Jacob Sobieraj

A memorial mass is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, at St. Ambrose Church in Grosse Pointe Park for longtime Detroit-area attorney Jacob Sobieraj, who died last month at the age of 89.

Sobieraj, who served as attorney for the Polish Consulate in the Midwest, was a confidant to several Detroit mayors, among them Coleman Young, Roman Gribbs, and Jerome Cavanaugh.

"Not only was he a skilled attorney but he was an advocate with the heart of a giant," said Gribbs upon learning of Sobieraj's death.

After enlisting in the Navy and serving in World War II, Sobieraj attended the University of Detroit Law School. He worked many jobs while in school, according to friends and relatives, which included helping his father-in-law fill bags of roasted peanuts to sell during Detroit Tigers games played at Briggs Stadium.

After briefly running his own practice in Detroit's Delray section, Sobieraj joined forces with law school friend Richard Michael and the practiced together in the Warrendale area for more than 40 years.

During the last decade of working together, Sobieraj and Michael moved their office to St. Mary Hospital in Livonia. Later, Sobieraj returned to private practice in Livonia.

Fluent in the Polish language, Sobieraj was named the attorney for the Polish Consulate in the Midwest region and frequently traveled to Poland to settle estates. He was honored by the Polish government for his work.

Sobieraj was a strong supporter of the city of Detroit, relatives said, and owned numerous businesses such as Grand Belt Flower Shop, Cafe GiGi and a bar on Warren Avenue called The Pub.

He was a long-standing member of the Polish Advocates Society and the Polish Festival Committee and was responsible for the establishment of the Polish Room at Wayne State University.

Husband of the late Heliadore, Sobieraj is survived by five children, a brother and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A memorial visitation will be held on today from 1-9 p.m. at Sajewski Funeral Home, 19111 W. Warren in Detroit.

Mass on Saturday, which will be followed by a "Polish Feast," will begin at 11 a.m. at St. Ambrose Church, 15020 Hampton in Grosse Pointe Park.

Published: Fri, Oct 7, 2011