Carrie Jean LaRue, 60, passed away Dec. 11, 2020, from complications of progressive supranuclear palsy and COVID-19 while at JourneyCare Hospice Care Center in Glenview, IL. Carrie was the daughter of Robert LaRue and the late Rosemary (Sautner) LaRue. She is also survived by her husband, Joel Smith; their son, Emmet Smith; a sister, Beth LaRue, and her children, Erin Reister and Dana Meehan; a brother, Stephen LaRue, and sister-in-law, Lori LaRue, and their children, Carolyn and Ava; her aunt, Nancy Mahr, and her children, Hans and Krista; and her cousin Rochelle Neyland.
Born in Pasadena, CA, Carrie grew up in Kalamazoo, MI, and Paw Paw, MI. She graduated from Paw Paw High School, where she was active in theater. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Western Michigan University. Carrie was deeply committed to her job as an account manager at Abbvie Inc. before her disability shortened her career.
Carrie’s life beyond work was expansive. She was a life-long learner and lover of the fine and performing arts. She amassed a library reflecting her broad interest in the lives and times of a world both real and imaginary, reaching from Whitman and Melville to Naipaul, Updike, Barbery and beyond; she left her family too many magazine subscriptions to cancel. A denizen of art museums and music and theater venues large and small, Carrie never stopped making her way to performances and exhibits, recently overcoming significant physical challenges to witness the arts in action, whether it was the opera or an up-and-coming musical group, an avant garde dance troupe or a collection of Impressionist art. She breathed in jazz and blues from a young age and never exhaled.
Cooking was religion. Carrie’s commitment to finding exceptional recipes and exploring intriguing ethnic foods was surpassed only by her stubborn faith that guests at her table were willing to wait until 9 p.m. to eat a perfectly prepared dinner. The end result – and the wine she loved and shared in the run-up - always made the wait worthwhile.
If cooking was religion, Wrigley Field was heaven. Carrie (as she would tell you) loved, loved, loved the Cubs, Chicago weather be damned. From box seats to bleachers and nose-bleeds - and ultimately from the seats for fans with disabilities - Carrie worshipped the Cubs from every angle Wrigley afforded. She finally made room in this life-long love affair when her son, Emmet, began playing baseball, first as a child and now as a member of the Evanston Township High School varsity baseball team. She loved, loved, loved watching Emmet play.
It was from this informed, wide-world view that Carrie shared, communicated, parented and loved, offering a deep well of understanding, passion, loyalty, compassion and perspective. A boring conversation with Carrie was impossible. She loved discourse and welcomed disagreement. Smart and funny, Carrie equally celebrated high-brow wit, a pun, the absurd and the bawdy. She resisted the unjust, the unfair and the unfeeling. The result was a sturdy base of amazing, kind and devoted friends, and a family that adored her.
Family and friends will celebrate Carrie’s life at a to-be-determined post-COVID time and place.
In the meantime, in lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Carrie’s memory with a donation to:
New York, NY 10001
The Michael J. Fox Foundation
P.O. Box 5014
Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014
Info: www.donnellanfuneral.com or (847) 675-1990