Marquette native gets surprise visit from President Obama

MARQUETTE – It was just an average Wednesday for Marquette native Tricia Belmore-Szasz when she suddenly got the word: In 20 minutes, Barack Obama, the President of the United States, would be at her shop, Parkville Artisans’ Studio in Parkville, Mo.

This big surprise happened this week to the 1988 graduate of Marquette Senior High School.

“Meeting the President of the United States? Very surreal. To hang with the President for 15 minutes, not something a kid from Trowbridge Park expects to have happen when she grows up,” Belmore-Szasz said in an email.

A 1992 graduate of Northern Michigan University with a degree in architecture, Belmore-Szasz moved to downstate Lansing in 1992, raising a family and running her businesses, Trowbridge Construction, Warner Homes and JRW Insurance, while also selling real estate.

In 2006, she retired and moved to the Kansas City, Mo., area. It was just this past April when she opened Parkville Artisans’ Studio, a working studio and art gallery.

Belmore-Szasz said she was a bit stunned to hear Obama was heading her way.

“All politics aside, he was a very personable and engaging guy,” Belmore-Szasz wrote. “So much so that I really didn’t get that star-struck feeling. It was just like talking with any other visitor asking about the gallery/studio.

“Though I was truly in awe to see President Obama trading tips with my 14-year-old son (Jackson) on how to impress ‘the ladies,’ ” Belmore-Szasz shared. “(He was) advising my son to keep up the artwork, ‘the ladies love that artsy side in men’ said Obama.

“With only 20 minutes notice, his arrival caught us all off guard, but the experience was one my son and I will never forget.”

Belmore-Szasz’s mother, Joan Belmore Sandille, still lives in Marquette as does Belmore-Szasz’s brother Ralph Belmore plus, as she puts it, “about a hundred nieces and nephews.”

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240. Her email address is