Remembering Mabel Polcin

January 4, 2019

As the people of Mason County welcome a new year, many are also saying farewell to one of the pillars of the community, Mabel Ann Polcin, who passed away on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, at the farmhouse where she was born more than 92 years ago.

A 1943 graduate of Ludington High School, Mabel was known among friends, family and neighbors throughout the area as a giving and charitable person.

As owner and president of Gundberg’s Appliance — a position Mabel held for 39 years — she developed a reputation for being kind, community-minded and involved.

Mabel had 26 nieces and nephews, many of whom attested to her giving spirit.

“She had a kind heart; she tried to help people,” said nephew Greg Kacynski, who worked with Mabel at Gundberg’s for more than 20 years.

“She always giving to charities at St. Simon (Catholic Church) to the schools. She was a big contributor to fundraisers.”

Janet Anderson, Greg’s wife, said Mabel was an ever-present figure in Ludington, and that many of the contributions she made to various charitable causes and community fundraisers were made through Gundberg’s Appliance.

“There wasn’t a community event where you didn’t see something from Gundberg’s that was donated,” Anderson said. “She was just that kind of person.”

Greg’s brothers, Ken and Dave, also spoke of her kindness and willingness to help those in need.

“She had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever seen,” Dave, of Green Bay and formerly of Ludington, said. “She was a big-hearted woman who would just do anything for you. She would do anything for her employees as well.”

Niece Marlene Berens echoed the sentiments of her relatives regarding Mabel’s devotion to Mason County.

“If they needed a donation, she would donate microwaves or TVs to the community, just for free,” Berens said.

Berens said her aunt was every bit as devoted to her family as she was to her community.

“The one thing that seems to stick in my mind is that family was the most important thing to her,” Berens said. “The family was separated when we were kids — children in one room, adults in another — and she built a whole new addition onto the farmhouse so we could all be together.”

Ken said Mabel’s work ethic was a driving force in her life, noting that she would often work until late at night — even on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas — before coming home to cook the holiday meal.

“When we were celebrating her 90th birthday, we asked her, ‘What’s the secret to a long life?’ and she said, ‘Keep working,’” Ken said. “She was definitely always working … and the second I walked in the store, she’d put me to work.”

Read the full story in Friday’s Ludington Daily News print or e-Edition.

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