The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors proudly named Cedar Springs resident John Teusink as the 2014 Grand Marshal for the 75th Diamond Anniversary Annual Celebration, to be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014.
“I consider this a great honor,” remarked Teusink. “It’s the greatest honor I’ve ever had.”
“The Festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of John’s outstanding dedication to the Cedar Springs community,” said Michele Tracy-Andres, President of the Festival.
Teusink, 73, has lived in Cedar Springs all his life, and came by his service to the community naturally. He is the son of Dr. James (J.) Harvey Teusink and his wife Dorothy, both deceased. Dr. Teusink was a well-known doctor for many years in Cedar Springs and also served on the school board for many years. Dorothy was the first woman mayor in Cedar Springs back in the 1960s.
Teusink grew up here in town with his older brother Jack, now deceased, and his sister, Nancy Jackson, who still lives on Beech Street. He graduated in 1958 from Cedar Springs High School, which was then at Hilltop. Afterward he attended Hope College and graduated in 1962, and later earned two masters degrees in Biology—one from Central Michigan University, and one from Syracuse University. He then taught in Florida for a time, then returned home and taught at Forest Hills for six years, before moving on to Aquinas, where he taught for 32 years. In January of 1962 he retired after having a heart attack.
John was elected to the Cedar Springs City Council in November 1976, and served for 32 years, with 19 of those years as a mayor. During his time as Mayor, he married 175 couples. “I had the cheapest rate in town,” he said with a chuckle. He recalled that when he asked one couple for their marriage license, the man pulled out a fishing license. “That wouldn’t work,” he remarked. Teusink retired from the Council in 2008.
Teusink also served on the Library Board and was a member of the Cedar Springs Community Players. Mayor Linda Hunt presented him with a framed declaration proclaiming December 11, 2008 as John Teusink Day in Cedar Springs.
Teusink said his family was very good friends with Red Flannel founders Grace Hamilton and Nina Babcock.
“It’s very obvious John loves The Red Flannel Town and especially the Red Flannel Festival,” said Andres. “His connection to Festival Founders, Grace Hamilton and Nina Babcock is very special to us. The Red Flannel Town is a better place because of his involvement.”
Teusink will reign this year, the Festival’s 75th Diamond Anniversary over the two weekends of the 15th oldest Festival in the state of Michigan, sharing the Red Flannel warmth of our community with visitors and residents.