Thursday, March 18, 2021

Communities mourn death of Sam Messina, 80

Salvatore “Sam” Messina
The death of Salvatore Antonio “Sam” Messina, the former long-time owner of The Courthouse Grill restaurant in Plymouth, is being mourned throughout the community.

Mr. Messina, 80, of Northville, died March 5, 2021 following a stroke.

He was born in Detroit on Feb. 21, 1941, to parents Antonino and Carrie (Yannello) Messina

Mr. Messina was renown throughout the area for his gentle charm and hospitality at 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, Mr. Messina served as director of investor relations for Chrysler Corp. 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. 

Mr. Messina also gave generously of his time and served on several boards and foundations in the community. He was a founding partner and treasurer for Keller Williams Realty Professionals in Plymouth and Brighton. 

He was a friend and patron of the arts and charitable causes and loved sharing a 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, his family recalled. 

Mr. Messina 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, his family remembered.

Mr. Messina is survived by his daughters, Kari (Eric) Dahlquist and Terese (Randy Cass) Messina; grandsons, William and Andrew Dahlquist; siblings, Louis and Rose Messina, and many nieces, nephews and cousins, along with a multitude of friends.

He is also survived by his former wife Diane Lendzon. He was preceded in death by his partner Carolyn Anulewicz and by his brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Florence Messina.

Final arrangements were entrusted to the Schrader Howell Funeral Home in downtown Plymouth. 

Those who wish to honor the memory of Mr. 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.