When Marge Dudeck rolled peacefully into heaven in the wee hours of January 13, 2021, she likely did it the way she lived: with style, sass, a great big smile and, most characteristically, giving a whole lotta love to everyone who was there to greet her.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Marge was a local music legend. The 1950s show, “Hoosier Favorite”, gave Marge a big break alongside Joe Kelly and Bruce Saunders as they lip synced to the days’ top hits. She then went on to perform in local piano bars and supper clubs. It was her celebrated stint at downtown South Bend’s Club Lido where she acquired the name Fabulous Marge, a moniker she claimed to dislike, but amusingly embraced. She performed with many local talents, including legendary drummer Billy “Stix” Nix, Bryan Barr, Larry Brucker, and Conner Stigner. She was the featured performer with Paul Jones at the Round Oak in Dowagiac, Michigan until her retirement a few years ago. Marge also served as the organist at Our Lady of Hungary Church, her life-long parish, a special place where, as a young girl, the nuns nurtured her musical talents. Facebook posts mentioning Marge are replete with accounts of devoted followers driving through blizzards to see her perform, of fond stories of her playing weddings and funerals, and of memories of loyal fans who became friends.
Indeed, Marge was something special. She could play hundreds of songs from memory upon request and entertain and engage a crowd with quick witted banter. She had impromptu parties on her porch with neighbors, where she held court from her wooden swing. Even at 85, she continued to embrace people of all ages and backgrounds as friends. She was the type of person you could totally be yourself around. Marge would not only listen to you, but she could most often find a way to relate to and even celebrate you. She’d straight-up tell you (usually in colorful but enduring language) if she disagreed with you. Then, in the next breath, she’d tell you that she loved you, whatever your quirks.
Marge’s journey through this life began on August 6, 1935 when she was born in South Bend to Michael and Victoria (Slavist) Wukovich. They, along with her brother, Fred Wukovich, preceded her to heaven. She graduated from Our Lady of Hungary School and South Bend Catholic High School. Her great loves and prides were her family: daughters Kristi (Tom) Richard and Victoria “Tori” Dudeck (Rob Markovich) and sons Michael Dudeck and Thomas (Debbie) Dudeck. Eight grandchildren: Andrea, Julia, Vanessa, Adam, Cassidy, Nicole, Vince, and Brett, along with five great-grandchildren: Julius, Lola, Kai, Alex and King. She also loved her daughter-in-law, Gina Dudeck.
Consummate performer that she was, Marge continued to entertain with performances at St. Paul’s in South Bend, where she lived the last few years. She brought joy to residents who delighted in hearing the songs they recalled from their youth. In her later years, she gabbed on the phone daily with her buddies Angie and Mary and enjoyed outings with friends Carol and Larry.
The lyrics of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” perfectly summarize the joy she shared as a music professional. But describing her as a beloved mom, grandma, and friend…well, we tried to convey that here, but her love, her uniqueness, really just defies words. We are all so grateful to have had this strong, vibrant, smart, hilarious, and loving woman in our lives. She leaves an indelible mark on our community and, more importantly, our hearts. You had a fabulous run, dear Marge!
Join us in celebrating a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00am on Monday, January 18, 2021 at Our Lady of Hungary Church. Burial will follow at Sacred Heart Cemetery. Viewing will take place from 2pm to 6pm Sunday in Zahoran Funeral Home, 1826 Kemble Avenue. Masks and physical distancing guidelines will be enforced. Viewing is possible through our webcast. Please visit Zoom.com. Click on “join a meeting”. The meeting ID# is 574-287-7125, then enter passcode 0000. Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s/Dementia Services. To leave a condolence, please visit our website http://www.zahoran.com or our Facebook page, Zahoran Funeral Home.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marge (Wukovich) Dudeck, please visit our floral store.
Alzheimer's & Dementia Services
P.O. Box 1835, South Bend IN 46634