Obituaries are updated regularly and archived on JN Online:
A Life Of Friendship
SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
and swimmer. He set a school record
as a track runner at West Hills Middle
School in West Bloomfield. A starting
or more than three days, the forward in this summer's 13- and 14-
Walnut Lake beachfront was year-old JCC Maccabi Youth Gaines
crowded with those await-
basketball team, he had begun to prac-
ing the recovery, of the body
tice for the August competition in
of the best kind of friend, Zachary M.
Talan Edelson, who drowned June 29.
"He was willing to do the dirty
Zachary, who turned 14 two days
work and rebound and scuffle," said
before his death, "was one of those
his coach, Barry Bershad of
people everyone loved to have
Southfield. "He was .a really nice kid
around," said his mother, Wendy
with a big personality, willing to do
Zachary M. Talan Edelson
Talan of West Bloomfield. "He could
anything to help the team."
intermingle with anyone of any age."
In addition to being a sports enthu-
friends laugh," Zach's father said.
The younger brother of Jeff, 19, and siast, Zach had an aptitude for num-
Zach loved to be around his family
Brad, 17, Zachary was often with
bers and a love of poker. At his July 4
and was close with his brothers. "They
older kids. "From the time he was 3
funeral, his father, Alan Edelson of
never fought," said their mother. "But
years old," said his mother, "I'd be
West Bloomfield, recounted a special,
if there was dissension, Zach was
tearing down the street because - he was symbolic game played the night before
always the mediator — at home and
riding along on his Big Wheel, trying
in Zach's memory that included
with his friends."
to keep up with his brothers."
Edelson, Zach's brothers and his dad's
His arbitration skills and love of
Zachary's cousin, 16-year-old Adam
eight poker buddies.
sports combined in his job as a soccer
Talan Jacob, remembers a connection
"Even though the chair set up for
that surpassed even family. In a letter
Zach was empty, at the end of the
This summer, Zach worked to com-
Adam wrote to Zach - after he died, he
game Zach had all the chips," Edelson
plete a volunteer program at a special
said: "You were my cousin, but that
education camp to fulfill a high school
doesn't begin to explain our relation-
graduation requirement at Bloomfield
`He Just Got It'
ship and the love I have for you. You
Hills Andover High School. He would
were my best friend, my buddy, my
"He was born with radar," said his
have been in ninth grade this fall.
companion, my amigo and so much
mom. "He just always 'got it.' He was
more. I was always proud to go in
very, very bright — a quick study.
Family And Friends' Support
front of your friends and say that I am
Everything made sense to him. His
At Zach's funeral, Rabbi Paul Yedwab
perception and insight allowed him to
of Temple Israel spoke to "the scores
Wendy Talan said, "Zachary was
make good decisions."
of people who flocked to the beach
either your friend or your best friend.
She described him as "extremely
day after day after day after day and
This was obvious in looking at those
warm and sensitive" with "a big, lov-
into every night, to be there for Zach
who came to the lake — some of
and for his family."
them at 6 a.m. — and couldn't tear
"He knew how to be self-sufficient
"All his friends came to the lake,"
themselves away. Even the older boys'
and take care of himself, but he also
said Sarah Futernick. "They came
friends were there. Zach surrounded
wanted to take care of others," his
home from camp and vacation to be
himself with really good people and
there. Even his
grade teacher was
kept them close to his heart."
Confident, self-assured and at ease
"He was friends with everyone," said with himself, his mother said, Zach
Prayer services were held by both
Sarah Futernick, 14, of West
was content to be alone, watching
West Bloomfield Township Fire
Bloomfield, Zach's friend since they
sports on TV or sitting with his
Department Chaplain Pat Thompson
were in preschool together. "He was
beloved dog, Cooper. "But if fun
and the many rabbis who knew Zach.
just as good friends with my parents as came, he loved to go," she said.
Zach drowned in Walnut Lake
with me. I'd go upstairs and he'd stay
"He was fun to be with and was a
while returning to shore in a speed-
and talk with my dad for hours."
leader at everything," said Zach's
boat after tubing with three teenaged
friend Willie McGibbon, 14, of West
friends and one adult. According to
Bloomfield. "He always wanted to be
West Bloomfield Township Assistant
Always an athlete, even when he was
the one who controlled everything —
Fire Chief Ray Riggs, "Zachary took
too little to play some sports, Zach •
and he usually did."
off his life preserver to take off his
could be seen covered in hockey pads,
In one of several memory books cre- wet T-shirt and the wind pulled the
guarding the goal for the big kids.
ated by Zach's friends, "every passage
tube off the boat. His ankle became
Zach was a soccer player, snow skier
included Zach's abiliry to make his
entangled in its rope and he was
dragged out of the boat."
When divers still couldn't find Zach,
his uncle, Andy Jacob of Franklin,
obtained aerial maps and had a cartog-
rapher plot out the lake on a map.
When Zach was eventually found
early on July 3, Andy was chosen to
pull him out of the water. The recov-
ery was followed by a 1 a.m. moment
of silence on the beach.
At the funerat July 4, Zach's father
and brothers each spoke. "I wanted
my sons to know that life will go on
and that we need to honor Zach's
memory," Edelson said. "I am fortu-
nate to have an abundance of memo-
ries which will forever bless my life."
Zach was close with both his par-
- ents, who are divorced. He was con-
stantly on the computer with his
father when not staying with him.
"He loved to go to work with me,"
said his dad, who is in the furniture
To his mother, Zach was "a wonder-
ful companion. He loved to ski with
me," she said. "He talked to me about
everything. He was my buddy."
At Zach's funeral, his father
described how the evening before he
had gone to spend time in Zach's bed-
room and discovered the light had
burned out. Reflecting on life without
his son, Edelson said he realized, "The
world will now be a little darker for all
Zach is survived by his mother,
Wendy Talan, father, Alan Edelson,
both of West Bloomfield; brothers,
Jeff Edelson and Brad Edelson; and
also survived by Alan's wife, Gayle
Lasky Edelson and Wendy's partner,
Mike Pocobello; grandparents, Elaine
and Harold Edelson and Beverly and
Marvin Talai-i; stepsisters, Julie Lasky
and Brooke Lasky.
Interment was at Clover Hill Park
Cemetery. Contributions may be made
to the Zachary M. Talan Edelson
Sports Scholarship Fund at Orchards
Children's Services, 30215 Southfield
Road, Southfield, MI 48076 or the
Zachary M. Talan Edelson Maccabi
Sports Scholarship Fund at Temple
Israel, 5725 Walnut Lake, West
Bloomfield, MI 48323. Arrangements
by Ira Kaufman Chapel. E