Surrounded by her loving family, Carolyn Mearl Manthei, age 97, quietly passed away at American House in Petoskey on November 4, 2020. Carolyn was born on August 4, 1923, to William (Bill) and Laura (Mearl) Ream in Roseville, Michigan. She was the oldest of four sisters: Shirley Ream and Wilma Thrasher, both of whom preceded her in death, and Margaret (Marvin) Himmler.
On January 16, 1943, Carolyn married Randall “Randy” Manthei in Roseville, Michigan. Following his discharge from the service in November of 1945, Carolyn and Randy moved to Fraser, Michigan, where they became active members at St. John Lutheran Church and where they raised their four children: Laurel (Lolly), Larry, Christine and Richard .
In 1985, after Randy’s retirement, the couple moved to Alanson, Michigan, where they made their home and joined Zion Lutheran Church. They also became dedicated volunteers caring for the Alanson Hillside Gardens. Whether living in Fraser or Alanson, their home was always the gathering point for family and friends where all were welcomed and embraced. Activities Carolyn enjoyed in life included: gardening, family camping, fishing, mushrooming wading for agates and artfully hand painting craft items that flowed from Randy’s workshop. In later years, the couple enjoyed car rides north with or without a destination; however, occasionally, a stop at the casino (referred to as the “club”) was included. Euchre, scrabble, WiiBowling at American House and other games were her passion, and she’d often play into the wee hours of the morning.
For Carolyn, family was paramount and her heart was always filled with an overwhelming love for her immediate and extended family members. She was truly a woman filled with abundant warmth and tenderness and she nurtured family harmony and cherished her role as loving wife and mother. For many years, summer reunions were focused entirely on the lives of “Grandma and Grandpa” and their lasting legacy to the family. It is hoped that Carolyn’s life of caring, humility and kindness lives on in all who were fortunate enough to know her.
Due to Randy’s failing health in December of 2013, Carolyn and Randy moved to the American House facility in Petoskey. In this setting, they found a caring and compassionate staff and soon developed meaningful relationships with employees and residents. Throughout their 71 years of marriage until Randy’s death in 2014, Carolyn remained a devoted wife and a steadfast companion.
Carolyn’s surviving family includes her four children: Laurel “Lolly” (Al) Schave, Larry (Donna) Manthei, Christine (Jerry) Brooks, and Richard Manthei. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren include: Cindy (Pat) Monroe and children Erin (Jeremy) Phillips, and Sean; Chris (Noah) Meister and daughter, Lindsey; Erik Manthei and children, Spencer and Kennedy; Bryan (Christy) Manthei and children, John Bryan and Megan; Sarah (Paul) Knapp; Jeff (Jen) Macccagnone and boys, Drew, Justin and Tommy; Jennifer Mancini and daughters, Emma and Katie; Adam Manthei; Lee (Rachel) Adams and children, Emily and Max; and Patrick (Missy) Adams and children, Scarlet and Langston. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews who were all very special to Carolyn.
Cremation and arrangement details are being handled by Gaylord Funeral Home & Cremation Service. Those wishing to share memories and personal messages online may do so at www.gaylordfuneralhome.com. Due to the pandemic and according to Carolyn’s wishes, a graveside service is planned for the immediate family at Greenwood Cemetery. Additionally, a memorial and celebration of Carolyn’s life will occur in July 2021 with details to follow at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to AdvisaCare Hospice, Charlevoix, and American House, Petoskey.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Carolyn M. Manthei, please visit our floral store.