2017-02-10 / Obituaries

Ted Brodeur

Ted Brodeur Ted Brodeur Father Ted Brodeur was a much-loved Catholic priest who served communities throughout the Upper Peninsula, most recently at Bay Mills and Mackinac Island. His accordion music still rings in the ears of those who knew him best, but he will also be remembered for the interest he took in the people he served and a kindly way that was welcoming to all.

He passed away Monday, January 9, 2017, at the age of 76. At the time of his death he was residing at Cedar Ridge Assisted Living in St. Ignace.

“Father Ted was a great priest of the old school who loved the Lord and shepherded his flock, always accepting everyone just as they were with compassion, good counsel, and humor,” said Father Jim Williams, a longtime friend who has served at several of the same parishes.

Fr. Ted was born January 31, 1940, in Detroit to Frederick and Alice Brodeur, and spent many youthful summers on Mackinac Island with his grandparents, Otto and Anna Wandrie, who operated the popular Wandrie’s Restaurant on the Island’s main street. He also worked at the Mustang Lounge there, which was owned by his older brother, Dennis.

After high school, he entered the seminary and was ordained at the age of 26 as The Reverend Theodore J. Brodeur on June 4, 1966, at St Peter Cathedral in Marquette by Bishop Thomas Noa. His first assignment was in July of that year to St. Ann Church in Menominee.

“I wanted to become a priest since childhood,” he told this newspaper in 2012. “I was raised in a very devout Catholic family, and I always believed in my heart that I would be a priest.”

After Menominee, he was sent to St. Paul Church in Negaunee, St. Anne Church in Ironwood, Holy Rosary Parish and Mission of St. Theresa in Grand Marais and Germfask, and St. Stanislaus Kostka and Mission of Our Lady of Snows in Goetzville and Hessel.

Father Ted was appointed Pastor at Holy Name of Mary Church in July 1981 and he served there 26 years until July 2007.

He then served at St. Francis and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Brimley and Bay Mills and, in 2012, came to Ste. Anne Church on Mackinac Island and St. Ignatius Loyola Church in St. Ignace as associate pastor.

At Bay Mills, Father Ted said he learned to appreciate better the Native American culture.

“I have always tried to honor their language and their beautiful customs,” he said at the time.

And he was happy to get back to Mackinac Island, where he spent much of his youth and where he was able to look after his ailing brother, Dennis. Mackinac was to be his last assignment, and he said then, “My first Mass, back in 1966, was given at Ste. Anne’s, so this is like coming full circle for me.”

Father Ted also served as Dean of the Sault Ste. Marie Deanery for three years and Vicar Forane of the Holy Name of Mary Vicariate for five years. He was granted Senior Priest Status in August 2015.

He was instrumental in the 1993 reopening of St. Mary’s School in Sault Ste. Marie, which had been closed for more than 30 years.

Brother Jim Boynton, who grew up in St. Ignace, enjoyed a long association with Fr. Ted, both in Sault Ste. Marie and on Mackinac Island, and remembers fondly the times they spent together.

“What I remember best are the times that we used to play music together,” Br. Boynton said. “We played all the time. I’d play fiddle and he’d play accordion. Once we were talking about how we had each come to learn to play our instruments, and he said that his father had told him when he was a kid that if he learned to play an instrument, he’d never go hungry. So he did learn to play.

“He had a great sense of humor.”

When Br. Boynton was a student at Lake Superior State University at Sault Ste. Marie and Fr. Brodeur was a pastor at St. Mary’s, “I would have a knock on my door,” Br. Boynton said, “and he’d be standing there with his accordion, ready to play.”

They played music together at Pullar Stadium and at Ste. Anne’s Church on Mackinac Island, sometimes in impromptu sessions in the church basement, where passersby would hear the music and come in for a visit, and often at the regular square dances hosted on the porch for residents and tourists over the past 20 years.

Added Fr. Jim Williams, “His accordion playing at parish functions was just one of the many ways he shared the joy of his faith with the people of God.”

He also played at the Island’s city Christmas tree lighting.

And Fr. Williams recalled his attention to the children, and his use of ventriloquism to throw his voice like a barking dog.

Fr. Ted Brodeur is survived by his brother and family, Robert “Mike” and Patricia Brodeur of Royal Oak, two sisters, Berniece A. Thompson of Grand Rapids and Barbara A. Chirco Pietrangelo of Waterford, and his adopted son and family, Tuan and Chuong Tran and children Teddy, Megan, and Alisha.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four brothers, Fred “Sonny”, Dennis, Charles, and Anthony.

Visitation and prayers were Sunday, January 15, and Monday, January 16, at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. Mass of Christian Burial was at noon January 16 with The Most Reverend James H. Garland, retired Bishop of Marquette, as celebrant and the priests of the Diocese of Marquette as concelebrants.

Burial will be in Ste. Anne’s Cemetery on Mackinac Island in the spring.

Donations can be made to St. Mary’s School.

Clark Bailey Newhouse Funeral Home assisted with arrangements.

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