LAMBERTVILLE — Angeline Dorothy Mazik, who with her late husband bred chinchillas and operated a tree nursery in Bedford Township, died Saturday at Aspen Grove Assisted Living in Lambertville.
The cause of death was undetermined as Mrs. Mazik, 86, had suffered from several debilitating illnesses, said her daughter, Chris Perry.
Mrs. Mazik was born in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and arrived in America with her parents when she was an infant.
She graduated from Woodward High School in 1946 and she took business-related classes at a secretarial school.
She and her husband, Ted, raised chinchillas while living in Toledo. The couple experienced a rare birth of sextuplets in 1951, which they said at the time were worth $1,800, according to a Toledo Times story.
The soft fur pelts were used to make coats that would sell for $20,000 to $100,000, the story said.
The Maziks made their money primarily by breeding the South American rodents and by selling a special powder called Blue Cloud that breeders used to clean the animals.
“I’m not sure my father had any success selling the pelts,” Mrs. Perry said.
My dad purchased [the powder] by the boxcar load,” she said.
With the help of a handful of teenagers, the family would transport the product from the railyard to their garage for sale to other chinchilla breeders, she said.
“There was a real market for it,” Mrs. Perry said.
In 1960 the family purchased a tree farm and moved there on Douglas Road, north of Erie Road, in Bedford Township.
The nursery turned out to be more lucrative than chinchillas, Mrs. Perry said.
Mazik’s Nursery distinguished itself by selling mostly evergreen trees for $1; the prices were kept low by having the buyers dig their own trees, she said.
Mrs. Mazik handled most of the nursery operations while her husband worked another job.
After he died in 1986, she began winding down the business and eventually sold the property.
She taught catechism to special-needs children at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance at the urging of her daughter for four years.
The two taught catechism together until her daughter went to college.
“I recruited her to teach while I was a freshman in high school,” Mrs. Perry said.
She and her husband patronized the theater, particularly when musicals were performed. They would travel to New York to see a Broadway show, and would visit Cleveland or Detroit when a show caught their fancy, Mrs. Perry said.
The couple met at a New Year’s Eve dance in Toledo shortly after Mr. Mazik left the Army and were married on May 29, 1948.
Surviving are her daughters Erica Silkstone, Kathryn Reckley, Mary Kedzierski, and Chris Perry; 11 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.
Visitation is 4 to 9 p.m. today at Walker Funeral Home, 5155 W. Sylvania Ave., and beginning at noon Tuesday at St. Clement Catholic Church, where she was a 23-year member, until her funeral Mass at 1 p.m.
The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Repertoire Theater, St. Clement Parish, or the Start High School Hall of Fame.
Contact Jim Sielicki at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.
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