John B. Carlin Jr, born July 28, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, passed away peacefully on March 30, 2018 in Orchard Lake, Michigan.
John lived a life dedicated to his passions - his law practice, community involvement, philanthropy, his unwavering faith, and - most importantly and thoroughly - his family.
To say John was an overachiever is an understatement. He graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1958 and Saint Joseph’s College in 1962. After graduating from the University of Detroit Mercy Law School in 1965, John built a prestigious law career spanning 52 years. In that time, John represented and was counsel to many of the national chain restaurants that are now in Michigan, all of Michigan’s major sports venues, many hotel chains, and many local units of government. But perhaps his greatest joy was the fact that he represented literally hundreds of family-owned restaurants and bars and the opportunity that provided for all of those families to realize their dream. John retired just this January from his own firm, Carlin, Edwards & Brown. He will be remembered as an icon and renowned trailblazer in liquor law and his legacy in the Detroit restaurant scene is far-reaching.
John worked as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit from 1965-1968. He was then secretary to the Board of Fire Commissioners for the Detroit Fire Department from 1970-1972, which supplied him with not only a civic duty but many colorful stories to tell his children over the years. John also knew that success was not simply defined by accolades and awards but by helping others and building genuine relationships. This is why the name John B. Carlin is met with respect, admiration, and gratitude.
John valued community involvement and those communities John was a part of are better because of him. He served on the Orchard Lake Village council from 1981 - 1987 and as mayor for the city of Orchard Lake Village from 1982-1983 and 1986-87, a community he lived in for 43 years. He created the non-profit Feed the Need, which he helped run from 2011-2017. He served for many years on the Board of Michigan Restaurant Association for which he is now recognized as an emeritus board member in perpetuity. He was on the board of trustees for CATCH (Caring Athletes Team for Children’s & Henry Ford Hospitals). He was also involved with the Board of Governors at Orchard Lake Country Club, including serving as president. John served on the Oakhurst Golf and Country Club board as well as the Otsego Ski Club board, where he spent nearly every winter weekend with his family at their cabin in Gaylord. He was also passionate about his involvement in The Beaumont Foundation of William Beaumont Hospital where he served on their Board of Directors from 2002-2017.
But more than all of this, John’s greatest pleasures were quite simple; watching the sun set on Cass Lake with Jane and a glass of wine. His love and influence lives on in the hearts of all who loved him, especially his family.