Jayne E. Mackowiak of Gladstone slipped quietly into eternity on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. She was 61 years old.
Jayne was born on April 14, 1959, in Gaylord, Michigan, to Alexander and Barbara (Luzenski) Mackowiak. She was a 1977 graduate of St. Mary High School and went on to attend James Madison College and Michigan State University, graduating in 1982 with a B.A. in Criminal Justice Administration and a B.A. in Social Economics/Business. She continued her education at J.D. Thomas M. Cooley Law School and was admitted to the Michigan State Bar Association in 1985.
Jayne began her legal career as a criminal defense attorney in Traverse City. In 1987 she left her beloved Northern Michigan and relocated to the Upper Peninsula to accept the position of Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Delta County. Three years later, she took a leap of faith and hung out her own shingle in downtown Escanaba, serving the people of Delta County and beyond in matters of criminal defense, probate, and family law. For many years, she also served as a federal criminal defense attorney for the U.S. District Court for Western Michigan.
Jayne’s resume runs deep, creating a picture of who and what she was in her professional life: a dedicated and compassionate attorney committed to helping people with life’s struggles, and giving a voice to children who needed someone to be their voice. Jayne was also deeply committed to her community, serving on several boards and committees in Escanaba and Bark River. She wanted to make a difference; she wanted to give back. Seeing firsthand the tragic effect of substances on people’s lives, she became a huge advocate for The Angel Program focused on helping those with drug addictions to reclaim their lives.
In her personal life, Jayne was a lover of all sports. She coached Little League in Bark River and was an enthusiastic member of the Bark River-Harris Booster Club. She was an avid football fan (Go Packers!) and remained ever true to her MSU Spartans and Detroit Tigers. But Jayne’s real passion was for golf, and the golf course was her second home. She challenged herself regularly to beat her own best, and her crowning moment was last summer when she hit a hole-in-one on #8 at The Highland.
Jayne had a soft spot in her heart for animals, and could never resist rescuing a stray, whether it be from the animal shelter or the side of the road. She was also a horse lover, and when life overwhelmed her, she sought refuge on the back of her horse, Hershey. It was there in the saddle with the sun on her face that she found peace, and all was right with the world.
Above all else, Jayne’s love and dedication were wrapped up in family, and she would do anything at any time if someone she loved needed her. Her life revolved around her daughter and grandchildren, and they were always uppermost in her mind and in her heart.
Jayne had a deep faith and trusted in God daily to lead her in the right direction. She wanted always to ensure she was right with Him, and in light of her recent illness, was more focused than ever on that purpose. She lived every day in gratitude for all she had been given in this life, and she took nothing for granted.
May she rest in peace knowing that she had done well, that she was truly loved, and that she will forever be missed.
Jayne was preceded in death by her father, Alexander; sister, Christine Kelly; niece, Erin Lyn Kettlewell; and brother-in-law, Jim Billman.
She is survived by her daughter, Megan (Ryan Ashton) Mackowiak; grandchildren, Nathan and Ada Torres and Ivy Ashton; her mother, Barbara Mackowiak; her brother, David Mackowiak; her sisters, Karen Billman, Julie (Allan) Kettlewell, and Ellen (Tom) Smith; several nieces, nephews, and grandnephews, all of whom she loved with her whole heart, and her partner, Don Cousineau.
A visitation for family and friends will take place Monday, July 27, at Crawford Funeral Home of Escanaba from 3 to 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held in Jayne’s hometown of Gaylord on Wednesday, July 29, at 11 a.m. from St. Mary Cathedral Parish, with visitation from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service. The family respectfully requests that those attending the visitation and/or funeral service please abide by the current mandates regarding masking and social distancing. For those unable to attend services, the cathedral parish provides live streaming, which can be accessed at www.stmarycathedral.org, where viewers will find a link to the live stream.
In lieu of flowers, or for those wishing to honor Jayne’s life with a memorial contribution, the family asks that donations be made to The Angel Program or Delta Animal Shelter in care of Crawford Funeral Homes of Escanaba or Nelson Funeral Home & Cremation Service, PO Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.