Robert “Bob” Donald Tenbusch, 84 of Rapson, passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 17, 2020 at Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital in Saginaw after complications from surgery with his family by his side.
He was born on November 7, 1935 in Ubly, MI son of the late Clarence B. and Helen (Guitar) Tenbusch. He grew up on the family farm and attended McMillan rural school and Ubly High School. He married the love of his life, Marie Dekoski on June 22, 1957 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Parisville. They shared much love and life through their 63 years of marriage.
After attending high school, Bob sailed the Great Lakes for one season aboard the S.S. Harvard as a merchant marine. He then returned to resume his life’s work as a Sigel Township farmer with Marie and his family working along side.
Bob was a member of St. Hubert Parish (St. Joseph Church) where he served as a past member of the Parish Council and was instrumental with the planning for the renovation of St. Joseph Church in 1988. Christmas was always a very special time for Bob and as a longtime musician he assisted his son Wally, in leading the parish Christmas choir for a couple of years in the 1970’s. This inspired Bob to record an album of Christmas music with Polish and English vocals to share the hard work of the choir with others. Bob thoroughly enjoyed decorating both the inside and outside of their home for Christmas.
As a young man, Bob worked to earn enough money to buy himself a trumpet which he played in the Ubly High School band. That start in music led him to play polka music for 32 years beginning with Marshall “Big Daddy” Lackowski. Then, in 1954, he formed his own band, The Melody Makers. In 1966, Bob switched instruments, started playing drums and changed the name of his band to the Michigan Cavaliers. In 1974, he formed the Golden Stars with musicians Benny Prill and his brother-in-law Terry Dekoski. He recorded two polka albums, one with the Michigan Cavaliers and the other with the Golden Stars. Bob always saw to it that his four children took music lessons on many different instruments. It was with great pride Bob was able to join his sons, Wally and Doug, as the drummer in their band, The Tenbusch Brothers in 1982.
Over the years Bob assisted by his wife Marie, used his musical talents to sponsor polka dances to raise money to benefit burn and accident victims as well as families who lost their homes or barns to fires. In 1999, his long career in polka music led to Bob being inducted into the Michigan State Polka Music Hall of Fame. He was an honorary member of the Ubly Fox Hunters Club.
Bob is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Marie; his children, Wally (Joy) Tenbusch of Bad Axe, Doug (Karen) Tenbusch of Deford, Celine Richards (special friend, Marty Brunner) of Bay City, Mary Jo (Bryan) Chisholm of Rockford,; grandchildren, Jamie (Chris) Pfeffer, Ryan (Keri) Tenbusch, Curt (Emily) Tenbusch, Kelli (Pete) Messing, Jennifer (Jeremy) Kilbourn, Jessica (Chris) Hahn, Randy (Christin) Tenbusch Jeff (Danielle) Tenbusch, Hailey Richards, Taylor Richards, Eric (Kelsey) Chisholm, Alexis Chisholm, 17 great grandchildren; brother, Marc Tenbusch, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Gladys Horvett, Shirley Wulbrecht, RoseAnn (Carl) Messing, Pat Dekoski, Terry (Debbie) Dekoski; several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by infants Joseph and Mary Tenbusch, sister, Beatrice (Richard) Oswald, father and mother-in-law, Edward and Bertha Dekoski, brother-in-law, Kenneth Dekoski.
Mass of Christian burial for Bob will be at 11:00 am, Monday September 21 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. Hubert Parish in Rapson. Rev. Thomas McNamara will officiate. Bob will then be laid to rest at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.
Visitation will be at the Zinger-Smigielski Funeral Home in Ubly on Sunday from 2:00-8:00 pm and on Monday at St. Joseph Church from 10:00-10:45 am. There will be a rosary recited at 5:00 pm Sunday by Marc Tenbusch and a parish scripture service at 6:30 pm led by Jan Rapson.
Bob’s wishes were that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to his family, care of Marie, for his favorite charities, the Fr. Solanus Casey Center and the Right to Life of Michigan.