Mary C. Lonseth-Sauer, 83, a longtime promoter of events, concerts, and stage productions who was known as "Toledo Mary" to the busloads of tourists she brought to the Glass City, died Saturday of cancer in Toledo Hospital.
Her son, Kevin Lonseth, said she recently went into the hospital for what she thought was the flu but was diagnosed with liver cancer or pancreatic cancer.
Mrs. Lonseth-Sauer of Ottawa Hills and her son began Mary's Enterprises Theater Services in 1982 to book area events.
The business under their direction grew to employ 12 people and brought more than 150 concerts to the Stranahan Theater and also planned events in Florida, Michigan, and the Carolinas.
The company also booked concerts and events at SeaGate Convention Centre and the University of Toledo's Savage Hall.
The mother and son partners also organized bus trips through their company, MET Tours, bringing thousands of visitors to Toledo.
"I can find fun in anything," she told The Blade for a story in 2011 that chronicled her accomplishments in tourism.
A native of Peoria, Ill., she came to the area in 1967 with her first husband, the late Robert Lonseth, who was an engineer. They and their five children settled in Sylvania.
In the mid 1970s, she began booking bus trip packages geared to Canadians for destinations, shopping, and events in Toledo. The then-popular Westgate Dinner Theater, Top of the Tower restaurant in the former Fiberglas Tower, Commodore Perry Hotel, and the Toledo Museum of Art were among the venues on the three-day excursions.
"The Canadians were the best because of customs. They had to stay over for two nights. It was good for the hotels. They liked it," Mr. Lonseth said.
She and Robert Lonseth divorced in 1983 after 30 years of marriage. Many years later after their split, she was at a class reunion in Peoria when she became reacquainted with Jack Sauer. They were married July 5, 2002.
A devout Catholic, Mrs. Lonseth-Sauer was a eucharistic minister at Gesu Church. Her son said she went to Mass daily after she swam at Wildwood Athletic Club and before she went to the office in Maumee.
"She was always go, go, go," Mr. Lonseth said.
Surviving are her son, Kevin Lonseth; daughters Laura Satchewell, Maureen Rohrs, Julie Lonseth, and Christina Haack; 12 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial Mass is to be Friday at 10:30 a.m. in St. Pius X Church.
Walker Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
The family suggests tributes to Toledo Salvation Army or the charity of the donor's choice.
-- Mark Reiter