Margaret Ann Bretz, 1921-2008

Posted on September 4, 2008

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Margaret Ann Bretz 87, of Eastport, passed away Sunday, August 31, 2008 at the Eastport Village Care Home near her home.  Ann was born in Detroit April 6, 1921 the eldest of four children of Norton H. and Dorothy (Waite) Pearl.  She met her future husband, Otto H. Bretz, in a drama class at Cooley High School in Detroit. As their romance blossomed, they learned that their families came from Eastport and East Jordan, respectively.  They were married in 1940 in Detroit and had their first child, Sarietta Ann, in 1941.  Unfortunately, the infant lived only two weeks.  With WWII raging Ann worked as a secretary and Otto earned a deferment as a metallurgist at the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) in Detroit. Once their second child, Norton Lee, was born in 1943, Otto enlisted in the Navy and Ann spent the next two years commuting between his US postings and Detroit. 

After the war, they settled in Royal Oak where Otto became an industrial arts teacher at Dondero High School and Ann became a housewife with several part time jobs to help make ends meet.  In 1951 a third child, Katherine Ann was born.  In 1959 the family of four moved to Great Bend, Kansas and a few years later to Jersey Shore and later Chambersburg, Pennsylvania where Otto worked for several mobile home companies.  In 1965 the family returned Michigan settling in Troy where Otto again taught industrial arts and Ann began working at Warren Elementary School as a secretary. 

After spending summers in Eastport through their entire married lives, Ann and Otto built a year-round house there.  They retired to their new home on Torch Lake in 1977 and enjoyed traveling around the country and abroad visiting friends and relatives.  After Otto had a stroke in 1991, they continued traveling for a number of years until Otto’s death in 2000.  Ann continued living at her home in Eastport visiting friends around the country, traveling to Spain in 2001 to visit her son and daughter-in-law, and trekking the Galapagos Islands in 2005.  She enjoyed reading, visiting with her extensive family, and watching the waves on Torch Lake.  She lived independently until a few months before her death when she moved just across the street to the Eastport Village Care Home.  There she continued to enjoy regular visits by her children, sisters, friends, and an extensive collection of other relatives who live nearby or visit for the summer.  She was able to attend the wedding of her second grandchild, Jay, and new grand-daughter-in-law, Mia, in Eastport and visit with her grand-daughter’s family visiting from Hong Kong only two weeks before her death.

Ann is survived by two sisters: Betty Beeby and Jane Martin; son Norton, daughter-in-law Mary Lee, daughter Katherine Berst, son-in-law Steve, all of whom live in Eastport; two married grandchildren: Lee Georgs and Jay Bretz; and two great-grandchildren: Carter and Caden Georgs.

In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the Antrim County Commission on Aging or Habitat for Humanity.

[Ed: Ann’s son, Norton Bretz, and daughter, Katherine Berst, sent this lovely obituary for their mother.  Their Torch Lake neighbors’ loving thoughts are with them.]