1927 - 2020

Charles Porretta, M.D. (S ’53, OR ’57)

Charles Anthony Porretta, M.D., 93, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Saturday, November 7, 2020 at home.

Dr. Porretta was born on September 11, 1927, in Detroit, Michigan. He was the son of Dr. Francis and Clara (Gehringer) Porretta. He attended St. Luke’s Grade School in Detroit and was a proud graduate of Detroit Catholic Central High School. He graduated from the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Medical School in 1951.

While at U of M, he met the love of his life, Ruth Elaine Hilferink, on a blind date and married her in 1950. For over seventy years they were devoted to each other, raised a large family, and supported each other through sickness and health.

In 1952, he began his specialty training in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In 1953, he was drafted into the United States Army and served at Fort Dix, New Jersey and Murphy Army Hospital in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Upon his discharge in 1955, he returned to the Mayo Clinic to complete his training. In 1957, he moved his growing family to Detroit, Michigan where he began his practice as an orthopaedic surgeon. He was on staff at Providence Hospital (where his father and, eventually his brother, George, practiced) and also at Mt. Carmel Mercy Hospital in Detroit.

While in practice, he kept his fees low and often provided care to those in need without charge. His patients would wait hours to see him, because they knew when it was their turn, he would take his time and listen. In 1995, after a thirty- eight year career in medicine, Dr. Porretta retired from practice. In his honor, his partners renamed the practice The Porretta Center for Orthopaedic Surgery.

His family, friends, and everyone with whom he came in contact knew him not only as a talented surgeon but as a gentle, honest, compassionate and generous man with a great sense of humor. He was a true and timeless role model for all.

Dr. Porretta was an avid golfer and a member of the Detroit Golf Club for many years. He was a devout member of Gesu Parish in Detroit and St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills and lived his faith which was of the utmost importance to him.

Charles Porretta is survived by his beloved wife, Ruth Hilferink Porretta, Bloomfield Hills, MI and by his devoted children: Catherine (Thomas) Pasquale, Manchester, NJ; Frank Porretta, Ortonville, MI, Mary Clare (Michael) Porretta- Passera, Imlay City, MI; Philip Porretta (Joanné), Howell, MI; Juliana (Thomas) Clements, Alpharetta, GA; George (Mary) Porretta, Troy, MI; and Regina (Scott) Brun, Green Oaks, IL.

He is survived by twenty grandchildren: Clare Smith, NJ; Carla Karp, NJ; Cate Leckrone, MD; Stephanie Owens, MI; Tony Porretta, MI; Whitney Antilla, GA; Hayley Dodd, MI; Dante Passera, NC; Mario Passera, NC; Charles Porretta, MI; Caitlin Porretta, NY; Natalie Porretta, CA; Kristen Clements, GA; Carolyn Hughes, GA; Thomas Clements, GA; Lauren Clements, GA; Elena Porretta, MI; Regina Porretta, MI; Matthew Brun, IL; Juliana Brun, IL.

Also by twenty-five great-grandchildren: Andrew, Norah, Samuel, Vivian, Tessa, Aubrey, Anna, Grace, Sarah, Rachel, Jonathan, Benjamin, Dominic, Malin, Freya, Arlo, Maren, James, Vincent, Zachary, Robert, Annamarie, Felicity, Joseph, and Noah. He is also survived by a myriad of nieces and nephews as well as several close friends who loved him dearly.

He was predeceased by his parents, Frank and Clara, his brothers and sisters-in- law, George Porretta, M.D. and wife, Ann, and Francis Porretta, Jr. and wife, Roberta, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Hubert Hilferink and wife Janet, as well as by his daughter, Mary Jennifer Porretta, and by his granddaughter, Angela Porretta Miller.

Family will receive friends Sunday, November 22, 2020 from 1-5pm at A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward Ave. (btwn 13-14 Mile), Royal Oak. (248) 549-0500.

Funeral Mass Monday, November 23, 2020, 10am at St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church, 2215 Opdyke Rd., Bloomfield Hills.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Detroit Catholic Central High School or Michigan Right to Life – Education Fund in memory of Charles A. Porretta.