The little lamb at the northeast corner (12 Mile and Rochester) has caught the attention of Royal Oak residents for decades. The following account is from the Daily Tribune in 1992.
"He was a little lamb on earth, that's why we placed the lamb on his grave," said Katherine Zabor.
She's the sister of the boy who is buried under the lamb gravemarker at Royal Oak Cemetery. A story about the nameless marker in Sunday's Daily Tribune said that because of spotty city cemetery records, it was unknown who was buried there even though a lot of passers by wonder.
Mrs. Zabor and her sisters. Pauline Smith and Ruthie King, came to Royal Oak from Flint as the result of the story about the little lamb gravemarker in the potter's field section near 12 Mlle Road and Rochester.
Daniel Harry Litzenberger was only three when he died in 1926.
Zabor tells this story about his death.
“He took sick in the night and died by morning. We had just come to Royal Oak from Milwaukee. My Dad was injured driving a horse team, building a race track in Hazel Park.
“There were six of us girls and another boy. My oldest sister. Pauline was 14 and she got on the streetcar to find a doctor for my sick brother. . . father couldn't move and my mother, Katherine, had to stay with my baby brother.
"We had no money and nobody had telephones. It took calls to 15 doctors to get one to come but it was too late, and we never knew what happened to Danny. People simply didn’t allow autopsies in those days.”
Zabor said her parents had been German transplant farmers along the Volga river in Russia. They immigrated to Milwaukee and then, inspired by Henry Ford paying $5 a day at his Highland Park factory, came to Royal Oak. Her father was unable to get work at Ford so he took the job with the team.
“The house we had in Royal Oak on Brentwood was very small but it had a pear tree in the yard, and I remember thinking it was so nice we'd have pears,” said Zabor.
“The people at Saint Paul's Lutheran Church buried my brother. Pastor Otto Frinke was so good to us. He and the church people paid for the funeral. We had it at our house as people did in those days.”
“My little brother always wanted a sailor suit and we were too poor to get it for him but Pastor Frinke saw to it he had one, a white one, to be buried in. Those were hard days for us.”
Zabor’s father got a job finally “with the Dodge Brothers and we moved to Detroit. When times got really hard, we moved to Chesaning to a 40-acre farm. My dad had farmed along the Volga and he knew how to farm. With the farm you could eat.”
The sisters all live in Flint.
“About 25 or 30 years ago, we decided our little brother should have a marker so we got the lamb for him because he was a lamb. We come back and paint it and put ribbons and flowers on it,” said Zabor.
Zabor has a friend in Owosso who sister lives in Royal Oak the sister and read the article and called Zabor. All three family members decided to drive to the cemetery, where they painted the lamb and put out flowers.
Then, not being sure where the Daily Tribune office was, they sought the assistance of Oakview Cemetery manager Sherry burns, and thus were able to tell the real story of the little lamb.