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Obituary: Dillon Ptaszek

By |2013-09-26T09:00:00-04:00September 26th, 2013|Michigan, News|

Dillon Ptaszek, left, with partner Chris Kitley. Photo courtesy of Chris Kitley

Dec. 13, 1987 – Sept. 13, 2013

Dillon Ptaszek, 25, was killed instantly in a one-car rollover accident Sept. 13 on I94 west of Ann Arbor. He was a graduate of Ypsilanti High School and held a degree in marine biology from the University of New England and worked at Fish Doctors in Ann Arbor. He is survived by his life partner Chris Kitley, parents Mark Ptaszek (father), Deborah Pippins, Deborah Pearson (mother), Jim Hadden, his sister Alexis Hollis (Ptaszek) and her husband Luke, his brother Harrison Ptaszek, his grandmother Jane Pearson, step-grandparents Charlie and Maggie Brown, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Kitley, his partner of six years and owner of AG chocolates, delivered the following eulogy at the funeral Sept. 17:
Dillon and I came together though our love of fish. I was explaining an issue I was having with my saltwater tank to him at Fish Doctors. He offered to come over to my house and give me advice. From that night forward, we quickly realized we belonged together. Our relationship happened quickly, and within a few weeks there no doubt that we loved each other very much. Right from the beginning I couldn’t see what he saw in me, or how I would deserve such a special person in my life. I expressed this to Dillon many times, and he would always toss it back to me, and say that he was the lucky one. We had this conversation many times throughout our relationship, and it’s one argument I don’t think he could win.
We soon learned that our deep love for each other was something we could not contain, and we wanted to share our love for one another with our family and friends.
On one of the many cards that Dillon gave me it included a quote by Jim Morrison that he said made him think of me.
“Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to, letting a person be what he really is.”
Dillon said that I always made him feel that he could be who he was and that he hoped he could do the same for me, and he did. This was the very foundation of our relationship. Although we had different talents, we loved spending time together, and Dillon opened my eyes to so many different things. He was even willing to put up with my disc golf skills. We enjoyed many concerts, vacations, skating and bike riding on trails together, Dillon helped me with chocolates, and chocolate events. What was important was that we were together. Dillon even wrote in a card to me that I had given him a sense of completeness that he had never felt before, and that feeling was mutual.
With the recent developments of more and more states legalizing gay marriage, we had talked about marriage several times. A couple of weeks ago, we talked about us getting married, and I said, “When was this going to happen?” and he said, “Well, I haven’t been proposed to yet.” I asked, “Well, in this type of relationship, who proposes to who?” and he quickly replied, “Well, I guess you have to propose to me, because I can’t afford the rings.”
Our goal was to move to Maine together, where he could be able to work in his field, and I would open my first chocolate shop.
I am deeply grateful to have had Dillon as my partner, and my best friend. Because of what a true friend he was in life to everyone, I am also deeply grateful for the love and acceptance that all of his friends and family has given us.
On our 5th anniversary, Dillon gave me a beautiful handcrafted box with a quote carved on it. The quote reads: “Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.” Dillon, I guess I need to finally learn how to dance.

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.
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