Mary Carr

February 28, 1963 - May 17, 2016
Kalamazoo, MI



Thursday, May 19, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and drinks will be served.

A rosary will be recited at 8:00PM

Driving Directions


Friday, May 20, 2016
2:00 PM EDT
St. Augustine Cathedral
542 West Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 345-5147

A reception will follow in the Cathedral Center.


Monday, May 23, 2016
12:30 PM EDT
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
25800 West 10 Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48033
(248) 350-1900

Reception to follow at Meriwether's, 25485 Telegraph Road; Southfield, MI (248) 358-1310


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Hackett Catholic Prep
1000 West Kilgore Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 381-2646

Advancement of the Arts

Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Mary K. Carr was a beautiful woman inside and out. She was loving and nurturing, strong and determined, faithful and funny. With high moral standards that were matched with emotional intelligence, Mary was held in high esteem and was also very approachable. She made friends with her grace and wit and kept them by virtue of her integrity and humility. She didn’t need to be the center of attention as she went about her life serving others with selfless love and endless joy.

Mary was born February 28, 1963 in Southfield, Michigan during a decade of radical change in America. Despite war protests and the deaths of key political leaders, the United States made gains in civil rights and the space race. The daughter of Richard and Patricia (Bongero) Durkin, Mary and her older brother Mike moved often with their father’s job as a finance executive with General Motors. Their most stable home became the cottage on Mullett Lake, which Richard and Patricia purchased in 1970. For years to come, it would offer quality time with family and a lifestyle of peace.

Spending every summer at the lake, Mary learned to water ski very well. As a child, she had wanted to be an ice skater, but it was clear that her talents didn’t quite match her zeal. Not particularly interested in playing other sports, one of her most enjoyable pastimes was coloring, which she continued even in adulthood with her kids.

Mary attended Archbishop Alter High School in Dayton, Ohio for her first three years of secondary education. She was sad not to graduate from there, in part because of the friends she had made. Mary was personable and took an interest in others, remembering names and stories about them and asking questions to get to know them better. As a result, people gravitated toward her and trusted her because she was as loyal as she was warm. On the one hand, she was reserved and soft-spoken, and on the other, she was the life of the party as she made everyone feel welcome.

After graduating from Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Mary earned a BA in Math at St. Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana in 1985. It was a good fit for her and she took full advantage of her college years. As a sophomore, she studied abroad for a full year and made such close friends that she and her seven Irish buddies tried to get together almost every year after.

Degree in hand, Mary went to work in the Actuarial Department at the GM Building in downtown Detroit while completing an MBA at Oakland University in 1989. Three years earlier, she had met the man who became her husband. As it happened, Jim Carr and Mary were both out with friends at the Tequila Willie’s in Southfield when they started talking and really hit it off. The two of them took that first encounter seriously and began dating. Three years later, they married at St. Hugo Catholic Church in Bloomfield Hills on June 10, 1989. After honeymooning in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, Mary and Jim made their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the next 13 years.

When her first child was born in 1992, Mary shifted her focus to her family, even though she continued to work for six months after her second child was born. Mary ran the household and checkbook like the professional she was and parented with all her heart. Meghann, Kelly and then Joe had their mother’s full attention as she invested in every aspect of their lives. A member of the Catholic Church, Mary made sure her kids had the opportunity to attended Catholic schools. She was active as a room mother and in Girl Scouts, she worked concessions at her children’s games and was #1 Cheerleader as she anxiously watched Joe pitch baseball. She was Master Driver to all the kids’ activities and events, including musicals that were a particular highlight. Mary helped in any way she could and enjoyed it all. Granted, she didn’t like to cook, but she did it faithfully and was good-natured about her family’s critique. They rated the recipes she tried as Good for Every Week, Good Once a Month or Never Again.

On her own time, Mary exercised daily by walking or running, read a variety of books and loved to watch Tiger baseball. She indulged herself with dark chocolate Dove bars, Brock’s Bridge Mix, Dunkin’ Donut coffee and a glass of cabernet or chardonnay, depending on her mood. She was an expert shopper who liked to score a deal. Her tastes took her to GAP and TJ Maxx, where she came away with smart attire that was appropriate for her age but also stylish enough for her kids to call her a “chic mom.”

Back in the day, Mary would spin the Carpenters or ABBA, her favorite song being “Dancing Queen” because it always put her in a good, dancing mood and wanting to dance. In recent years, she got into Zac Brown and other country musicians, basically to keep her kids from listing to popular music on the radio.

As a family, the Carrs headed south during Spring Break to Bonita Beach, Florida, where Mary’s dad has a place. They all went on a trip to Greece for Mary and Jim’s 25th wedding anniversary, which coincided with Meghann’s graduation from Rutgers, Kelly’s graduation from Hackett and Joe’s graduation from St. Monica School. It was a once in a life time trip that was filled with great moments the family will never forget.

Having been diagnosed with a very rare cancer, Mary was courageous in the fight for over a year. She died Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in Kalamazoo. She will be sorely missed by her beloved family and dear friends whose lives have been enriched by a truly remarkable woman.

Mary K. Carr, age 53 of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was preceded in death by her mother, Patricia Durkin. Surviving are her husband of 27 years, Jim Carr; 3 children: Meghann, Kelly and Joe Carr; father, Richard Durkin; brother, Mike (Mary) Durkin and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Thursday from 5:00-8:00 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive; 269-375-2900 where a rosary will be recited at 8:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday 2:00 PM at St. Augustine Cathedral. Burial will take place Monday at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield. Please visit Mary’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Hackett Catholic Prep for Advancement of the Arts.