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Life Story / Obituary
Throughout her rich and rewarding life, it was easy to see that Carol Egner lived to love and serve others in ways both great and small. She was never one to worry about the little things in life, rather, she took everything in stride and could find the blessings even in the difficult things. Carol was a loving and devoted wife and mother, but she just may have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother later in life. Although she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, she always did so in a kind and genuine way. Life will never be the same without Carol here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
The 1930s were some of the darkest days we have faced as a nation as the harsh realities of the Great Depression were felt in cities, communities, and families all across our great land. There were few jobs, which meant that people often lost their homes in the process. Despite the trials around them, Dennis and Isabel (Provo) McGillen were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Carol Isabel on Christmas Day, December 25, 1938, in Crump, Michigan. She was the younger of two girls as she was joined in her family by her older sister, Norma. Carol’s father was a farmer while her mother was a homemaker. Her parents divorced when she was a young girl.
Once her parents were divorced, Carol continued living with her father on the vegetable/chicken farm and experienced an upbringing that was fairly typical for the youth of her generation. She worked hard on the farm with her father, often driving the tractor. Carol’s father later met and then married a woman they called “Toots,” and with this marriage three more children were born. They were a loving family, and Carol was especially close to her half-brother, Dave, he always referred to Carol as his brother. In turn, she had a great respect for Dave as well. She went to school in Pinconning and graduated in 1956. She continued working on the farm until she found work elsewhere, and Carol eventually went to work at a bank in Bay City where she rented a room.
It was soon after moving to Bay City that Carol met the young man who would change the course of her life forever. His name was Harold “Jack” Egner, and he was also renting a room. He asked Carol out for pizza, and he made it known that it was love at first sight. Carol soon found herself deeply in love as well, and the rest is history as they say. After dating for one year, the sweethearts were married at a local Catholic church on April 18, 1959. After a honeymoon at Niagara Falls, Carol and Jack lived in Kaleva, Michigan, where Carol worked in a bank while Jack worked at the family’s corner store. They enjoyed camping, and because Carol had never been outside of Michigan they began camping all over the United States in a tent. After a couple of years, Carol and Jack moved to Grand Rapids in search of better job opportunities. They purchased a home at 1204 Maplerow, NW, and this became the place they called home for the rest of their married lives. Together they welcomed two sons, Dennis and Kenneth, into their hearts and home. Carol was actively involved in the lives of her children, and some of their favorite family memories were made while camping when their children were young. They even went camping out West and to Florida. As the boys grew older they liked snowmobiling in the UP, often in Newberry. As a family they were members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
Throughout her life Carol was one to keep busy. Once her boys were in school, Carol started working as a recess aide and a special education aide for Kenowa Hills Public Schools. These working hours allowed Carol to be there to care for her family and also prepare meals and keep a home. Among her family favorites were her scalloped potatoes and ham and also her pork chops and ice cream rolls. When she was younger Carol played recreational softball, and she even coached for one year. She liked to crochet, and later in life she enjoyed going to Vegas with her husband and friends. Carol continued working until retiring after 38 years as a school aid in 2006 to care for her husband.
Later in life Carol continued to embrace the days she was given. During their retirement years, she and Jack enjoyed going out for coffee in the mornings, usually at Big Boy in Standale. After Jack’s death in 2008, Carol became a regular at Peppermill and even had her own coffee mug there. She would often say she liked her coffee hot, strong, and black, and she then continued to joke by saying, “ The same way I like my men.” From the moment Carol became a grandmother her grandchildren were her whole world, and she cherished every moment they spent together. Her family became even more important to her after Jack’s death. Carol loved going out to dinner with family and friends, but the requirements were that she paid the bill. She continued spoiling her grandchildren, and she always thought she was being sneaky by giving them money for no reason at all. Carol loved having special time with her grandson, Justin, and she frequently spoiled her granddaughters, Rachel, Lisa, and Breana, by taking them shopping. As Alzheimer’s disease began to set in, Carol required some assistance. Eventually her granddaughter, Rachel, moved in to help with her daily care, but in 2016 she moved into assisted living at Green Acres of Standale.
When reflecting on the life of Carol Egner, words such as fun, giving, and even feisty come to mind, but perhaps the words that describe her most accurately is; devotion to family. She worked hard, but she took the time to enjoy life along the way as well. A loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Carol will be forever missed.
EGNER – Carol Isabel Egner aged 79, of Grand Rapids, went peacefully to be with her Heavenly Father on March 7, 2018. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold “Jack”. Carol is survived by her two sons, Dennis Egner and Kenneth and Jody Egner; grandchildren, Justin and Sara Egner, Rachel and Zsolt Szabo, Lisa Egner and Breana Egner; and great-grand-daughter, Olivia. Also surviving are her siblings, Norma Holm, Dave McGillen, Sandy Novak and Darlene Shepard; and special cousins, David and Shirley Egner and Bill and Gwen Petroski; sisters in law, Melanie Behm, Jerilyn Rich; and other relatives and friends. Cremation has taken place. Relatives and friends may visit with her family on Monday, March 12th at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM with an informal service to celebrate her life starting at 7 PM. In lieu of flowers, Carol’s family asks to please consider a donation to either Faith Hospice or Alzheimer’s Association. You may read more about Carol’s life, share a favorite memory or sign the guestbook at www.lifestorynet.com.