People you’d like to know: Mary (M.J.) Jane Zemek
By Mike Bellmore Journal Features Editor Mary Jane (M.J.) (Corrigan) Zemek's day starts long before dawn, producing some long, sometimes hectic days. She rolls out of bed at 3:30 or 4 a.m. during the week and spends the morning working at Hardees. Around noon, she'll head for the Devils Lake Journal where she handles three different paper routes and one Peddler route. On Thursday and Friday she has to come back to the Journal upon completion of her routes and help insert the Peddler. “It does make for some long days,” M.J. smiles. “Especially on Thursday and Friday.” It's M.J.'s way of combatting the times and the struggling economy. She says she needs the money and facing each long day is made easier by the strong work ethic instilled into her by her late parents – Mike and Ernestine Corrigan. Mike was a 35-year employee of Otter Tail Power Co. “I have a lot of nice customers on those routes,” says M.J. “I drive or walk each day. I cover from Walnut St. to 12th Ave and the Heartland Care area to Fourth St.” Needless to say, she is often dead tired by evening, and it isn't uncommon for her to be in bed by 8 p.m. Many days it's a real struggle to roll out of bed in the morning, but M.J. just keeps plugging away. “It's how we were raised,” she adds. “We were taught a work ethic.” Now the folks at Hardees are asking M.J. to spend more time there and maybe a little less at the newspaper. She says she doesn't know if she likes that idea because the paper offers her an opportunity to get out and meet people and just simply “get up and go.” Even in the bitter cold of North Dakota winters. M.J. celebrated her 50th birthday on July 4.