Robert William “Ducky” Dietz

Robert William “Ducky” Dietz was born in Detroit on February 4, 1934, the sixth out of seven siblings. He died on May 3, 2020 at age 86 after contracting the coronavirus but was suffering with bone cancer and Alzheimer’s at the time of his death—not that he ever lost his quick wit or the twinkle in his eye. He is survived by Carol, his wife of 18 years, his daughter Evanne “Nonny” Dietz (Dan Williams), stepchildren Nikki Lorenz, Leif (Patti) Lorenz and Danielle Lozon, and granddaughter Nadia, as well as two of his sisters, Loann (Donald d.) Less and Patricia Terry, as well as many beloved nephews and nieces. He is predeceased by sister Juan (Donald d.) Brennan and brothers Norman, Jr. (Donna d.), Charles and Gary, and parents Norman, Sr. and Winifred.
Ducky attended Denby High School in Detroit, had a brief but successful professional boxing career in the light heavyweight division (26-5-0, with 22 knockouts), and worked as a millwright at Ford Motor Company at the Sterling plant for 38 years, until he retired in 2003. While Ducky was proud of his boxing career, he was even prouder of the decades he spent coaching boxers at the Cannon Recreation Center.
Ducky was quick with his fists in the ring, especially a powerful left hook, but he was even quicker with a smile or a joke or a helping hand. Ducky was gregarious, loud, loving and generous. He would beat you at pool but then buy you a drink. If you grew up on the east side of Detroit in 1950 or later, you probably have a Ducky Dietz story, or wish you did. Ducky could not walk down the street or through Eastland Mall or in most bars without someone greeting him and he would always have a smile, a handshake, a good wish for them. Ducky will be terribly missed by his family and many friends.
Unfortunately due to safety concerns related to Covid-19, there will be no service scheduled at this time.

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Condolence Messages

  1. I knew that twinkle and he had a smile that could stop traffic. Many many happy memories of your dad. He was proud of you non. Love to all.

  2. Penny Neagos

    So sorry for your loss. I have many wonderful memories of Uncle Ducky. And yes he taught me how to box at Cannon. I was known as Iron Fist at school as I was always protecting my family and friends, thanks to uncle Ducky I could. He will be greatly missed, but will forever live on in my memories. May he Rest In Peace. Love Pen

  3. Ron Carlone Sr

    Ducky was definitely a legend on the Eastside of Detroit. Many stories and great memories. RIP DUCKY

  4. I had the pleasure of having Ducky as a boxing coach in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He was a true friend and will surely be missed. RIP Ducky.

    • Mike Morefield

      I don’t think words can actually describe him. One of the greatest people I’ve ever known

      • Mike Morefield

        Rest In Peace Ducky Always treated me and my family as if we were his family. Love and miss you. God bless you.

  5. Terence Mekoski

    Ducky was a great guy with a big heart. I was honored to have him as a boxing coach and he worked my corner in many of my fights. He will be truly missed. God Bless you Ducky !!!!

  6. Chris Gorence

    Non, so many fond memories of your Dad. Even all the the left hooks he gave me back at Cannon. My earliest memory was we were having a family get together at Aunt Helens and Ducky showed up in a powder blue Thunderbird convertible. He gave the kids rides. He taught me a lot in the boxing gym at Cannon. He had a tremendous positive impact on thousands of youths on the Eastside. His greatest legacy is you. He was so proud of you. RIP Ducky.

  7. John Marchese

    Detroit has lost one of the biggest legend 😢Ducky helped a lot of kids over at cannon and he will truly be missed🙏🇺🇸🙏

  8. KELLY Conway

    Godspeed Duck

  9. My brothers and I took boxing lessons from Ducky at the Cannon Rec Center back in the 70s. What a cool time, and a great guy. So sorry for your loss, may he Rest in Peace.

  10. Jennifer (Grant) Klumpp

    Ducky was my boxing instructor at Cannon when I was a little girl, the only girl in my class. He never treated me any differently from the boys and refused to let the others there treat me differently either. I will always remember him and the lessons about confidence and bravery he taught me.

  11. We lived across the street from the Dietz family when they lived on Chelsea. Ducky was always taking my daughters, along with his daughter Nonny out for fun times. We would sit on our porch and listen to Mr. Dietz play his accordion. May Ducky RIP.

  12. Ducky had the patience like no other. He was everybody’s boxing coach and he was the best. If you screwed around he’d let you know and get you working out. He had a heart of gold. Thanks Ducky for being there for us kids on the eastside of Detroit.

  13. Lisa Highlund

    So sorry for your loss, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.🙏💜

  14. Robert Bivins

    Godspeed Ducky, I’ll remember the lessons you taught me forever

  15. Tom and Kathy McCoy

    Our wishes of peace and serenity go out to Ducky’s family in the knowledge he is with our Lord in a much better place. We’ll see you there Ducky, until then rest essy. With our Deepest Love and Utmost Respect, Fat Boy, Kathy and the McCoys

    • Phillip T Morefield

      Great man,after all the fight talk is done, I’ve never ever heard a bad word said about the man.RIP,my friend

  16. Kevin Wheeler

    Ducky! Thank you. God Speed!
    Much love, always.. rest easy! xo

  17. Lived on Greensboro in Detroit knew Ducky from the neighborhood and friends took boxing up at Cannon but will never forget him super nice but if you weren’t acting right he’d let you know but on a funny note used to help him pick up Goldwing motorcycle tipped over when had a couple to many a Happy Times or in front of Franco’s Hamburger joint RIP Ducky

  18. A great man.

  19. Shawn Gargalino

    I lived on Manistique and Ducky was my neighbor. Tough neighborhood and I was being raised by my grandmother. Ducky got me off the streets and took me to the gym for many years either in his car or on the back of his bike. Treated me like a son. His very last fight he pulled me in the ring with his daughter Noni and we took a picture with the referee holding his hand up. That picture hangs in my gym today. RIP Ducky you are truly my hero!!

  20. Sue Ann Mayle

    My sincerest condolences to you Nonny , all of your family and all of your Dad’s loved ones. Duck was a great guy that I first met in 1977 and was honored to have a close friendship with for many years. He had a wonderful compassionate, generous and loving spirit. You, Nonny were the sparkle in his eye! He was always so proud of his beautiful baby girl. Ducky will always hold a special place in my heart. He was so much fun. My prayers are being said for all of you at this very sad time . May the Good Lord grant you all peace, comfort and strength. Love to you,
    Sue Ann (Boor Hammer) Mayle 🙏🙏💕💕

  21. My condolences to the family and friends of Ducky. I lived next to his children Nonny and Leif and their mother on Audubon in Detroit during our childhood and have so many great memories. My sister Shannon brother Skip send their condolences as well. I would love to connect with Nonny and/or Leif if possible. All my best, Molly

  22. Matt Phillips

    My sincere condolences to the family – especially Evanne – who I remember from St. Matt’s and then UM. Mr. Ducky Dietz was a legend on the Eastside. My Dad talked about him all the time. I knew of his great work bringing focus and discipline to a lot of my friends at Cannon Rec… and then I feared them, because they were tough and skilled. He was always referred to with respect and admiration.

  23. Devereux Hersee

    My deepest condolences to Ducky’s family. My mom was Gail Sims. She was from the East side and dated Ducky when they were both attending Denby. She later met my father and moved to Canada. I never had the opportunity to meet him but grew up listening to stories about him told by my mom, her friends and my cousins. The man was a modern day legend to me.
    It is my most sincere hope that memories of this incredible man will help with the feelings of loss at this sad time.

  24. Jim. Orzechowski

    I’m very sorry for your loss he was a great man and person I learned to fight from him he shared stories with us who would stay after closing and exercising I have been rocked by him and proud to lol I ran into him a long while ago at the bar we sat talked and drank it was great I thanked him for what he taught me and he thank me for being their he will be truly missed.

  25. Terri Azar-Francis

    What a great man Uncle Ducky was. He always was so kind to me and was more like an uncle. Taking me on trips with his family and lots of fun times. Always remember his kindness to me and will always have great memories of all the family get togethers and seeing uncle Ducky. Thank you Uncle.Ducky for always being there with a smile a laugh an extra hand. R.I.P. Uncle Ducky. Love Terri Azar-Francis

  26. Remember him very well!! Good guy!! Took ‘Boxing’ lessons from him at Cannon Rec for many years! Always ‘protected’ us when we were at Detroit Recreation Boxing Tournaments at Kronk & Brewster Rec Centers!! “NOBODY” Messed with Ducky! He had quite the “Rep” around Derroit in the late 50’s and early 60’s!! Thru the 70’s I heard. Very good Boxer in and around the State and Mid-West. “Fearless!”
    “RIP Ducky!”

  27. Was introduced to Uncle Ducky back in the early 50’s. He was older than me but I hung around with his friends from Denby! I remember one time some other kids wanted to ” rumble” with us. We were supposed to meet them in a parking lot. We told Ducky about it. And he said not to worry. That night came and who was there you got it, Ducky! Needless to say the other other team heard that he was there and never showed up! Thank you Ducky! May you RIP!

  28. Michael Pellerito

    I am saddened by the news of Ducky’s passing. I grew up on the eastside and trained at Cannon Rec when I was in my early teens. Ducky was a great guy. One of those people that even if in your life for a moment, made an impression that stays with you the rest of your life. He and my father knew each other from when they were young and hanging around the old neighborhood. My condolences and prayers are with the family.

  29. Met Uncle Ducky back in the early 50’s. He was older than me but I hung around with some of his friends from Denby. We ran into some kids that wanted to “rumble” with the guys in our group! They were suppose to meet at a parking lot. One of our guys told Ducky about it. When we went to the “meeting place” we waited and waited and the other guys never showed up! They had heard Ducky was going to be there!! Thanks Ducky! RIP!

  30. Patrick Carson

    Good Good Man,

  31. I met Ducky in 1989 when I bartended part time at Escapade. In 2007 he and his wife would come to where I worked afternoons and, only after she finished her homework, he would teach my eight-year-old daughter how to play pool. He made her feel that she could accomplish anything. He was a good man with a great heart.

  32. Jane Birch Duffy

    Evanne, I am so sorry that you lost your dad. I have good memories of him- such a fun, sweet and handsome man. I remember he and my dad would spar with words. My dad was fond of him. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  33. Sending strength and prayers to the entire family. May you find comfort in the love of family and friends at this difficult time.

  34. Ducky was my coworker at Ford. He was a great mentor and taught me a lot. I was also privileged to call him a friend. I have never met someone so selfless, kind and generous! He would always be so positive and gave me some great life advice while we were partners. The one thing he never stopped talking about was his daughter. He had boxing stories of course, but she was always his biggest source of pride and joy. I heard many times of the great day he shared with her while she was younger and he had someone videotape the whole day. What a wonderful day that was for you both! He was especially happy to have shared that day with her. I’m sorry to have lost contact with him and so sad to hear he passed. He will be missed by so many! My deepest condolences to his family. I wish you all my family’s deepest sympathy

  35. So sorry for your loss,I use to cut Ducky and Carol’s hair at Vincent’s Hair Salon a while back. Ducky always had a smile that would brighten the room, I loved listening to his stories. He was always helping friends and family. He will be missed, prayers sent to the family.

  36. John and Laurie gorence

    Ducky was a great man I learned anything from him my fondest memory sitting around having dinner with him after his house got broken in and seeing all his pictures boxing with Lou duva and hearing all the stories I was early boxing days also many fond memories at the Escapade bar playing pool watching ducky be ducky my thoughts and prayers go out to you none and Nadia Leaf Nikki we all grew up together the great times it’s sad to toes after go away are we still have the memories all our love Lori and John you need anything let us know always be in our prayers

  37. John and Laurie gorence

    My deepest and sympathetic condolences you and your family stuck in this great guy Class Act have so many great memories and experiences with him to too many to mention I was fortunate in it enough sit down with him I never cooked meal Italian spaghetti dinner that he made and hear all the stories of his boxing career and look at many of the pictures he had boxes it was a great night he will be dearly missed definitely a legacy of the Eastside of Detroit always in our prayers all our love

  38. I new Ducky real well. I played soft ball with him from Fords. We had many good times together. He was a really nice guy to know and hang out will. RIP Ducky
    My condolences to his family.
    Sincerely Don Wonch

  39. So sorry to hear of Ducky’s passing. I met him back in the 1970’s when I was bartending. He was a “star” in every sense of the word. Everywhere he went he was well-known. I remember seeing him at (then called) Metro Beach, he would be there most every day to run on the point. He usually came out there on his big motorcycle. Always a pleasure to see him, an all-around nice guy with a heart of gold! He will surely be missed.

  40. May God open his arms to welcome “Ducky” !! Jim Julien from the old days!

  41. George Rastelli

    We we’re the Italian family that lived across the street from his parents house Ducky was always there with his brothers Chuck and Gary I’ll never forget when I was about 8 years old he got tickets for my parents and I to go watch him fight and win, after the fight we got see him right away and he picked me up into his arms and somebody took a picture with Ducky holding me, my mother still has that picture hanging on the fridge.

  42. I met Ducky as my boxing instructor at Cannon Rec. back in about 1979 when I was 11 or 12. He paired me up with the Silver Gloves Champion of the same age that he trained to be the Amateur Champ in the 11-12 year old class. I knew then I was taught by the best instructor. He taught me great form and how to throw a hook with power. I never boxed in the ring but what Ducky taught me did save my life when I joined the Army at 17 and was cornered by bigger bullies in several incidents and stragled in another while sleeping in Basic Training. I credit Ducky fully for being alive today and teaching me the boxing skills I needed to protect myself. Ducky was great with kids.
    For the past couple weeks I had been thinking about Ducky, the boxing and life skills he taught me and wondering how he was after all these years. Then after thinking about Ducky a lot the past couple weeks I had to ask my dad about Ducky. They were from the same neighborhood. It was strange to be thinking about Ducky and how important his boxing lessons were out of the blue these past couple weeks before I knew he passed.
    Ducky you contributed more to the youth and people of Metro Detroit than just about anyone else from this city. You will be deeply missed but never forgotten or appreciated. Thank you for everything you taught me…

  43. I am Jim Schneider’s Daughter Pam. Growing up I considered Ducky as Uncle Ducky. He and my father boxed together at Cannon and they became fast loyal friends. He was always bbq ing at my house and all of us kids hung all over him and played with him. We couldn’t wait to see him every weekend.
    RIP my family friend and Uncle to us kids!! See you on the other side. I’m sure your boxing with my Dad already!! 🙏🥊❤

  44. George J Saady

    Started taking boxing lessons from Ducky around 1958. I was drafted into the U.S. Marines in 1966 where Ducky’s training came in very handy. After the Marines I went back to Cannon rec. and stayed with it for over 30 years and would help out Ducky many times thru the years and became close to the guy who taught me to stand up to bullies.
    My boxing coach and friend. God Bless you Ducky,
    George Saady

  45. I am sorry for your loss, I met Ducky once along with his brother Chuck, my dad and his brother ( Richard and Jim Schneider ) were both Eastside boys that used to rule the streets and then Ducky got ahold of them, especially my Uncle Jim which Ducky said had a boxing style and Richard was the Street Fighter. He was a nice man.

  46. So sad to hear. Was thinking about him today and that jab jab left hook combo he beat into my head at cannon…. I get it now ima lefty….. God Bless you Ducky and Family….

  47. Many condolences from your sis Laurie

  48. Mini condolences from Laurie your sis

  49. Mini condolences from Judy’s daughter Lori

  50. I am so sorry for your loss. I was Ducky’s partner at Ford when he retired. I have so many fond memories of him. He was so generous and easy going with everyone. He taught me so much and was a great friend. The one thing I remember most was how proud he was of his daughter. She was very dear to him and he would tell me about the time he had someone follow you two around for the day on her birthday one year. I’ve looked for Ducky many times after we lost contact but could never find any info. This is sept, 2023. I was wondering and googled him to see this. Again I’m so sorry. He is missed and stories and memories of him still float around the shop (I’m still working at Ford)

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