MJ Tezak, beloved mother, friend and longtime hostess for the Schelde Corporation and Boone's Long Lake Inn, passed away May 18, 2017 after a courageous, two-year battle with stage four ovarian cancer. Mary Jane Richter "MJ" was born on June 9, 1941 at St. Mary's hospital in Saginaw to Wilbur O. and Jane S. Richter.
MJ graduated from Arthur Hill High School in 1959 and attended Stevens College in Wisconsin.
MJ spent her free time at Point Lookout and Bay Port fishing with her dad on the cut and duck hunting. Her father also taught her all about archery and at the age of 13, she won her first of many championship ribbons. With the help of George and Sonne Stewart, Ann Fletcher, Mary Burns, Shirley Myers, Sue Gillman and Betty Nizinski they created a lifetime of lasting memories.
MJ worked many years in retail at places such as Jacobson in the fine linen department and the cosmetic department at Milliken's. We are not sure how she ended up selling cosmetics as a tan was her only makeup. In 1974 a new restaurant, Mr. Steak, opened and so began a 43-year hosting career. Howard Schelde of Schelde Corporation was impressed with the single mother of two small children's work ethic, ambition and drive to succeed and offered her a management position within the corporation, which she declined as it would take too much time away from her two young kids. Mr. Schelde opened many restaurants and MJ's smile and friendly voice was there to greet you.
When her children were in junior high they started getting involved with school activities, so reluctantly she left the restaurant business around 1977 to work at Super Tool in Elk Rapids as a carbide machine operator. This new position provided her family with much needed health insurance, retirement, ability to save a few pennies and paid vacation days. Around 1979 she saved enough money to drive herself with three children to Daytona Beach, Florida, for the family's first ever vacation out of Michigan.
MJ was a licensed real estate agent for many years but could not stay out of the restaurant business and worked at numerous restaurants around town. Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2017, was her last day of hostessing at Boone's Long Lake Inn. Nick and Theresa Boudjalis of Boone's Long Lake Inn and all her Boone's family have respected and protected her privacy until the end. We as a family cannot thank all enough for the outpouring of love, prayers and support.
Most people are lucky to find one love of their lives. She was fortunate to have found two, Frank W. Tezak, who preceded her in death in 1988, and Tom Levandoski, with whom she spent the last 14 years. Tom spent the last year and a half caring for MJ unconditionally, and as her daughter I cannot thank him enough.
MJ was involved with National Cherry Festival as director of Cherry Dollars for 40 years and a longtime member of the Zonta Club. She was treasurer for Chi Lambdola Omega Delta Sorority from 1960 to 1961.
MJ lived her life to a moral code which many respected but few could follow. She had rock star status without even knowing it, and it was never about winning for her. One of her best attributes was that she loved all people and always saw the best in each individual.
A favorite saying that she continually reminded her children of was, "Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you're up to."
MJ is survived by her daughter, Jane M. Beuthin and her significant other, Brad Huffman; her son, Robert W. Beuthin and his significant other, Katie Sanford; Katie's daughter, Stefanie; Tom Levandoski and his children, Linus and Tracy Darga, Tod Levandoski; and grandchildren, Austin, Ally, Kristin, Alyssa and Isaac. She had many great friends she held close to her heart, Kim, Krissy, Shirley, Rita, Cooley, June, Jane, Dave and Deb, Mike and Deb, Nick and Theresa, Kris, Galen and Barb. She loved all her relatives and all were special to her.
In her spare time she enjoyed spending time with Tom, her children, sailing, golfing, bowling, bridge, traveling remodeling and frolicking in the sunshine. She also enjoyed fishing on the bay and won the powder puff salmon classic four years in a row.
MJ was preceded in death by her daughter, Sonne Beuthin; Wilbur O. and Jane S. Richter and Frank W. Tezak.
A memorial gathering will be held Friday, June 16, 2017, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Covell Funeral Home in Traverse City. A celebration of MJ's life will be held Saturday, June 17, 2017, from noon to 3 p.m., at Boone's Long Lake Inn, 7280 Secor Road, Traverse City, MI 49685.
Memorial contributions in MJ's name may be made to Field Neurosciences Institute, St. Mary's of Michigan, 4677 Towne Centre, Suite 101, Saginaw, MI 48604; or Cherryland Humane Society, 1750 Ahlberg Road, Traverse City, MI 49686.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Covell Funeral Home of Traverse City.
Published on June 11, 2017