Donation fund set up for hospitalized business owner Jenny Rowell

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

Bellaire business owner and Kalkaska High School graduate Jenny Rowell (right) is pictured with her daughter Sophie, during happier days. A donation fund has been set up to assist with medical expenses for the Lunch Box proprietor, who is currently hospitalized in Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit in critical condition after being airlifted last week from Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.


BELLAIRE – A donation fund has been set up to assist with the medical expenses of a well-known Bellaire business owner who was hospitalized last week with life-threatening health issues.

It is hoped that the fund, which is being administered through Facebook, will raise at least $50,000 for Jenny Rowell, of Bellaire, who showed signs of improvement over the weekend but faces a long road to recovery.

Rowell, who with her brother Chad purchased the Lunch Box cafe late last fall from the restaurant's longtime owners Julie and Dave Budas, was initially hospitalized at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City on Saturday, May 18, after suffering at home for several days from an infection.

Listed in critical condition at Munson with severe liver damage as a result of the infection, the cafe owner was airlifted to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit on Tuesday, May 21, where she then underwent a risky surgery for a bleed on her brain, which raised doctors' concerns about possible long-term brain damage. 

Rowell remained in a coma until last weekend, when she was briefly able to open her eyes and respond to requests to wiggle her toes and squeeze her mother's hand.

A follow-up MRI scan done after the surgery on Saturday, May 25, showed no signs of damage to the brain.

A graduate of Kalkaska High School, Rowell studied culinary arts at Northwest Michigan College in Traverse City. She worked at Shanty Creek Resorts as well as The Centennial Farm Golf Course in Bellaire, where she managed the course's restaurant and pub. Rowell then worked for the Budas's at the Lunch Box as a cook and manager for six years before purchasing the restaurant with her brother last October.

Rowell has a 12 year-old daughter, Sophie, a student at Bellaire Middle School.

The restaurant, with one brief exception last week, has remained open under Chad Rowell's supervision with the assistance of Julie Budas as well as the cafe's employees and many friends. 

"Today is a good day for me and my family!” wrote Jenny's sister, Linsey, in a Facebook post last Sunday night. “My sister is so brave!! Please keep the prayers and well wishes coming for she has a long road still to come! The road to recovery will be a long one causing hardship for both Jenny and her daughter, as well as her family as they focus on healing. We are blessed to have so much love in our lives! Thank you all!"


The Review


Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 313
Bellaire, MI 49615
Phone: 231-533-5651
Fax: 231-533-4662
Physical Address: 
4470 S. M-88 Hwy.
Bellaire, MI 49615

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