Life Story / Obituary
Avid traveller and compassionate nurse, social butterfly and spirited cheerleader – these are just a few of the many roles Carolyn Clock played throughout her life. By far her most important role, however, and the one closest to her heart, was Carolyn’s role as wife, mother, and grandmother. She was utterly devoted to her family, and never happier than when surrounded by those she loved. Carolyn’s bright smile, boundless energy, and kind heart will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who had the privilege of knowing this remarkable lady; she was deeply loved, and will be deeply missed.
The 1930s were in many ways a somber decade, sandwiched between the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and World War II. For proud parents William and Florence (Berg) VanDyke, however, these difficult years were brightened by the birth of their daughter, Carolyn Jean. Carolyn was born on August 28, 1932, and shared her birth year with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the airing of the first soap opera, and the creation of the first U.S. gasoline tax.
The VanDyke family lived on Yuba Street in Muskegon, Michigan, where Carolyn grew up with her older brother, Jim. Since Florence came from a large family, there were many Berg cousins around to play with as well, and Carolyn remained lifelong friends with many of her cousins. William VanDyke earned a living as a pattern maker at Lakey Foundry, while Florence was a homemaker (and later an office worker at a local beer distributor). Every Sunday, Carolyn went to services at the First Lutheran Church with her family, where she would receive her confirmation.
After finishing her elementary years at Froebel School, Carolyn went on to Muskegon High School. A popular and outgoing girl with lots of friends, Carolyn loved going to dances and listening to big band music. She was musically talented herself, and sang in the school choir as well as participating on the cheerleading squad. During these years, Carolyn became friends with a young man named Wayne Clock, whose family operated the Clock Funeral Home. Carolyn and Wayne dated on and off throughout high school, and kept in touch after graduation.
Carolyn’s next stop after high school was St. Luke’s School of Nursing in Chicago, where she enrolled with several of her friends. She trained at St. Luke’s for two years, and graduated as a registered nurse. Carolyn soon took her first nursing job at the VA hospital in Denver, Colorado.
While Carolyn chose to go to nursing school, her high school sweetheart, Wayne, had enlisted as a pilot in the U.S. Navy. They continued to date even as life took them in different directions, and when Carolyn was in Denver Wayne was known to fly to Colorado just to see her! Carolyn and Wayne eventually realized that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, and were married on November 27, 1954, at Samuel Lutheran Church in Muskegon.
The happy newlyweds settled down in San Diego, California, where Wayne was stationed. Carolyn and Wayne lived in an apartment above a garage, and it wasn’t long before they were expecting a new addition to the family. Before their first child was born, however, Wayne was deployed to the Far East. Carolyn awaited his return eagerly with their young daughter, Terri, and once the family was reunited they moved back to Muskegon when Wayne's navy obligation was over.
As the years went by, Carolyn and Wayne’s family continued to grow, and they became the proud parents of three more children: Dale, Kay, and Ann. Wayne had joined the family funeral business, and they made their home in a house conveniently attached to the funeral home on Grand Avenue. Carolyn was a devoted mother, who supported her children in all of their activities. She was a familiar face at concerts and swim meets, and was very proud that all four of her children graduated from college.
Starting in the 1960s, Carolyn started working as a nurse at Planned Parenthood. Later, she would move on to a position with the Muskegon County Health Department. Carolyn enjoyed her work as a nurse, and her love for her patients shone through in her kind and compassionate care. She was a tireless supporter of her husband’s career as well, and particularly enjoyed their time on the Board of Directors for National Selected Morticians.
In their free time, Carolyn and Wayne often socialized with their large circle of friends for birthdays and other events, and enjoyed skiing weekends with the kids. Carolyn also enjoyed many gatherings and trips with her WOT's group of lady friends. In 1966, they built their own cottage on Big Blue Lake, and began spending summers there as a family. Farther afield, Carolyn and Wayne made many happy memories on sailing trips with Pat & Doug Bard and other friends in the Virgin Islands, trips to Arizona to visit Pat and Jim Hopkins, and annual visits from Tom and Char Connell.
Carolyn retired from the health department in 1982, and embarked on her all-time favorite career – that of full-time grandmother! She babysat for Andrew and Eric during their elementary school days, and made regular trips to Maine to see Kay’s girls. Carolyn and Wayne continued to travel in their golden years, and made an anniversary voyage to Hawaii. In the winters, they escaped Michigan’s bitter weather to The Villages in balmy Florida, where Carolyn could be close to her cousin, Kaki. Most recently, Carolyn and Wayne have wintered in their daughter Ann’s home in the Tampa, Florida area. The summers, however, were reserved for their beloved cottage on Big Blue Lake, where they loved hosting friends and family.
Although Carolyn faced her share of health challenges over the years, she was never one to complain. She successfully battled breast cancer, had two knees replaced, and dealt with other issues that limited her activity level. She always kept up with her children and grandchildren, however, and was always available to offer wise advice when needed.
Kindhearted and compassionate, friendly and upbeat, Carolyn was a devoted wife, a loving mother and grandmother, a caring nurse, and a loyal friend. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by her many friends and family members.
Mrs. Carolyn Jean Clock died on September 29, 2013, at the age of 81. Carolyn’s family includes her husband of 59 years, Wayne; her children, Terri Clock of Muskegon, Dale (Jodi) Clock of Muskegon, Kay (David) Douglass of Orono ME, and Ann (David) Eddins of Odessa FL; her grandchildren, Andrew Ruthkoski, Eric Ruthkoski, Chelsey Douglass, Kristen Douglass, Chloe Douglass, and Kellie Clock; her step-grandchildren, Brett (Kelly) Wright and baby Gavin; her sisters-in-laws, Yvonne Clock, Ruth (Robert) Kramer and Mary Lou Bigelow; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brother, Jim VanDyke.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, October 4, at the Clock Chapel – Muskegon, with Rev. Marcy Miller officiating. Interment will be at Restlawn Cemetery. Friends are invited to join the family for visitation from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Clock Funeral Home - Muskegon. Please visit Carolyn’s personal memory page at www.clockfuneralhome.com to leave a memory or sign the online guest book.