Remembering the Life of the Honorable Connie Binsfeld
MAPLE CITY — Connie Berube Binsfeld, 89, of Maple City, passed from this life on Jan. 12, 2014. A loving wife, mother, grandmother and longtime resident of Glen Lake, she served her community and state as a Leelanau County Commissioner, State Representative, State Senator and eight years as Michigan’s Lt. Governor.
Born in Munising, Mich., on the shores of Lake Superior in 1924, Connie was the third child of Elsie Berube, a just-widowed school teacher. Connie never knew her father — he was tragically killed in an auto accident, leaving Elsie with two young children and a third on the way. Aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors all helped raise Connie. The sense of community she gained from growing up in Munising produced the moral foundations on which she built her life, her family and her political career.
Connie grew up during the depression in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She witnessed how thankful her mother was to have a job (even at half the pay the men made) and how thrifty she had to be to raise a young family without a husband. Education was important to this family of a teacher. Connie achieved top grades and led her classmates as president of the small student council. When the war came, her brothers, Bob and Bill, went to fight overseas. They sent their pay home so that “Sis” could go away to college.
It was a long train ride through the UP wilderness, crossing the Straits of Mackinac by ferry, then down to Adrian, Mich., where Connie attended Siena Heights College. For holidays, she frequently traveled home with classmates who lived nearby downstate. On one such visit she met a young soldier home on leave. John Binsfeld was the older brother of school chums Reet and Binnie. Connie and John fell in love and when he came out of the service they were married.