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Northville Downs\' Margaret Zayti dies

August 23, 2007

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Margaret Zayti, who began working at Northville Downs in Michigan in 1947 and retired as its executive manager in 2004, died Monday at her home in Northville after a long illness at the age of 86.


\"She was just a tremendously generous person,” said Northville Downs’ general manager and co-owner Lou Carlo. “When she was in your corner, she was in your corner 100 percent. I could never appreciate her enough.”


Mrs. Zayti was born May 31, 1921, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with her family moving to the Detroit area shortly thereafter. She graduated from Northville High School and then married Julius Zayti in 1942, and the two established the trucking company J.J. Zayti Trucking, which closed in 2002.


Mrs. Zayti’s involvement at Northville Downs came three years after the track opened in the Northwest suburbs of Detroit. She served in several capacities, including switchboard operator and administrative clerk. In 1968, she became a partner in the racetrack. She also served as secretary for the Northville Community Chamber of Commerce for 11 years, a United Fund volunteer for three years, and helped re-establish the annual Northville Fair.


Mrs. Zayti is survived by a daughter, Sherry Roark; a son, Michael; grandchildren Michelle, James II, Ryan and Todd; great-grandchildren, Rachel, Jake and Drew; a sister, Yvonne Balconi; and a brother, George Van Hellemont. She was predeceased by a son, James, and two sisters, Irene Klopp and Lillian Elm.


Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Northrop-Sassaman Funeral Home, 19091 Northville Road, Northville, Mich. Memorial contributions may be sent to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, which can be contacted at (888) 888-3317.

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