Through the Portal of Death


Myron Poe
Iroquois Club
(Oct. 24, 2023)




Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the celebration of the life and times of Myron Poe, Esquire. Jeffrey Poe… thank you for allowing me to tell your Father’s story.

And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on a carousel of time
We can’t return…. We can only look
Behind from where we came…
And go round and round and round
In the Circle Game

Joannie Mitchell wrote Circle Game in 1966… the same year Myron and I began our studies at the University of Detroit Law School (established by the Jesuits in 1912). I was 23 in 1966 when I met 35-year-old Myron Poe. Now, 57 years later… Myron has come full circle in the Circle Game and in the Circle of Life. Goodbye my dear, 92-year-old friend, Myron Poe. God bless your next journey.

The Woodward Ave Kid

Born and raised in Highland Park, Michigan, Myron grew up in the era of the 1930s Great Depression… those “oh so tough” times that brought grown men to their knees and crippled the world economy. The same 1930s era of the Dust Bowl that inspired John Steinbeck’s novel, Grapes of Wrath… with its main character, Tom Joad (like Myron… a fighter and a voice for the voiceless) saying goodbye to his Mother, and heading out “On the Road” (Jack Kerouac) to put distance between himself and the cops…

“You don’t aim to kill nobody, Tom ?”
“No. I been thinkin’, long as I’m an outlaw anyways maybe I could–
Hell, I ain’t thought it out clear, Ma. Don’ worry me now. Don’ worry me.”
They sat silent in the coal-black cave of vines.
Ma said… “How’m I gonna know about you ?
They might kill ya, an’ I wouldn’ know.
They might hurt ya. How am’ I gonna know ?”
Tom laughed uneasily,
“Well, maybe like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own,
But on’y a piece of a big one— an’ then—”
“Then what, Tom ?”
“Then it don’ matter. I’ll be all aroun’ in the dark.
I’ll be ever’ where you look.
Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there.
Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there.
I’ll be in the way guys yell when there mad,
An’—I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry,
an’ they know suppers ready.
An when our folks eat the stuff they raise,
an’ live in the houses they build—
Why, I’ll be there, Ma.”
(Steinbeck… Grapes of Wrath)

Such were the challenges of life in the 1930s when Myron Poe came to be… an overwhelming financial struggle, shrouded in unremitting misery, depression, hunger and the scarcity of the Great Depression… with the world marching in lockstep toward the inevitable cliff of Nazi mobilization and World War Two.

They don’t call the Greatest Generation the “Greatest” for nothing. That generation knew first-hand… the “hard times” circling around their cabin door. Hard Times Come Again No More.

Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears
Oh, hard times, come again no more
Tis the song, the sigh of the weary
Hard times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door
Oh, hard times, come again no more.
Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh! Hard Times, come again no more.
(Hard Times Come Again No More, Stephen Foster… 1854 )

You talk about growing up fast with no childhood in between. It took the strength of the Greatest Generation to survive each day and overcome… just to, eventually, prosper decades later. That was Myron Poe. He moved out of his family home to live in the Highland Park YMCA, still just a kid, although a courageous, self-reliant, and independent kid… a kid whose childhood ran out long before its time. You could write a better story of childhood for Myron and his generation, but life takes us… well… where life takes us. The frivolity and innocence of childhood was not in the cards for guys like Tom Joad or Myron Poe, born, as they were… into the quick moving maelstrom of a world and a family begotten from a dysfunction, not of their own making, nor of their own choosing. 

Growing up, Myron ran the streets of Highland Park on the Woodward Avenue corridor… north and south of Davidson Ave (before Davidson became America’s first “urban” freeway). One of young Myron’s running buddies was Daniel Ellsberg… he of the Pentagon Papers fame, he who finally put an end to the Vietnam War by exposing the lies our government had been indoctrinating us with all along… while the body bags of our American soldiers kept coming home in transport plane, after plane, after plane. “Ironically,” Daniel Ellsberg also died at age 92, four months before Myron. Rest in peace you two warrior friends who ran Woodward Ave in your youth, fought the good fight in your adolescence and ran the good race for 92 years… each of you daring to forge ahead “not where the path lead, but courageously staking out on your own trail.” (Paraphrasing, Muriel Strode, often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson).

More Irony ??? Myron was a pilot, flying off on his own aircraft here, there, and everywhere. But, Myron was not a world adventurer. He was really a “stay at home” guy… the Woodward Ave kid. After Myron finished with the Highland Park–Woodward, Davidson Ave corridor of his youth, he prospered professionally as a Lawyer and real estate Broker in a Woodward Ave office in Royal Oak, five miles north of where he grew up. Now, here we are today, all these decades later, paying our respects and celebrating Myron’s life at the Iroquois Club, another five miles north on Woodard Ave in upscale Bloomfield Hills, a stone’s throw from Highland Park, but… for Myron a long, arduous and improbable journey from a kid of scarcity and survival to an adult of financial security and abundance. 

Let’s hear it for the Woodward Avenue Kid … the kid of insatiable curiosity, born with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, Law and Justice in the American way. Maybe, we should put Myron’s ashes into the tailpipe of his car and drive up and down (Territorial Judge) Augustus Woodward’s spoke, aka Woodward Avenue… while we all sing Bob Dylan’s 1963 hit Blown in the Wind (from the album, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan meets the Free flyin’ Myron Poe). Let us scatter Myron’s ashes… over and into all his old haunts, up and down the Woodward Avenue corridor. Don’t worry about the permit, your Honor. We are on a mission of remembrance of a life of purpose, well lived… in the shadow of struggle and heartache overcome. We shall overcome” (the Civil Rights National Anthem of the 1960s) was Myron’s middle name..

Where did you go… Myron Poe ???

Ah yes, the unanswerable question, or, maybe, only “unanswerable” for those of us who like to separate out mere “beliefs” from actual “proofs”… as Myron and I were wont to do (by virtue of our Courtroom training). The thousands’ year-old question, my daughter Jessie Valentine Lauck asked when she was three, “Papa, where do I go when you turn the lights off” ??? Well, where do any of us go, Jessie ??? Where do any of us go when we do a vanishing act on the midnight train and disappear… as our life on Earth falls silent and evaporates into The Still of the Night ??? (Fred Paris and the Five Satins). 

I hear Myron answering that question for us. Oh, “I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and danced the skies on silverlaughter wings… and done a thousand things you have not dreamed of” (High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr). I have been freed… free, free, free at last” !!!

“Draw near and you shall hear where I now appear.

  • I am part of our Universe that “Big Banged” into existence from a densely compressed speck of dust, 13.7 billion years ago… a Universe that 13.7 billion years later is still exploding upwards and expanding outwards into the vastness and immeasurability of space.
  • I am in the untold, “parallel Universes”… 0bscured from human view and hidden in plain sight in the unknown 4th 5th and 6th dimensions of time and space that lie beyond the comprehension and present vision of humanity.
  • I am in the “energy” of the billion stars within our Milky Way galaxy, one of a billion galaxies… each with its own billions of stars.
  • I am in a single drop of rain.
  • In a single grain of sand.
  • In the deafening silence of a slowly approaching snowstorm which (as Carl Sandburg tells us)… creeps up on “little cat feet.”
  • I am in the powerful motion of the waves that relentlessly throw themselves at the shore in an endless to and fro rhythm of high tides and ebb tides, all dictated by the pull of the moon’s gravity.
  • Touch me in the Winter torrent of gusty winds and in the refreshing breezes of Summer.
  • Hear me in the roaring clash of rolling thunder.
  • See me in the reflection in the eyes of our children and their trusty pets.
  • Embrace me… in the universal language of humor and in the ebullient, bubbling-up laughter, shared in the family kitchens of Winter and on the family porches of Summer… entertainment venues for the poor and middle class.


“Stop, look, and quietly listen. See me, touch me, hear me and feel my presence as I see you, touch you, hear you and feel your presence… in our still exploding and ever expanding Universe, in the energy of our Sun, in the cloudy whiteness of our Milky Way, in the flickering constellations of twilight and dawn just above the horizon, in the seasons of constant sorrow and eternal laughter, in the ebb and flow of the tides, in the atoms of our existence, in the subconscious of our humanity, in the winds that huff and puff and blow down upon us, and then suddenly retreat and return again to the place from whence they came, according to their currents (Ecclesiastics). I am in the thunderous power of nature. I am in the tempest of teapots. I am in the universal storms of human emotion that buffet humanity and that challenge every life of every form… from the largest to the smallest, from the seen to the unseen and back again.

“I passed into the portal of life in 1931 and now I pass through the portal of death in 2023. After 92 years, I have been freed from the pain of gravity. I am now aloft in high flight and left to soar according to my own currents, whims and curiosities, while, at the same time… I am forever entwined in the ‘subconscious’ of our common humanity, and will be forever connected to all of you who wait to join me… on another day, in another time, when… 

We shall walk and talk
In gardens all misty wet with rain
And we will never, never, never

Grow so old again
(Irish singer, Van Morrison… Sweet Thing)

… to be born again in another place, at another time, under a different sign.

“You will see my (English, Bulgarian) spirit in all of God’s children across the globe. You will see me in the European, in the Native American, in the White race, the Black race, the Brown race, the Asian, the Arab, the Jew, the Christian, the Muslim, the Sikh, the Palestinian, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Rastafarian, the Atheist, and in all those whose skin color and religion I do not know or comprehend. Or, as in the 9th Beatitude that (was not) but should have been written… in resplendent empathy, ‘Blessed are those who have not suffered, but understand the plight of those who have.’

“I am a ‘Child of God’ first, and a member of some religious organization second. I am a ‘Citizen of the World’ first and a member of some ‘patriotic postage stamp’ of land second. My universality allows me to see myself in all the world’s inhabitants. And (hopefully) they see themselves in me… as I gently extend my hand and say unto them, ‘May the peace of Jesus, Gandhi, Mandela, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and the rest of the non-violent Universe be with you, all of yours and me and all of mine… knowing we are all part of the same God, the same humanity, the same circle of life, the same Golden Rule of ‘doing unto one another’ and the same Circle Game. ” 

And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on a carousel of time

We can’t return…. We can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the Circle Game

Universality of Humanity…

Myron’s office on the west side of Woodward near the Detroit Zoo had a rotating sign on the top of his Poe building… one side proclaiming Myron the Real Estate Broker and the other, Myron the Lawyer. But… not enough signs to adequately describe Myron the Man. We need more signs for Myron… “The Man for All Seasons.”

  • We need a sign to express Myron’s “courage”… the man of unquenchable curiosity who had the “courage” to go back to school at age 35, reinvent himself as a Lawyer and take the “road less travelled.” (Robert Frost).
  • We need a sign to express Myron’s “live and let live” non moral judgment personality. Juries must judge the Justice of each cause. Parents, their children’s friends. Creditors, their would-be debtors. But, to pass judgment on the “morality” of others for the sake of morality alone… was not Myron Poe. Case in point. “Live and let live” Myron Poe felt no need to pass judgment on LGBTQ, nor on anyone’s same-sex marriage nor on any other issue surrounding the “subjective” morality of others. Myron was not a right-wing cultural warrior nor a judgmental man of condemnation, judging the supposed “sins” of others. Myron joined with Jesuit Pope, Francis in asserting… “Let God Judge.” Myron and I both joined with our Law School Professor, Alan Sultan, in 1966, when Professor Sultan asked our class… “What right does anyone in this class have to complain about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms” ??? Indefensible logic, no ??? Undeniable point… well expressed and well taken.
  • We need a sign to express Myron’s “humility.” Myron was confident of his abilities in and out of the Courtroom. Yet, he had the humility the poet, Rudyard Kipling, spoke of in
    his poem, IF

If you can talk with crowds,
And keep your virtue
Or walk with kings—
Nor lose the common touch


  • We need a sign for the hallmark of Myron’s character… “Humanity.” Ever the Champion of the Underdog and ever the voice of the voiceless, the hallmark and trademark of Myron’s heart, soul, wit, and spirit was inextricably tied to Myron’s tough and challenging childhood… in a household that struggled in the search for equanimity. That early struggle left Myron with a lifelong gift… an enviable and admired “evenness of disposition under stress.”


Those are the multifaceted signs that belong atop Myron’s Woodward Ave building… the signs of character and integrity that truly describe the dimensions of our man Myron who
recently left town on the midnight train.

Universality of Love

Lot of electricity to light up and turn those signs, you say ??? Not really. As the Corinthians tells us, Myron’s multi-faceted sign is empowered by the “Universality of Love”… not electricity nor any other short-term emotion.

Love is patient, love is kind
Love does not envy nor boast
Love is not proud
Love is not rude
Love is not self-seeking
Love is not easily angered

It keeps no record of wrongs
It does not delight in evil
It rejoices in Truth
It always protects, always trusts
Always hopes, always perseveres,
And never fails.

The Universal Trial Lawyer

May you well rest,
my long-loved friend,
And toward your memory,
may our hearts always bend
… Like the Arc of Justice
You always sought to defend

A man of unerring skill…
Your shoulder to the windmill
You challenged the Power of Might
With the brightness of Light
Heralding in the Justice of “Right” …
Until the buffeting wind, grinned… and stood still

Your Legacy ???

Clients, beset by the cyclone of the unknown
Where Justice delayed is Justice stoned
You ministered to the souls of the frightened
Those whose lives you brighten
Giving reassuring peace to the tempest tossed…
And others lost… in the thicket of the Law’s holocaust

Your memory ???

Touched by an admirable lack of Vanity
Coupled with a steadfast love of Humanity
You stood seven feet tall for almost a Century
And shared with us the tapestry…
Of your unpretentious Destiny

Fred Lauck… Myron Poe’s friend of 67 years



Fred Lauck
Copyrighted 2023