Life Story / Obituary


Mary Steere Budzinski

Died September 9, 2021

Mary Budzinski passed away peacefully, showing at the end the courage and grace she exhibited throughout her life. To those she touched, she was a person beyond compare.

Mary was born December 22, 1948, to Robert William and Janet Sargent Steere. She grew up in Birmingham, MI, graduating from Birmingham Seaholm High School in 1967 and Michigan State University in 1971.

Mary had life-long connections with Traverse City. Her mother was born and raised here. As a girl, Mary spent her summers helping her aunt at Northwood Farm on Sleights Road, working with horses and leading trail rides. Fresh out of college, she began her professional career in Traverse City in retail sales and became the first (volunteer) Director of the Downtown Development Authority in 1979. She married David Budzinski in Traverse City on September 26, 1981, and they retired here in 2019.

After her early career in Traverse City, Mary moved to Chicago, where she worked for an investment bank, studied computing and accounting and became a registered stock broker. With her new skill set, she and David moved to Ann Arbor and then Chelsea, where she opened her own business as a financial consultant to small businesses, using computing systems she developed for accounting and payroll. Her consulting work drew her to the attention of Domino’s International, where she worked for many years before retiring from the position of lead financial services IT analyst.

Retirement gave Mary the time to devote even more attention to her three abiding loves: books, reading, and libraries; walking, particularly with dogs and friends; and living life abundantly with her husband David. It was a joy-filled period of her life.

Mary, an avid reader, was an active member of two book clubs that ranged widely in their selections. She belonged to the Friends of the Chelsea Library, where she sorted book donations weekly for sales to support the library. These sorting sessions led to amazing friendships helped along by post-sorting communal gatherings. Mary also served on the Library Board and, later, as the Library’s part-time bookkeeper. Moving to Traverse City did not diminish her interest in libraries and what they contribute to communities. In January 2021, she was appointed to the Traverse Area District Library Board, serving on its strategic planning and finance committees.

Her love for walking and her love for dogs meshed together sweetly in Mary’s life. Over the years, morning and evening would find her out walking in a field or on a footpath with a succession of the best cared-for dogs in the world. Her greatest joy in her final months was walking her dog Annie in the field across from her house.

David and Mary were joined at the hip and the heart and the head. They gave each other full rein to live up to their passions – Mary to gather with friends and family, and David to develop his love of music and guitars into a thriving small business. The strength they shared as a couple making tough decisions over the past four months was a blessing to those around them.

It is impossible to do justice to the richness of Mary’s life in only a few words. Her surviving family – husband David, sisters Judy (Emil) Sunley and Beverly Aird, brother Bob (Carol) Steere, aunt Edna Sargent and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins – and many friends will miss her grace, wisdom, and enthusiasm for life, while keeping her memory in our hearts.

The family is planning for a memorial service at a time and place yet to be determined. Contributions in memory of Mary Budzinski can be made to the Traverse City Area Public Schools Intensive Student Services Network at www.tcaps.net/donate

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