September 21, 2019

Theresa A. DeNise

Died April 25, 2019


Theresa Ann DeNise, 90, of West Branch passed away in her home Thursday, April 25, 2019.

She was born Nov. 7, 1928, to George and Gertrude (Kozminski) Matelski in Boyne Falls. She grew up there, graduating from Boyne Falls High School. She married Howard Fred DeNise on Sept. 3, 1949, at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Boyne Falls. They had 52 wonderful years together.

Theresa often said her only wish in life was to be a good wife and a mother. She succeeded in both.

She and Howard moved to West Branch from Boyne Falls in 1961, yet they loved returning to treasured times camping, with her siblings, on old family property on the hills overlooking the valley. The days were spent gathering produce with her brother, Edward, from his large garden, outdoor cooking and canning, and much laughter. Returning trips included family reunions, morel hunting and the annual Polish Festival.

Her enthusiasm for life drew people in, making most anything fun and special. Holiday anticipation began early and always included baking, whether it was lamb cakes for Easter or date-walnut pinwheels and prize-winning cinnamon rolls for Christmas. In her family-raising years, she would pack and organize the family camper for summer weekend trips to Northern Michigan state parks, often joined by a close circle of friends.

For many years, she worked as a hearing tester for the Michigan Department of Health. In their retirement years, she and Howard enjoyed being “snowbirds,” spending some of each winter in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

She was a knitter, making afghans for wedding gifts and baby blankets for grandchildren. She especially enjoyed flowers, and selecting annuals in early June was a special time of year. Mrs. DeNise was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in West Branch for 58 years. Her children attended St. Joseph Parochial School. In her later years, she met once a month with her “Bible ladies,” enjoying their friendship.

She is survived by her five children and their families, Diane (Glen) Matthews of Indian River, Sandy (Leo) Schneider of Hale, Jerie (Robert) Hude of West Branch, James (Jeanne) DeNise of West Branch and Mary (Thomas) Smith of Midland; her special friend, Robert Sanborn; 14 grandchildren, Eric, Allen, Lesa, Mike S., Greg, Mike, Nathan, Dan, Brian, Megan, Adam, Jonathan, Cindy and Michelle; 13 great-grandchildren; four great-great grandchildren; and a sister, Irene Hausler.

In addition to her parents and her husband, Theresa was preceded in death by three siblings, Walter, Edward and Louis Matelski; her granddaughter, Christine Jackson; great-grandson, Christian Jackson; and son-in-law, Thomas Smith.

A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Visitation will be held at the church at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Fund at 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or St. Joseph Catholic Church at 935 W. Houghton Ave., West Branch, MI 48661.


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