Life Story / Obituary
In the heart of Gordon McCready there was no greater joy than the love of family. With quiet strength, he was a friend of many and a stranger to none. He was always willing to lend a hand, and his company was always a welcome addition to any conversation. As the foundation of his family, he worked hard to provide for those he loved, and as their foundation, he lead by way of example with integrity, kindness and compassion. Gordon forged a way for himself in life, relying on his strengths and abilities, which were many. Deeply missed, he will be fondly remembered by those who knew him best.
Gordon’s story began during a decade of industrial expansion within the U.S. at a time of prosperity and good fortune. Born on October 10, 1922 in Sparta, Michigan, Gordon Lyle McCready was the son of O.T. and Winifred McCready. Although a brother died in infancy, Gordon was raised in the company of his older brother, Kenneth. Their parents divorced when they were youngsters which resulted in Gordon spending some time in foster care until his father remarried, at which time he then went on to live there. Fortunately, his parents all got along and the fact that his mother lived across the street allowed Gordon to frequently see his mother with whom he was close. Known for her spunky spirit, Gordon treasured times spent with her.
The Great Depression created hardship for all and Gordon’s family was no exception. Even so, Gordon was a young man of his generation. During his youth he came to love the outdoors where he experienced many boyhood adventures. He often went fishing with his dad, enjoyed many friendships and loved playing ball. Gordon went on to attend Sparta High School where he played basketball and baseball for the Sparta Spartans. Following high school, he furthered his education by attending Hearneys Community College in Grand Rapids pursuing a degree in accounting all while working in his chosen profession to earn a living.
With World War II well underway, Gordon was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army, joining the 88th Division in Italy. As fate would have it, a non-combat injury brought him to the medic where it was soon discovered Gordon could type and was good with numbers. These skills found him reassigned to the Quartermaster Company. Although proud of his service, he struggled with his fateful reassignment once he discovered that many of his former comrades were killed in combat, yet he was not.
After returning to the states, Gordon continued where he left off working for the accounting firm, Touche Ross which eventually became Deloite Touche. Well respected in his work, it came to be the only job he ever had, remaining with the company until his eventual retirement at the age of 65. For most of that time he worked in the same building, primarily auditing non-profit entities including cities, school districts, and hospitals. Gordon loved his work and came to know many people through his work associations. An outgoing and personable fellow, he could talk with anyone about any subject matter and found himself included in many conversations.
In 1948, Gordon purchased a cottage on beautiful Bills Lake in Newaygo. He absolutely loved it there, especially fishing, and spent as much time as he could there. When not at the cottage or working, Gordon kept busy as an active bowler and golfer, even joining several leagues. He had a regular Saturday tee time, and after acquiring his pilot’s license he had ownership in a plane for a time. He was also actively involved in the Masonic Lodge with the Shriners, Kiwanis, was a member of the Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club and he had property in the Upper Peninsula.
Gordon lived a full life, yet something was missing. Having worked on the seventh floor for many years, there was a woman on the third floor that he passed each day. Truth be told, he took notice of Carolyn (Trost) VanderStelt on more than one occasion and finally decided to ask her out. Although Gordon was persistent in asking Carolyn to lunch or dinner, she resisted for quite some time. She eventually agreed, only so he would quit asking her. Gordon really wooed Carolyn. He treated her to a nice dinner and then they headed up to Bills Lake to his cottage where they watched the Tiger’s game. His mother was also at the cottage and most certainly laid down the ground rules!
After that first date the couple began spending more and more time together. Finding themselves deeply in love, they were happily married on September 18, 1965 at the Methodist Church in Sparta. They honeymooned on the east coast that began a tradition of visiting the coast nearly every fall as it became one of their favorite places together. Carolyn brought her four year old son, Craig into their union and Gordon took him on as his own and was a wonderful father to him.
Gordon was used to making decisions on his own, and wanting the best for Craig, he surprised Carolyn with a house in East Grand Rapids, and without talking to her first, but the house was more than perfect. In time they added the blessing of two more sons with the births of Mark and Doug. Carolyn made a wonderful home for Gordon and their boys. He enjoyed Carolyn’s cooking and loved anything when it came to food, but his favorite was chocolate and popcorn. As a family they enjoyed many trips together including baseball games, zoos and museums.
Gordon provided well for his family and in his own way made each of his children feel special. Often a quiet man, it was easy to wonder if he heard you say something or not, but then he’d surprise you with something, showing he had been listening all along. With quiet faith, Gordon for many years faithfully attended Trinity Lutheran Church. While there he helped count the collection and also served as head usher for a time. Those who served with him knew how diligent he was in those responsibilities.
Gordon continued working hard. He was always very busy during tax season yet he didn’t give up many of his favorite activities. Talking about and watching sports was something that brought the family together as they rarely missed a Tigers game whether on radio or TV, and they faithfully followed the Detroit Lions as well Michigan football. In retirement, he and Carolyn enjoyed more traveling and took two trips to Europe. They were regulars at the Civic Theater, Picnic Pops, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Boat and Canoe Club and the VFW in Comstock Park. For many years they looked forward to regular gatherings with their "Good Time Gang" which was always a good time, especially their Fourth of July parties at the cottage.
Throughout his life, Gordon was to go-to guy for anything that needed to be done. He was handy with his hands and knew how to take care of things. Whatever needed to be done, whether a repair or simply helping someone out, Gordon was always there to make it happen or do it himself. He was quite a talent when it came to building model airplanes. They were radio controlled, and in size from small to full quarter scale planes. He had done some when he was younger, but picked it up again when he was older.
When grandchildren entered the picture, Gordon was already retired and life was more happy-go-lucky for him. He was a fun man and enjoyed his time with the kids. They will remember him in his condo, in his rocking chair, likely watching sports, or old westerns and movies. If they were around he never hesitated to watch cartoons with them. Gordon was encouraging of his grandchildren and supported them by attending their various events.
In Gordon’s later years, he gave you his full attention. He listened patiently, and offered advice when needed. His kind and compassionate ways were evident as he gave his all to everyone he encountered. With ways all his own, he conveyed to others how much they meant to him. He found his greatest joy in the family he dearly loved, and through his strengths, abilities and sound integrity, he was admired greatly. It wasn’t until the last several years when Gordon experienced some challenges that things began to change for him. After suffering two strokes, he moved into Vista Springs in April of 2017 where he spent the remainder of his days. Deeply loved, Gordon leaves a lasting legacy always to be remembered.
Gordon Lyle McCready, age 95 of Grand Rapids, passed away September 15, 2018. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Carl and Kenneth. Gordon is survived by his wife, Carolyn; children Craig (Bev) VanderStelt, Mark (Carol) McCready, and Doug (Lynda) McCready; grandchildren Zachary, Brianna and Lok VanderStelt, Matthew, Jonathan and David McCready; stepsisters, Mary Jean Herwaldt and Shirley McFall; as well as several nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Gordon's life will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2018, 11:30 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE where friends are invited to visit with his family from 10 AM until the time of the service. Interment in Greenwood Cemetery in Sparta. To read more about Gordon's life, to share a favorite memory or to sign his guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.