At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Trinity Lutheran Church
2700 Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Kindhearted, generous, and supportive, Carolyn McCready lived a life rich in family and friends. Carolyn built her life on the firm foundation of faith, the values of hard work and order, and the desire to protect those she loved. She also dedicated her life to the service of others. Always put together, she was well known for her stylish appearance, often bedecked in great jewelry, matching clothes and furs. A ready hostess who willingly gave of her time and talents, Carolyn had a keen eye for detail and an unwavering sense of duty. Though stern and regimented, she was also open to fun and adventure. Whether at work or play, cheering on her loved ones' endeavors, traveling, or giving a tour, she gave of herself fully and unapologetically. An inspiration to all who knew her, Carolyn will long be remembered and so very missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in Detroit, Michigan, as the Trosts welcomed their daughter Carolyn on April 27, 1936.
The youngest of three, Carolyn's sister and brother were 14 and 12 years older than her. She often babysat her nieces and nephews while growing up and enjoyed riding the bus downtown to attend Tigers games and shopping in the big department stores. Her father owned a printing company and later a car dealership. As a teen, she and a friend went to the factory to pick up a car for her father's business. Once behind the wheel of the Camaro, she decided to take it on a joy ride. The fun was short-lived when she was rear-ended.
As a student at Southeastern High School, Carolyn was a member of many academic clubs, including the foreign language club and the National Honor Society. She did not play sports, academics were much more important to her, but she enjoyed watching them. She went to Briggs Stadium to watch the Tigers and the Detroit Lions.
A member of the German Lutheran Church, Carolyn could understand German, but she could not speak it. She enjoyed an active social life and had a few infamous adventures along the way. Tom Selleck grew up nearby, and she knew a few Detroit Lions players, including Bobby Layne and Joe Schmidt, whom the latter she dated for a time. In the mid 50's, she and her friend went to see Elvis Presley in concert, During the bedlam after the concert, she got arrested. Fortunately, her friend's dad was the chief of police, and she was quickly released.
After high school, Carolyn attended Wayne State and worked as a stenographer for the FBI in Detroit. Responsible for "guarding" the front door, Carolyn was known to be very proper, disciplined, and diligent in her duties. This was most evident when a VIP for the FBI came in and tried to get past her. With signature firmness and resolve, she refused his entry. Her vigilance earned her a letter of accommodation from J. Edgar Hoover. She also attended some events in Detroit for the FBI including a planned picnic with a high up director to carefully watch a communist event taking place in the city.
Carolyn married her first husband in Detroit, and they moved to Muskegon, Michigan, but the marriage did not last long. While the marriage was short, it blessed her with her first son Craig. She and Craig lived in a small duplex in Grand Rapids following the divorce, and Carolyn worked as a legal secretary in Grand Rapids. After first meeting in the elevator in the building they both worked, Gordon McCready found himself quite smitten with Carolyn. Determined to take her on a date, Gordon made it a habit to stop into her third-floor office on his way to the seventh floor where he worked to ask her out. As Gordon was thirteen and a half years older and not her type, Carolyn readily declined his invitations. Unswayed by her refusals, Gordon persisted and eventually "wore her down." Carolyn agreed to a date in hopes of getting him to quit asking.
After a fine dinner, Gordon took Carolyn to his cottage on Bills Lake in Newaygo, where they watched the Tigers game under the close supervision of his mother, who was also at the cottage and firmly laid down the ground rules for their date. Despite Carolyn's original lack of interest, she and Gordon continued to spend time together and found themselves deeply in love. With their hearts set on building a future together, Carolyn and Gordon married on September 18, 1965, at the Methodist Church in Sparta, Michigan.
After honeymooning along the east coast and to Niagara Falls, Gordon and Carolyn settled into married life and parenting Craig together. Gordon welcomed four-year-old Craig as his own and proved a wonderful father. Motivated by a strong desire to provide well for Carolyn and Craig, Gordon surprised his family by purchasing a home in East Grand Rapids. Once adjusted to the surprise and move, they came to very much enjoy his perfect pick.
A year after marrying, Carolyn and Gordon welcomed their son Mark, and four years later, their son Doug completed the family. She and Gordon travelled every year including trips out East with friends and even a trip to Hawaii. Carolyn was very involved as a mother. Supportive and protective, she proudly attended many sporting events and encouraged their academic endeavors. She was also a great support to Gordon as he continued his work as an CPA. The family took many vacations and even traveled by motorhome at times to every state east of the Mississippi River, including travels to Disney and the Northeast. They also enjoyed time at their cottage on Bills Lake in Newaygo, where Carolyn had a large vegetable garden and enjoyed reading books while laying out in the sun. A voracious reader, Carolyn must have read over a million books in her lifetime, especially enjoying romance, thrillers, and horrors. They held season tickets at the Civic Theater and had many lifelong friends who they called the "Good Time Gang." The gang's annual picnic and celebration was a highlight event each year for the 4th of July at the lake.
Prim, proper, and always well-kept, Carolyn possessed an insatiable curiosity and loved to learn. She was well-studied and had many interests. She was a good cook and would bake just for the sake of baking. She also loved to knit and left behind countless blankets and towels throughout the family. Gardening was another love of hers and she always was proud of her vast assortment of flowers that grew in her yard. When her kids were young, she volunteered as a den mother and Sunday school teacher and was involved with the Parent-Teacher Association. She was also a member of the Guild at Blodgett Hospital, the Junior League of Grand Rapids and served on a large number of committees at Trinity Lutheran Church. Carolyn also enjoyed shopping and loved to decorate her home for every season.
After Gordon retired, Carolyn returned to working as a secretary at the law office. In 1994, they sold their home and bought a condo in NE Grand Rapids. Once she retired too, she and Gordon enjoyed spending more time traveling. Their adventures took them on a number of bus tours, and on memorable trips to Europe visiting each family's origins in Scotland and Germany. Visits with their son and daughter in law, Mark and Carol, in California, were always a good time including an Alaskan cruise with them. They also loved going dancing at the Boat and Canoe club every Friday. Later in life, Carolyn enjoyed spending time with her grandkids. She took them to picnics, spent time at the beach, and enjoyed visits to the zoo and Frederick Meijer Gardens where she was a docent. She loved taking them through the butterfly exhibit each year and at Christmas time. She would always bring a cooler full of snacks and drinks to sporting events, and her grandsons would run to her after playing before they would go to mom and dad. Many good times were spent together watching sports, SpongeBob, and Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Carolyn's final years were spent at Vista Springs in Grand Rapids where she was loved by many. She spent her days playing Bingo and other games but also continuing her reading and watching the Tigers and Lions games. She would still have the same smile when her kids and grandkids came to visit and loved hearing about their lives.
Though the world feels less certain in the absence of Carolyn's steadfast companionship, may we find comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in carrying her legacy forward. In each moment we seek to grow and learn, give of our time and talents, open our doors to guests, dress to the nines, curl up with a good book, and support and protect our loved ones, we celebrate the many ways Carolyn gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired each of us.
Carolyn Eleanore McCready, age 86 of Grand Rapids, passed away March 29, 2023. She was preceded in death by her husband Gordon McCready in 2018; and her siblings. She is survived by her children Craig (Bev) Vanderstelt, Mark (Carol) McCready, and Doug (Lynda) McCready; grandchildren Zachary, Brianna and Lok Vanderstelt, Matthew, Jonathan and David McCready; Great-grandchildren Meadow, Barrett and Elena McCready; as well as nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Carolyn's life will be held on Saturday, April 15, 2023, 10:30 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE where friends are invited to visit with her family from 9 AM until the time of the service. All guests are invited to a light lunch following the funeral. Interment in Greenwood Cemetery in Sparta. To read more about Carolyn's life, to share a favorite memory or to sign her guestbook, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.