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Vivian Baase

October 8, 1925 - February 20, 2022
Traverse City, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Vivian M. Baase passed away peacefully at her home in Traverse City on Sunday evening, February 20, 2022 at the age of 96. She held the hand of her daughter and caregiver Linda in familiar surroundings as she had wished.

Vivian was born in Hanna, MI, in a modest farm house, the youngest daughter of Albert and Martha (Yanska) Guger on October 8, 1925. She was only four years-old when she lost her mother and was raised mostly by her older sister Wilma, her two brothers, and her loving father. ‘Little Vivian’ spent many summers downstate with aunts and uncles throughout her childhood. Shielded from the harsh reality of the Depression, she wore nice dresses, ate adequate meals, and always felt the love of those around her. She attended the Bartlett and Holy Rosary schools early-on, and later the Buckley High School where she enjoyed basketball. A love of music was a very important part of her life. Her father fostered that love of music by providing the family with a player piano and whistling or singing where ever he was. A somewhat precocious little girl, Vivian was known to sing and dance for her supper after many Sunday dinners at neighboring farms. Throughout her life, Vivian would sing on any occasion, or dance across the kitchen with a broom. She loved Nat King Cole and Big Band music, and remembered the words to countless songs.

Vivian married Jerry L. Baase, a handsome Marine, just home from WWII, in Traverse City on February 6, 1947. Together they raised their two boys and two girls as “free-range kids” in a farm house on Four Mile Road east of the city. Each of her days were busy with kids, horses, dogs, cats, wild pets, swimming, outdoor activities, chores, and meals. She orchestrated all of it and still found time to work jobs at area businesses; Setwell Corp, Burke Flexo Lures, Milliken’s Dept Store, Bo Beer Takeout Delicatessen, and her favorite as the food “demo” lady at Tom’s Family Market. When not working, she enjoyed league bowling during her 30’s and 40’s, was an active member of the TC Child Study Club, a life-long supporter and follower of Democratic politics, (even attending public demonstrations in Lansing and Benton Harbor in her 80’s) and also was a life member of VFW Post 2780. She was an avid reader, loved history, and daily crossword puzzles, which she felt were key to her sharp memory and full life. She was a terrific cook, an excellent baker, was proud of her Polish heritage, loved dancing, and always grew flowers. Vivian was also a very loving mother, foster grandmother, and a kind friend to all – especially those in need. Throughout life, her family was always most important.

When her youngest had graduated from high school in 1971, she and Jerry left Traverse City to pursue Jerry’s dream in the UP. There they co-owned and operated the Jack Pine Lodge, north of Manistique. She and Jerry often hosted visiting friends and relatives from Traverse City. With a restaurant, bar, and rental cabins, it was a very busy and fulfilling life. Together they had the ambition and personality for success. It was while they lived there that Jerry passed away in 1985. After selling the business, she returned to Traverse City to be near her children.

Vivian was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Jerry; brothers, Max and Don Guger and sister, Wilma Nichols. She is survived by her four children, Linda (Michelle Gardham) Strauss of Traverse City; Stephen (Jackie) Baase of Cedar; Janice (Jim Simmons) Mack and Jeffrey (Anne) Baase of Traverse City. She will also be greatly missed by her 6 grandchildren, Sheila Wall, Paul Strauss, Justin Strauss, Martin Mack, Jessica Mack, Megan Baase; 11 great grandchildren; 4 great great grandchildren;

many nieces, nephews, and her loving cat, Jenny. She was especially proud of her two beautiful daughters-in-law who were always kind, thoughtful, and there for her whenever needed.

Per Vivian’s wishes, cremation has taken place and internment of her ashes will be at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens at a later date. A celebration of Life will be held at 2pm, Saturday, April 16, 2022 at the Cherryland VFW Post #2780, 3400 Veterans Drive, Traverse City. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the VFW, 3400 Veterans Dr., Traverse City, 49684, Salvation Army, 1239 Barlow Street, Traverse City 49686 or Father Fred Foundation, 826 Hastings, Traverse City 49684.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to Michelle Gardham for the exceptional and loving care she provided, allowing Vivian to stay at home until the end. Also, to N. Palliative Care at Munson Medical Center - especially nurse practitioner, Shannon, for her compassionate, personal care.

The family is being cared for by Life Story Funeral Home. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.lifestorytc.com