and Donna Pellegata

    Our condolences to Joe’s family. Lori always shared Joes creative gift giving cards when birthdays rolled around. I never had the chance to meet Joe, but felt the love through the creativity he shared with those he loved. Rest In Peace Joe, your ingenious talent will be well received in paradise. ❤️

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. Joe was a wonderful human being and an amazing artist. I always loved his creative and humorous cards. I never met him in person but through Lori and Gerry I know he was a treasure. He will be missed. Sending love and prayers.

  5. John and Mary Neuse

    With our love. condolences. and prayers to the Pas family during this difficult time.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to a man I knew for more than 53 years. Joe was always ready to help with any task. I remember a recent Thanksgiving I hosted where my dishwasher broke. After dinner (for 16) Joe quietly got up and parked himself in front of the kitchen sink and commenced to wash every dirty dish that came his way. He stood there for over an hour without complaint. I can’t remember a time in my life when Joe wasn’t there helping me in some capacity. Whether it was lending a hand on yet another moving day or visiting me in the hospital clutching a small painting that he made just for me. He was a one and only kinda guy. The world is just a little less wonderful without Joe in it. I will remember him kindly and with love always.

  7. Beautifully said. I remember coming into work at Campbell-Ewald on Mondays and him telling me, “Boy, your Lions really blew it this week.” Which would set off a back-and-forth sparring match: “No they’re YOUR Lions!” Jazz always playing in his office (Which was cluttered with stacks of folders. And to everyone’s amazement, he knew exactly where everything was.), he had such a calm demeanor and put everyone at ease. I worked on a Michelin golf tournament with him. The event was scheduled in Las Vegas and I was young and super excited to go. Joe on the other hand didn’t want to go and declined outright, which didn’t make sense to me. Now, just last month, I had some college buddies try to drag me out to Las Vegas with them. Now that I’m older, I completely see where Joe was coming from and I declined (that city is way too loud and superficial). It made me laugh and think of Joe. He was such an amazing person and absolutely loved by everyone.

  8. Joe you have been so fortunate to have contributed to the greatest era ever of advertising with your creative ability. I am so pleased we developed a relationship of so many dual interests. At our frequent lunches we had many graphic conversations over the ad business. As usual, our stories never ended.
    Your beautiful paintings are hanging on the walls of many Michigan homes.
    You will never be forgotten.

    Your friend,
    Bob Hill

    Bob Hill

  9. Bruce & Karen Pease

    Our Condolences, Prayers and Love to Sue, Ryan, Gerry, Lori and all family at this sad time. What a beautiful tribute to cousin Joe.

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