Pere Marquette Memorial Association begins $100,000 fund raising campaign.

May 7, 2018

John Mickevich photo. Used by permission.

Pere Marquette Memorial Association begins $100,000 fund raising campaign.

#MasonCountyNews.

LUDINGTON — The Pere Marquette Memorial Association (PMMA) will begin a campaign to raise $100,000 to help repair and preserve the Father Marquette Memorial, located on Buttersville Peninsula. The Pennies from Heaven Foundation has pledged a contribution to match the first $25,000 raised by PMMA.

The PMMA was recently incorporated with the purpose of re-establishing the not-for-profit organization that was originally created in 1937. The sole purpose of the original PMMA was to own and manage the parcel of land donated by the late Marshall Butters’ estate to build a memorial and shrine to remember the location where the Jesuit missionary and explorer Father (Pere) Jacques Marquette is said to have died in the spring of 1674.

The current memorial was erected in 1955 and dedicated on July 23, 1955. It took the original PMMA more than 20 years to gather funds and support to build the memorial. The memorial was built with contributions from the City of Ludington, Marquette University, Dow Chemical Co., Motyka Metal Products, Caswell-Chadwick Memorials, Boy Scouts of America, Wadel Construction Company, and Pere Marquette Township.

The land where the memorial sits was initially granted to the original PMMA in 1937, and then transferred to Mason County in 1938. The county then conveyed the land to the State of Michigan in 1941. Sometime between 1941 and 1955, the State of Michigan re-conveyed the land back to the original PMMA. It is assumed that this happened before 1955, when the memorial was erected, because at that time the title holder was the original PMMA.

The record further shows that in 1971, the original PMMA transferred the land and memorial to the City of Ludington. Pere Marquette Township accepted the conveyance of the land along with the deed restrictions from the City of Ludington on August 12, 1993.

The original PMMA was then dissolved and no longer had any involvement with the memorial. In November 2017, an individual visiting the area claimed that the memorial represented a threat to his constitutional rights to be free from the imposition of religion. That claim triggered an overwhelming outpouring of support for the memorial and prompted a renewed awareness of a site that for the community is part of the fabric and geography of the area.

The PMMA has been re-established and its first Board of Directors has been installed. The members of its board are: Anita Wilson, Dr. Bill Anderson, James Jensen, Terri Langerak, Jeanne Oakes, Kaley Petersen, Pastor Henrik Lidman, Nick Tykoski, Melissa Alvarado, Father Wayne Wheeler, and Carlos Alvarado.

Earlier this month, the PMMA was notified that the Pere Marquette Township Board had accepted the association’s offer to purchase the site and to grant the PMMA the care and maintenance of the same. The memorial is currently in need of repairs. When preparing its 2018 budget, Pere Marquette Township had included $80,000 to cover the cost of the needed repairs. In addition, the estimated maintenance would require establishing a fund with at least $20,000 to ensure the proper preservation and possible enhancement of the memorial.

Three ways to contribute include: 1) Online by visiting www.mason-foundation.org. Click the tab “Give”, then the tab “Give Now.” Under the “Gift Information” heading scroll down to choose the Area of Interest (Community Improvement) and then choose the Specific Fund: Pere Marquette Memorial Association Father Marquette Memorial Cross Fund and enter the amount you wish to donate; 2) Send a check to the Community Foundation for Mason County with PMMA Father Marquette Memorial Cross Fund written on the memo line to P.O. Box 10, Ludington, Michigan 49431; or 3) Send a check to the Pere Marquette Memorial Association c/o Carlos Alvarado Law PC, at 202 S. Harrison Street, Ludington, Michigan 49431.

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