CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — When Pat McShosh was just 5 years old, she remembers the day when her vacation trip to the family cottage near Crystal Lake came to an end and she and her family had to return to their home in Dearborn.
But McShosh didn’t want to leave.
Her mother placed her in the car and McShosh cried and sobbed uncontrollably for the next five hours on their way home.
When McShosh and her family arrived home in Deerborn, her mother, Della, turned to her father, John, and said, “We’ve lost her to Crystal, I just know that’s where her heart is — that’s her home.”
Today, McShosh lives in the house that she and her mother built together, next door to the cottage where she spent her summers as a child on Thelma Street. She has been a year-round resident for many years and officially calls Crystal her home.
It is that unbreakable spirit from such a young age and her connection to the Crystal area and community that led members of the Crystal Area Chamber of Commerce to select McShosh as this year’s Crystal Fourth of July grand marshal.
“I couldn’t believe it, I don’t know why I was chosen, but I’m very honored,” McShosh said. “To me, to be selected as the grand marshal has always been a big deal.”
Janet Shy of the Chamber of Commerce said it was McShosh’s genuine passion for the community that led the Chamber to select her as grand marshal.
“Pat has been a positive contributor to Crystal for many years as both a business owner and as a volunteer for many organizations,” Shy said. “Pat genuinely cares for Crystal and not only for the people who have lived in the town for many years, but also for those that just stop in for a visit.”
McShosh’s business experience spreads all over the small downtown Crystal area. At one point she owned and managed the Crystal Movie Theatre, a small theatre with one screen, which is still around today. She ventured around and purchased The Lakeside Hotel and Bar, Tugboat Annie’s, The Cove, and the Junction Furniture and Gift Shop, with a goal to keep any building from staying empty.
“When I started The Junction, I started to buy up empty properties,” McShosh said. “I never could understand why buildings were empty. I always had a vision for Crystal, and it didn’t involve empty buildings and empty lots. I always had a vision of kids being safe and welcomed, like my childhood. I always want Crystal to have that.”
McShosh says it was her personal goal to keep places from being deserted or in trouble when she had the means to do so.
“With the movie theatre, I just couldn’t see the town without a theatre,” she said. “I bought it and managed it as long as I could, and now it is back in the hands of the family I originally bought it from. It’s doing well today.”
According to Chamber of Commerce Secretary Tara Chapko, McShosh was instrumental in establishing the Crystal ArtFest 32 years ago.
“She regularly donates time and items to events such as Run the Lake and Crystal’s annual Easter Egg and Halloween events,” Chapko said. “She’s a very humble lady.”
McShosh will partake in the Crystal Fourth of July parade at 10 a.m. Thursday.
In looking back at her selection as this year’s grand marshal, McShosh said she will continue to reflect up on the life of her father.
“I had fabulous parents that just allowed me to think my thoughts,” she said. “My father believed that you have to give back and be a good neighbor, as well as a trusted friend. I try very hard to honor that.”
Other events at the Crystal Fourth of July festival include a light parade around Crystal Lake at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, a sky lantern release around Crystal Lake at 10 p.m. Thursday, a fireworks show on Crystal Lake at 10:30 p.m. Thursday and a business open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Crystal.