With most of her family by her side, Carol Stewart passed away Tuesday evening, Aug. 9, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor. After a remarkably healthy life, Carol experienced a heart attack July 12 and died of complications that followed. She was 87 years old.
Carol was born Aug. 1, 1929, in Toledo, Ohio. Living a simple but happy childhood with her mother and big brother, Rowland, during the Great Depression, she learned to love spinach and excelled at jump rope and roller-skating. Carol completed high school at Waite High School in east Toledo, where she enjoyed her years with lifelong best friend Mary Emma. Although she rarely got into trouble, she once set her mother’s house on fire while sneaking a cigarette in the back bedroom. After high school, Carol worked for 10 years at Tiedtke’s Department Store and 10 years as secretary to the president of the Treu House of Munch. There she met a tall, polite delivery man named Don Stewart. The two were married July 2, 1963, in Maumee, Ohio.
After moving with Don to Dexter, Mich., Carol concentrated on raising her three children. There she also enjoyed craft and bridge groups with her Loch Alpine neighbors, taught religious education classes, led a troop of Girl Scouts, and welcomed much-loved German exchange student, Joachim Steinig, into her home. She began gardening and remained an avid gardener for 50 years – loving it so much that she was willing to get poison ivy almost every year. Carol also resided for a period of time in Marco Island, Fla., and Orland, Maine, before returning to Michigan, where she and her family lived many years on the hills outside of Hanover and Brooklyn.
While living in Brooklyn, Carol “Queenie” became active in her local Red Hat Society, as well as craft and bridge groups with friends. She enjoyed reading novels and biographies about other times and other cultures. The journals Carol wrote in every day now fill 19 volumes. Friendly, reliable and a great problem-solver, Carol was a mainstay at the front gate of Stagecoach Stop U.S.A. for 15 years. She also worked for five years at Randy’s BBQ. She also loved a series of schnauzers named Nicky and cats named Midnight Kitty.
But Carol always enjoyed her time with her family, whether it was sharing old stories, serving delicious meals, responding to requests for advice, playing board games, or passing on her wisdom and talents to her grandchildren. As Carol wrote in “Grandma’s Story” for granddaughter Emily, “God blessed me with the best family one could have and none of it would have happened without my caring and considerate companion, my sweetheart and my husband Donald.”
Carol was preceded in death by her mother, Theresa (Ettle) Schwake; mother-in-law, Betty (Wagenhauser) Stewart; brother, Rowland Schwake; sister-in-law, Kathryn Schwake; best friend, Mary Emma Dibling; and many other dear friends.
Surviving Carol are her husband, Donald Stewart; daughters, Teresa Stewart and Amy Bahlau; son, Dirk Stewart; sons-in-law, James VanderMey and Randy Bahlau; daughter-in-law, Janelle Stewart; nieces, Ola Jean Schafer, Marcia Jess and Janice Sauvey Dudgeon; grandchildren, Drew (Bahlau) and Dan VanSickle, Emily and Hunter Stewart, Zachary and Seth Bahlau, Amy and Ren VanderMey, and Ashley Bahlau; and great-granddaughter, Violet VanSickle.
A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at St. Rita’s Catholic Church, 10720 Hayes Road, Clarklake.
Carol asked that her body be given to the University of Michigan to be used for medical science. The family requests that any memorial donations be given to St. Rita’s Catholic Church or The American Heart Association – honor.americanheart.org/goto/.CarolStewart.
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