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Mary Gene Buhl Oppermann

Died: Monday, October 07, 2002
City of Grosse Pointe resident Mary Gene Buhl Oppermann, 88, passed away on Monday, Oct. 7, 2002 at her home.

Born in Bay City, she was raised in Grosse Pointe Farms, graduated from The Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y.

She married Arthur Hiram Buhl Jr. in 1935 and they settled in Grosse Pointe.

During World War II, the Buhls lived in Lawrence, Kan., where Art served as commandant of the U.S. Naval Training School and Mary Gene chaired several committees for the American Red Cross.

Her community involvements accelerated upon her return to Grosse Pointe, with participation in Tau Beta Association; the Junior League of Detroit; and Leader Dogs for the Blind.

She served as president of the Garden Club of Michigan from 1950 to 1952 and was a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in the state of Michigan.

Major recipients of her generosity have been the Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, University Liggett School and especially Cottage Hospital, with which was affiliated since 1946.

She was instrumental in establishing the Women's Auxiliary in 1952 and was elected president of the Board of Trustees in 1960.

In 1969, she co-chaired the 50th Anniversary Development Fund Committee to finance the expansion and remodeling of the hospital.

She retired from the board in 1982 and was soon voted Honorary Trustee. Her continuing commitment to the hospital is evidenced by the Howard F. Smith Jr. Atrium, a tribute to her brother and was again reaffirmed by her more recent support toward the establishment of the Woman's Diagnostic Imaging Center.

Mary Gene's interests included duck hunting as a member of the St. Luke's Club in Grande Pointe, Ontario and upland game bird shooting at Arbu Lodge in Mikado.

She also enjoyed spending summers at Higgins Lake at the family compound built in the early 1900s by her grandfather, Gilbert Stark.

She is survived by her four children, Arthur "Mike" Hiram Buhl III of Nashville, Tenn., Gay Buhl Buck of Lake Forest, Ill., Howard Buhl of Grosse Pointe Park and Lisa Buhl Chapman of New Vernon, N.J.; two stepsons, David and Nicholas Oppermann, both of Saginaw; 16 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and her sister, Helen Elise Lapham of Bloomfield, Conn. and Block Island, R.I.

She was predeceased by her first husband, Arthur Hiram Buhl Jr.; and her second husband, Peters "Pat" Oppermann.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Arrangements were made by the William R. Hamilton, Co.

Memorial contributions may be made to Cottage Hospital, Office of Philanthropy, 159 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236; Alternatives for Girls, 1950 Trumbull, Detroit, MI 48216; or the Higgins Lake Foundation, P.O. Box 40, Higgins Lake, MI 48627.
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