Life Story / Obituary
Selfless and devoted to the family she loved, Carole Brown lived her life to the fullest. Known for her love of people, she held a special place in her heart for her grandchildren. Carole modeled a strong work ethic and compassion for all others. She leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her many special friends and family to cherish forever.
Carole’s story began during a time that was marked by WWII. It was 1942 and families in the United States were experiencing a gas rationing of only three gallons of gas a week and a new breed of movies with war themes were debuting. During the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Robert and Charlotte Hazewinkel were pleased to announce the birth of their baby girl, Carole Rae, on November 11th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born an only child, her birth brought much joy and promise in an era of great change.
Growing up in Ionia, Carole lived a typical childhood of the times, except for losing her dad when she was the tender age of two years old. Her mother remarried Herbert Haag who adopted her. When she was in her teens, her parents welcomed home two additional children; her stepsister, Cyndy, and her stepbrother, Russ. Carole enjoyed attending local schools and playing clarinet in her high school band. She was a proud member of Job’s daughters and attended both Baptist and Methodist churches with her family. With the whole world set before her, Carole graduated with the Class of 1960 from Ionia High School.
Carole met the man of her dreams, Lawrence Brown, who was working at her grandfather’s service station. The two of them hit it off right from the start and made plans to marry on August 19, 1961. The happy couple vacationed in the popular destination of Niagara Falls for their honeymoon. Lawrence continued working at his father’s bank, while Carole stayed home to raise their three children; Robin, Scott, and Craig.
As a family, they made many special memories. They enjoyed countless picnics and traveling to Roger City to visit relatives. The kids have fond memories of taking turns staying at the Haag grandparents' home in the summers. Carole made sure that the holidays were always special and that her family felt her love. She wanted nothing but the best for every one of them. At Christmastime, she would go all out decorating the tree with tinsel and garland and preparing all kinds of homemade dishes to share during the season. A highlight was always saving enough time to bake Christmas cookies with her family. They moved from Grand Rapids to Livonia and back again. Lawrence made a commute to South Bend for work and returned home on the weekends. This made a busy life for Carole, but she wouldn’t have traded raising her kids for anything!
Once her children were grown, Carole started on entrepreneurial phase by selling Avon products. She was a beloved representative for forty-two years before she retired in 2010. During her time with the company, Carole extended herself to her clients by taking them meals and driving them to doctor appointments. She treated them like family. Her big smile and bubbly personality were a great fit for making others feel special and beautiful. In her free time, she also loved tending to her flower beds and feeding the birds and backyard creatures. She loved taking care of her home and being a constant friend to others. A common thread throughout Carole’s life was the importance of friends and family.
Lawrence and Carole shared a beautiful journey. They enjoyed dating throughout their married years together by going bowling, dancing, and riding with the Goldwing group for day trips to visit areas around the state. A special trip to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary was a trip to Hawaii. Carole was in awe of the tropical plants and flowers. In 2013, Carole moved to Vista Springs where she made many special friends. Sadly, after Lawrence retired, he suffered a stroke and passed away in 2015. Carole remained at Vista Springs and leaned on her friends and family to see her through her loss. She kept active and social by visiting the other residents and staff. Described as the sweetest person, Carole will be deeply missed. Her loving and nurturing ways were her greatest legacy. May her loved ones hold on to her special memories and allow them to warm their hearts for many years to come.
Carole R. Brown, age 81 of Grand Rapids, passed away January 12, 2024. She was preceded in death by her parents, Herbert and Charlotte Haag; husband, Lawrence Brown; son-in-law, Gerry Whiteman; and grandsons, William and Lawrence Clellan. Carole is survived by her children; Robin Whiteman, Scott Brown, and Craig (Susan) Brown; grandchildren Ricky (Amy) Clellan, and Nicole (James Gilder) Clellan; four-legged great-grandchildren; siblings, Russ Haag and Cyndy (Kurt) May; and nieces and nephews.
The service to remember and celebrate her life will be held on Thursday, January 18 at 1 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave. NE where friends may visit with her family for one hour prior to the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions to a charity of one's choice are appreciated. To share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com