June 15, 1927 - February 18, 2021
Mary Lou Belanger, whose ancestors were among the first white settlers on the Old Mission Peninsula, died Thursday, Feb. 18 at her Traverse City home. She was 93. Mary Lou was born June 15, 1927 at Old Mission, the daughter of Willard J. and Ethel (Tompkins) Berry. She attended Old Mission School through eighth grade and for grades 9-12 rode the bus to Traverse City Central High School, graduating as a member of the Class of 1945. After the war, Mary Lou moved to Traverse City where she worked for Bell Telephone. She met her future husband at one of many dances held throughout the region. On Feb. 5, 1948, she married Leonard J. (Len) Belanger at the rectory of St. Francis Church. During their early marriage, the Belangers lived in Lake Leelanau and made the move to East Bay Township in the mid-to-late 1950s, where they had an 80-acre cherry farm. At harvest time, when Len was working his day job as a mason, it was Mary Lou who assigned pickers to blocks where the fruit was ripe. She also did the bookkeeping and payroll. As her youngest children neared the end of their high school careers, Mary Lou volunteered for the Grand Traverse Literacy Council teaching adults to read. She had a quick wit and always had a story to tell or a song to sing. Mary Lou was well-read; enjoyed crosswords; played a mean game of euchre; was a Jeopardy whiz and a life-long Tiger baseball fan. Mary Lou is survived by six children: Philomena Hanson (Phil Kurtz) of Arizona; Marcia “Cheech” (Dave) Carney of Elk Rapids; David (Colleen “Chick”) Belanger of Traverse City; Tom Belanger of Traverse City; Amy (Joe) Hubbell of Cedar and Mary Frances “Tassie” Belanger-Uryasz (David Hohnstreiter) of Traverse City; 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Mary Lou was preceded in death by her husband, Len, in 2000 and daughter Lynnette in 1972. Also preceding her in death, in addition to her parents, are six siblings: Edith Cooper, Willard Berry, Eleanor Clouse, David Berry, Frank Berry and Ken Berry. The family would like to thank Hospice of Michigan and caregivers Barb Laffin, Eileen Olson and Kimberli Harris who helped us keep mom at home, where she wanted to be. A celebration of life is set for 11 a.m., Saturday, June 12 at St. Francis in Traverse City. The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral home.
Mary Lou Belanger, whose ancestors were among the first white settlers on the Old Mission Peninsula, died Thursday, Feb. 18 at her Traverse City home. She was 93. Mary Lou was born June 15, 1927 at Old Mission, the daughter of Willard J. and... View Obituary & Service Information
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