By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Local businessman and long-time Dearborn police officer Al Porada, 91, passed away the morning of Dec. 8.
In lieu of funeral home visitation, a memorial mass will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 28 at St. Anselm Catholic Church, 17700 W. Outer Drive in Dearborn Heights.
His daughter-in-law Gail Porada said Dearborn has lost a legend.
“He was a different breed of cat,” she said. “Everyone has an Al Porada story. They don’t make them like him anymore.”
Al Porada grew up in Dearborn’s south end during the Great Depression. After serving in the Coast Guard during the Korean War, he became a Dearborn police officer, serving for 20 years.
As a police officer, he carried a .357 Magnum rather than the standard issue .38 after he had a run-in with a rabid dog that chased him for more than a mile.
In his later years, he patrolled Camp Dearborn with his partner, Jack Niven, and became a court officer.
Gail Porada said her father-in-law was held in high esteem by the late Mayor Orville Hubbard.
“He was the only officer that Orville Hubbard actually liked,” she said. “I think it was because they were both stubborn and hard-headed.”
Al Porada opened Donutville USA, 14829 Ford Road in Dearborn, on July 4, 1966, with his police partner Stan Hughes, and the two worked together until 1996, when Porada bought out Hughes’ share.
Gail Porada said that when the business had its grand opening, her father-in-law went to a local funeral home and salvaged unwanted floral arrangements that were going to be thrown out, and displayed them around the shop.
“It appeared that many people had sent congratulatory flowers for the opening,” she said. “When Orville Hubbard came in to check things out, he was impressed. Al never told him where the flowers came from.”
Al Porada purchased the former Mr. Donut on Michigan Avenue in east Dearborn and changed the name to Donut World.
In the 1980s, he purchased land at Michigan Avenue and Nowlin from Boran Oil and built Donut Mill, which he eventually sold to his sons John and Mark Porada. In 2001, Al Porada retired and sold Donutville USA to his son Mark and Gail Porada.
John Porada eventually took over Donut Mill before leasing the property to what is now Potbelly Sandwich Works.
Al Porada trained and mentored Mickey Lolich when the sports legend opened his own donut shops.
He also owned The Mustache Bar before selling it to Ray Molinari. He also owned the property at Ford Road and Steadman where Chase Bank now has a branch office.
Al Porada would meet with other retired police officers at Leon’s Family Dining in Dearborn on Sundays for breakfast, and he enjoyed golfing until a few years ago, when hip pain prevented him from continuing. However, the hip didn’t stop him from walking with Ilda every day at Westborn Mall.
Al Porada was proceeded in death by his first wife, Mary Ann Pawlas, brothers Bruno (Sophie) and Anthony (Dolores) Porada. He leaves Ilda, his wife of 57 years, his sons John (Stanley) and Mark (Gail), his grandchildren Luke and Sydney Porada, and many nieces and nephews.