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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Lyn M. Derusha

Lyn (Marilyn) (Schlise) Derusha, 82, of Menominee Mi., passed away in March 2017. Born in 1934, at home in the Village of Forestville, she filled her life with education, art, culture, human resources, agriculture, adventure and helping the community. In high school she started the Jolly Art Club.

Her brother Tony taught her how to drive a tractor at age five and she worked in her parents orchard picking cherries in summer, never having a summer off.

Her older sister, Joni, entered her in beauty contests and she enjoyed being Queen of St. Norbert College of Green Bay, first runner up for Miss Dairyland and was on homecoming court and a cheerleader in Algoma.

She attended Barry University and graduated with a teaching degree in art and later worked as a draftsperson at UW-Madison.

In 1957, she married Roger Derusha, of Menekaunee (Marinette) and they had six children and lived in Menominee near the lighthouse. A caring, generous person, she made people feel special, took in an elderly ill neighbor after his wife passed and she inspired many. She loved nature, planting flowers and gardens with her children, playing piano, tap danced in the kitchen and taught many others dance. She enjoyed entertaining and loved her family and community.

An advocate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, her eldest son, David Andre, 6 years old, and close family friend, Thomas Caley, were killed by a drunk driver, with her husband and two younger sons surviving the accident. They decided to live an alcohol free life and shared their awareness about alcoholism as a disease with local organizations and organized a fund for alcohol and other drugs awareness programs at the UW-Marinette. She also supported the Marinette Rainbow House Domestic Violence Center. She saw many ships launched at Marinette Marine, hosting many people from around the world and was honored to christen the United States Navy APL-65 Barracks craft built by Marinette Marine, stationed in San Diego, Ca.

Involved in her children's' school, she dressed up as a witch at Halloween and visited local schools, warning them not to eat things that might be dangerous. She enjoyed making colorful posters for different organizations, visited a neighborhood nursing home and gave free art lessons. She was on the board of Artworks, a local, state funded art co-op that taught photography, art, sculpting, and pottery.

She opened her house to many students, local and foreign, created an annual art show called the Beauty of Menominee, Marinette and Peshtigo area, enjoyed keeping up with the times and looked for new books to buy for the library. Later she developed a character called the art bag lady and visited grade school children to share prints by famous artists. She loved painting with watercolors, opened her home to anyone who wanted to learn how to paint and had a talent for drawing, calligraphy, and understanding of color mixing.

She enjoyed exercising at the YMCA, Jazzercise, walked out to the lighthouse with a garbage bag to collect wrappers. She belonged to the Menominee Woman's Club, started an art club at the Menominee High School, organized a Keith Haring fan club, was a member of the Menominee Area Arts Council and a local writing group where she wrote poems and painted for over 25 years as a founding member of the Thalo Group.

They enjoyed sailing on Green Bay, traveling in the winter throughout the United States and Europe in a motor home, photographing and filming natural beauty and visiting art museums and music festivals.

She is survived by her children, Mary Derusha, Mike Derusha, Dean (Christine) Derusha, Lori (Jeffery) Derusha and Debra Derusha; four grandchildren and a sister, Janet Doxtater.

An exhibition of drawings, paintings and photography by her will be displayed in the future at Spies Public Library Art Gallery in Menominee.


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