Friday, September 4, 2015

Thomas John Torpey and his wife Mary Alice moved to Troy Township from Detroit, probably after their marriage in 1930. Their family business, T.J. Torpey Meat Market on the east side of Rochester Road was just north of a side street now known as Torpey. Their cinderblock building also housed Nephew’s Fruit Stand. Both businesses were favorite shopping destinations for local residents for decades.

Bill Haney, who grew up in Big Beaver (homes and stores near the intersection of Big Beaver and Rochester Roads) worked for Mr. Torpey. He recalled that occasionally he and his friend Lawrence Smith got to ride up to Caseville or Caro, Michigan with Mr. Torpey to pick up a live steer. “Those trips were a big deal for me,” Haney explained. “I loved the trips but didn’t hang around when we got back and he slaughtered the steer.”

When Thomas died on October 1, 1956, their son Dennis operated the business. Dennis, who also served as a volunteer firefighter at Station 1 in Big Beaver for 23 years, married Norma Jane Cinander in Clawson in 1952. They had four children. Their son Cliff, who was born on April 28, 1960, attended Troy Athens High School, but graduated from Kimball High School in Royal Oak. He also worked as a meat cutter in the family store until his untimely death in 1994 at the age of 34.

The building that housed Torpey’s Meat Market and Nephew’s Fruit Stand was razed when Rochester Road was widened around 2000.


Troy Historic Village Obituary Files

Phone interview with Bill Haney

To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at

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