Known in the community as “Mother Mary,” a Highland Township resident and the mother of a local pastor passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Mary B. Lulko, 96, was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1916 in Detroit. The oldest of Anthony and Veronica Kanigowski’s five children, she graduated from St. Casimir High School in Detroit, where she was the spelling bee champion — a skill that was prominent throughout her life as her love of word games, especially Upwords and crossword puzzles, never faltered.
Together, she and her husband, Leo S. Lulko, operated Leo’s market, where he was the grocer and she was the bookkeeper. After his death in 1987, she moved in with her son, Father Leo Lulko of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Highland, where she was a dedicated and devoted member who shared her deep faith, spirit, prayerfulness, kindness, openness and generosity with everyone, including the Women’s Club, her Rosary Group, and the Funeral Luncheon teams.
Described as a tiny woman with a giant heart and mighty faith in the power of prayer and the goodness of God, Mary Lulko was often asked about the secret to her long life.
Without fail, she responded: “Laugh a lot.”
In addition to her late husband, she was preceded in death by her son, Richard A. Lulko. She is survived by her son, Father Lulko, and daughter, Barbara (David) VanHellemont.
Mary Lulko is also survived by her grandchildren, Debora (Steven) Marsh; David Lulko; Donald (Darla) Lulko; Dionne (Joseph) Wetzel; Darice (James) Hoffman; Julie VanHellemont; and Mary (Thomas) McCarley.
In addition, she is survived by 15 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews and her large and extended parish family at the Church of the Holy Spirit.
A Funeral Mass was held on Friday, Nov. 16 at Church of the Holy Spirit, followed by a luncheon at 59 West in Highland. Mary Lulko was interred at Cadillac Memorial Gardens West in Westland.