Dec 13th 1932 - Jun 25th 2012
When reflecting on the life of Carl Straus, it is easy to see the enormous impact he made in the lives of those around him. He was a man of great character - an honest and hardworking businessman, devoted family man, and servant of the Lord he loved. Carl was an outstanding member of the community he called home throughout his life, and as a man who never met a stranger, he was loved by those too numerous to count. He leaves behind a shining legacy rich in generosity, integrity, and unending love toward others that will be proudly carried on by those who follow him.
The 1930s were a trying time in our nation’s history due to the unrelenting grip of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, and to make matters worse there was a debilitating drought that gripped our nation’s heartland, adding further strain to an already crippled agricultural industry. Despite the hardship around them, a bustling family from Beal City, Michigan, was thrilled to welcome a healthy baby boy into their hearts and home on December 13, 1932. Carl Christian was the seventh of twelve children born to his parents, Herbert and Florence (Emmons) Straus, and he was raised in the family home alongside his older siblings, Gerald, Ladonna, Max, Paul, Larry, and Arthur, and his younger siblings, Margaret, Earl “Pete,” Carolyn, Fred, and Nancy. As part of such a large family he shared a room with his brothers, which left Carl with hardly a corner to call his own. His father was a farmer and the family worked in the slaughter-house while his mother was a busy homemaker.
For the most part Carl experienced a childhood that was reflective of the times. Through his work on the farm he established his strong work ethic that would be his constant companion. Carl enjoyed his work and was especially drawn to the butchering side of things and thought perhaps he would be a meatpacker someday. He attended local schools including Beal City High School where he was a member of the very first football team. Carl went on to graduate from high school in 1952.
As a young man Carl served in the United States Army during the days of the Korean Conflict. He was one of the lucky ones, though, who was able to remain stateside throughout his time in the military.
Life was forever changed for Carl when he met the young gal who stole his heart. Her name was Mary Ann “Susie” Wejrowski, and they met at a party. As the story goes Susie pulled up, and she couldn’t help but notice the handsome young man in the path of her car’s headlights. Right then and there she announced that he would be the young man she would marry. She went on to date that young man, Carl Straus, and it wasn’t long before the couple found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to build a life together the lovebirds were united in marriage on November 12, 1955, at Sacred Heart.
A bit later the couple was thrilled to become parents to six wonderful children: Carla, Craig, Brian, Julie, Erick, and Emily. Carl’s children would all agree that as fathers go they got the very best. He knew how to love them in their own unique way, and they each in turn felt as though they were his favorite.
To support his family Carl worked as a mason who owned and operated Straus Masonry, Inc. since 1965. Nothing made him happier than incorporating the business with his sons in 1988. With his selfless heart, Carl also mentored other young masons who were just getting started in the business.
Family time was always of the utmost importance to Carl. Some of their favorite family times were spent at the cottage in Grayling. There were also vacations on Lake Bellaire that were a tradition with Carl’s family during the summer - a gathering they fondly called “Week 52.”
Throughout his life Carl’s life was enriched in so many ways. His faith played a major role, and he was a longtime member of St. Joseph the Worker Church where he was actively involved. One of Carl’s main acts of service was as the head usher there for many years. He was also the Grand Knight of the Beal City Knights of Columbus Council 3651 and spent 16 years with the Isabella County Board of Public Works. A man who was totally committed to his community, Carl faithfully followed Beal City sports. He loved the Detroit Tigers in addition to the Detroit Lions while patiently waiting for a winning season. A loyal Michigander, Carl also liked the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings. Gardening, hunting, fishing, and cooking were other favorite activities.
There was never anything more important to Carl than spending time with those he loved. As someone who enjoyed cooking, he hosted breakfast or a barbecue at his home every Sunday. Later in life Carl loved fishing every year in the fall with his sons and grandsons, and he also traveled to Alaska, Colorado, British Columbia, and Nebraska for hunting and fishing trips with his sons and friends.
Carl Straus was a remarkable man who was honest and well respected in the community he loved. He was self sufficient, and he was also generous with his time - willing to help others in any way. Carl never searched for accolades from those around him but was content to remain behind the scenes. All who knew him would agree that there was no better man. Carl will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.
Carl Straus died on Monday, June 25, 2012. Carl’s family includes his wife, Susie Straus; five children, Carla (Mike) Schafer of Beal City, Brian (Mary) Straus of Beal City, Julie (Ken Fifelski) Gorno of Bellaire, Erick (Carrie) Straus of Beal City and Emily (Steve Campbell) Straus of Beal City; 16 grandchildren, Krista (Mark) Gross, Tim and Ken Schafer, Ashley Straus, Katherine, Christian, Collin, Kevin, Curtis and Kadin Straus, Clayton and Marlena Gorno, and Mason, Stone, Reagan and Casey Straus; three great-grandchildren, Jackson and Brandon Gross and Lucas Cashen; siblings, Ladonna (Cal) Havekost of Littlefield Lake, Larry (Ernestine) Straus of Drummond Island, Margaret Simmer of Beal City, Pete (Irene) Straus of Rogersville, MO, Carolyn (Larry) Mead of Beal City, Nancy (Ray) Chaplin of Pine, ID; sisters-in-law, Vera Straus of Beal City, Betty Straus of Flushing, Esther Straus of DeWitt and Peggy Straus of Beal City; and many nieces and nephews. Carl was preceded in death by his son, Craig in 1987; and brothers, Gerald, Max, Paul, Arthur and Fred. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 29, at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Beal City with Father Patrick Jankowiak presiding. Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery.
The family will receive friends at the gathering room of St. Joseph Church on Wednesday, 6-8 p.m. and Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. with the Vigil beginning at 7 p.m. Visitation continues on Friday one hour prior to Mass. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Church, Beal City Sports Boosters, Eagle Village in Hersey, MI, or Woodland Hospice. Please visit www.charlesrlux.com where you can leave a memory.