By Jim Bloch
The man everyone knew as Tuna had just brought Marysville Golf Course superintendent Brian Lentz a breakfast sandwich and then headed out to the 17th tee to plant sunflowers and other wildflowers in an area he had cleared.
Minutes later, Lentz got the word that his best friend had dropped dead.
Charlie “Tuna” Peyrek died May 4, 2021. He was 71.
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Lentz addressed the Marysville City Council at its regular meeting May 9 and talked about the new lodge and patio being built at the golf course in memory of Peyrek.
“Today is a good day,” said Lentz. “We’ve been working on this project for about a year now. I want to talk for just a minute about who Charlie Peyrek was and what he did in his life. Charlie loved donating time to any organization. He was always busy. He helped me for many years with projects at the golf course. He spent his entire life helping people. He transported senior citizens. He worked at the soup kitchen. He built homes for Habitat for Humanity… The guy was something else. At Marysville High School when his kids were growing up, he was always building the set for the band.”
Peyrek graduated from Marysville High in 1968.
“He was always laughing,” Lentz said. “He was always in charge of the newsboys. He was in charge of a group of people who did highway cleanups. The man was a giving man.”
Lentz and Peyrek often talked about constructing a lodge and a patio facing the St. Clair River where the tent stood at the golf course. That idea sparked the fundraiser for the memorial Charlie “Tuna” Peyrek Memorial Lodge and Patio. The goal was to raise $150,000 for the project.
“We will have the entire amount to get this building done,” said Lentz. “And we will continue to generate and look for money to get the patio done.”
Not one cent of taxpayer money will be spent on the facility, said City Manager Randy Fernandez.
The lodge will be 40-feet by 64-feet with six eight-by-10 foot insulated roll-top doors to allow the breezes off the river to cool the facility. It will sit on a four-inch concrete pad. The siding consists of steel shaped to look like logs. It will sport a green metal roof. The building will feature two three-foot insulated entry doors and four four-by-three-foot insulated windows.
“It looks fantastic,” Lentz said. “And no maintenance. If we would have built a regular log cabin building we would have had years and years of maintenance.”
One supporter of the project is donating a $1,000+ sign that says “Tuna’s Lodge.” Griffin International donated a furnace and Shirkey Electric will donate the electrical work.
The council voted unanimously to award the project to D&D Construction, of Jeddo, at a cost of $112,000. About $100,000 has been raised to date.
“This will give us a permanent structure at the golf course,” said Fernandez. “As you know, years ago, we had no alcohol at the golf course. We had no tent.”
SMR donated the tent that served as a shelter during outings until it was damaged in a storm; it’s in the process of being repaired. Alcohol sales were approved about five years ago.
“But no golf course can make it without outings,” Fernandez said.
The new building and the club’s liquor license will put the course on track to continue to make money. The lodge will be available for rentals for weddings and other events.
The goal is to have the lodge up and running in time to host the St. Clair County Community College golf outing July 22.
To donate, send a check to Marysville Golf Course, 1255 Delaware, Marysville MI 48040, referencing Tuna’s Lodge and Patio.
Donation levels are Purple (Lead Sponsor), $10,000; Platinum. $5,000; Diamond, $2,500; Gold, $1,000; Silver, $500; Emerald, $250; Bronze, $100; and White, $1-99.
Fernandez and council member Paul Wessel became an Emerald donors.
Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.