MARQUETTE, MI. – Natalia Broderick, who lived at 1100 Northrop St. in Marquette and was a summer resident of Lake Michigamme for 55 years, passed away peacefully in Rochester, Minnesota, on March 4, 2014.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Dr. Alan Broderick, who died on October 27, 2012, shortly after the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. She was an active member of PEO International, a philanthropic organization dedicated to promoting educational opportunities for women. She was also class advisor for the Ishpeming High School Class of 1967, whose members she lunched with regularly.
Mrs. Broderick, who was born on January 5, 1920, grew up on the Panama Canal Zone, where her late father, Thomas Bender, Sr., helped to build and operate the Panama Canal. She returned to the United States to attend the University of Minnesota, from which she earned a degree in education and modern languages and where she was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. As a result of her childhood on the Canal Zone, attending boarding school in Costa Rica, and her educational background, Mrs. Broderick was fluent in French and Spanish, and conversational in several other languages.
In 1942, she married the brilliant, Alan Broderick in Peru. For the first several years of their married life, the Brodericks lived in Casapalca, Peru, a remote village in the Andes Mountains, and then spent another several years in Wadli, Mexico.
Upon the Brodericks’ return to the United States in the late 1940s, the couple lived in New Haven, Connecticut, where Mrs. Broderick was a private-school language teacher. They moved to the Upper Peninsula in 1951. Mrs. Broderick opened a fine fabric and drapery shop in the family home in Ishpeming. She then moved the growing “House of Fabrics” to Marquette where she continued its operation for several more years. Then an opportunity to return to her first love occurred and she accepted a position teaching languages at Ishpeming High School, where she taught until the late 1970s. She was known for her innovative approach to teaching which included removing the classroom desks and furnishing her classroom as a Parisian sidewalk cafe complete with real French sidewalk cafe tables and umbrellas.
She also organized and lead trips to Paris for her students. During her tenure at IHS, Mrs. Broderick taught and mentored several students who went on to win the Modern Language Association’s national French contest.
Mrs. Broderick’s sense of adventure inspired much of what she did with her life. Not only did she relish the experiences of living in several foreign countries as a young woman, her experience as an entrepreneur and small-business owner when she returned to the United States was unusual for a woman in her era. Mrs. Broderick continued to seek out new experiences in life even after her years working in Marquette and Ishpeming came to an end. In keeping with her boundless energy, after Mrs. Broderick’s “retirement” she simply picked up yet another career as a travel agent. In that position, Mrs. Broderick not only led groups to the countries where she had previously lived, but also explored new horizons such as Western Europe, Egypt, Russia, and Israel. She even led tour groups in China, many years before that country became an American tourist destination. After her husband’s retirement the couple moved to Sun City, Arizona, where she became active in both the Hellenic Association and the Panama Canal Society. In recent years, Mrs. Broderick became a vocal advocate for seniors, especially in regard to the importance of ensuring the integrity of caregivers and household help.
Although Mrs. Broderick visited many countries and achieved many professional goals in a manner that made her a woman ahead of her time, her family and her many friends will miss Natalia-the mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend-the most. She was a passionate animal lover whose beloved Maltese terriers loved her in return and were never far from her side. She kept a home that was warm and filled with love, and when she expected family members to visit, always had an entire turkey cooked and ready to eat, no matter what the time of day-or season of the year. She was an impressive piano player whose patience for listening to her less-experienced family members practicing on her piano was even more impressive. Most of all, she was an outstanding and inspiring woman who fostered a love of adventure in the younger members of her family and encouraged them to work hard to realize their dreams.
Mrs. Broderick is survived by her two children: Thomas A. (Sharon) Broderick of Aurora, Illinois, and Kathryn L. Broderick of Portland, Oregon; four grandchildren: Stephanie Wellman of Marquette, Credence (Xavier) Sol of Chevanceaux, France, R. Marie (Chris) Smith of Pell City, Alabama, and Destry Broderick of Aurora, Illinois; and ten great grandchildren: Anne Marie Wellman, Dallas Wellman, Tyler Wellman, Rafael Fogo-Schensul, Didier Sol, Bruno Sol, Cecilia Sol, Amelia Sol, Matilda Smith, and Izabelle Smith. Mrs. Broderick was also the loving “mom” of two Maltese terriers, Ellie and Lucy.
Mrs. Broderick was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and her brother, Thomas Bender, Jr.
Mrs. Broderick’s family wishes to thank her caregivers for their compassionate, sensitive, and kind care.
A memorial service for Mrs. Broderick will be held this summer. Mrs. Broderick’s obituary may also be viewed at www.ranfranz&vine.com, where relatives and friends may leave a note of remembrance.