Family road trip celebrates a local great-grandmother Mary Blitz’s 95th birthday.

Photos courtesy of Blitz/Wallace family

Living to age 95 is quite a feat, but Mary Blitz is doing it with good health and a zest for life that few that age can match.

Months before her 95th birthday on June 6, daughter Beverly Tepper Wallace of West Bloomfield asked her mother if she wanted a party to celebrate.

Blitz said, “No, I want to see the U.S.A. in my Chevrolet.” Wallace was surprised but agreeable, responding “OK, Dinah Shore.” (Singer Dinah Shore popularized the “See the U.S.A” song for Chevrolet during the 1950s).

So, Wallace planned a road trip for her mother, along with her two brothers — Andrew of West Bloomfield and Dennis of Chicago. In June, they drove to South Bend, Ind., to visit Blitz’ niece and her family. Then they traveled to Louisville to visit Blitz’s younger brother, David Olshansky, and his family.

But this trip was just the latest of Blitz’ travels. In 2017, Wallace decided to take her mother on a “Legacy Tour.”

“I wanted her to see her legacy. I wanted her to see how her children raised their children and how they raised her great-grandchildren,” Wallace says. “She is No. 1 in all of her children’s and grandchildren’s lives.”

Over 18 months, they traveled to San Francisco, Denver and San Antonio to visit some of Blitz’s nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

“I’m thrilled they turned out so well,” says Blitz, whose family nickname is “President O’mama.”

Originally from San Antonio, Blitz lived in the Detroit area with her late husband, Louis, for most of her life. After her children were grown, she worked in the Tamarack Camps office and was an active volunteer for B’nai B’rith Women and Children Unlimited, serving as its president.

Blitz has lived at Meer Jewish Apartments since 2010. She served as president of the residents’ board for two years and is a member of the Meer Choir. Wallace and Blitz volunteer together at the Meer boutique once a week and recently modeled in the Jewish Senior Life Senior Fashion Show.

Mary Blitz and grandchildren

Blitz is very healthy, other than arthritis requiring the use of a cane or walker. Her health is “God-given,” she says. “I eat junk food and no vegetables, except occasionally a salad.”

Recently, Blitz prepared for July 4 by having her nails embellished with a bright flag pattern. Some of her Meer friends disapproved but this didn’t bother her. “This way I don’t have to carry a flag,” she says.

Wallace enjoys Blitz’s “dry sarcasm” and says that she is “totally with it and fun to be with.”

Blitz will be on the road again this fall when she returns to San Antonio for her great-niece’s bat mitzvah. “I’m extremely grateful for a close, healthy family,” she says.

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