Center Line’s Mary Ann Zielinski remembered

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published July 14, 2021

 Mary Ann Zielinski

Mary Ann Zielinski

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CENTER LINE — Mary Ann Zielinski’s love of the city of Center Line and her dedication to serving its residents were clear during her three decades of elected service.

During that time, she became the city’s longest-serving mayor — the first woman to hold that city title — and also the first woman elected to the City Council.  

Zielinski, 81, died on July 2 at Ascension St. John Hospital in Warren.

Born in Detroit in 1939, she attended Cass Technical High School and later Macomb Community College after she moved to Center Line in 1965.

Zielinski served six years on the Center Line City Council from 1975 to 1981. She later served as mayor between 1981 and 1993, and again from 1997 to 2009.  

When she wasn’t serving in an elected capacity, Zielinski regularly attended city meetings and addressed Center Line officials about topics affecting neighborhoods and residents.

“Mary Ann was a good woman. She was a great friend of the city of Center Line and we’re all going to miss her,” Mayor Bob Binson said. “She definitely did a lot for the city. She cared a lot about everybody in the city and she showed it.”

Binson said while he and Zielinski didn’t always agree on city matters, she sometimes offered him advice pulled from her experience as mayor.

“I’m here to tell you, it’s not an easy job,” Binson said. “She always used to joke and say, ‘I bet you’re glad to see me.’ She was saying it sarcastically, but I was. Every single time.

“She always had something to say about what was going on in the city and she knew her stuff. She definitely helped me on a few occasions, and she’s going to be missed,” Binson said.

Former Center Line City Councilwoman Kathi Buckner served 12 years as an elected official, including 10 while Zielinski was the mayor.  

“I can tell you that Mary Ann was a very dedicated person to the city of Center Line,” Buckner said. “Her whole focus when she was in public office was the city and what was best for it.

“I, too, am sorry at her passing,” Buckner said.

Binson said he asked Center Line City Manager and Clerk Dennis Champine to prepare a proclamation in recognition of Zielinski and her service, to be read at the City Council meeting on July 12, after press time. He said he would also discuss with the current council what else could be done as a more permanent tribute.

According to her obituary, Zielinski is survived by her husband, Leon; her daughter, Leann; her granddaughter, Annalise; and her nephews, Mark and John. 

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