Life Story Visitation
Friday, December 15, 2023
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Life Story / Obituary
For 95 years, Mary Ann Carey not only lived but thrived. Intelligent, independent, and driven, she was also generous and charitable. Mary Ann was the best hostess, the most loyal friend, and a wonderful matriarch. She embodied her faith, welcoming each day with gratitude and every person as a friend. Mary Ann never shied from hard work, knew how to have fun, and led with her heart in all things. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, Mary Ann will long be remembered and so very missed.
1928 continued to ride the decade's roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. The nation celebrated the recent inventions of Penicillin, the iron lung, bubble gum, and the Yo-Yo, as well as Charles Lindbergh's Congressional Medal of Honor and Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. As the wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased, nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the home of Clara (Hoyt) and Herman Cumnock as they welcomed their daughter Mary Ann to their family on March 24, 1928, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The third of ten children, Mary Ann, was whip-smart and hard-working. Family life was always filled with activity. Her father ran Little Rock Refrigeration, and her mother was a homemaker. After graduating from Mount St. Mary's High School, she went on to junior college in St. Louis before transferring to the University of Arkansas. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in business and worked at Little Rock Refrigeration.
In time, Mary Ann met the love of her life, Thomas Carey, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was stationed near Little Rock with the U.S. Army. They dated for only a year before marrying on June 23, 1956, at Saint Edward’s Catholic Church in Little Rock. The newlyweds honeymooned in New Orleans, where their room had a brick wall for a window. The happy couple settled in Kalamazoo, and just over ten months after marrying, they welcomed their first child, David.
Over the years, their family grew to include Ann, Susan, Jane, Ruth, and Martha. While Tom was an attorney, Mary Ann dedicated herself to their home and children. With six children to raise, Mary Ann had to be very organized, but she always let her kids experience life. Though she had her structures and rules, Mary Ann was a very fun-loving spirit. As long as her kids were home for dinner, they had the freedom to explore. She made big dinners every night, but her true joy came in preparing for parties. The best hostess anyone had met, she went all out for birthdays and holidays, when she would bake many different kinds of cookies.
Mary Ann ensured faith was the cornerstone of family life. The family attended church on Sundays, first at St. Augustine's, St. Joseph's, and later at St. Monica's. As an active member of the Kalamazoo Lawyers' Auxiliary and the Democratic Party and investing much time in the Kalamazoo Juvenile Home, Mary Ann modeled the importance of investing in the community. She was very political and progressive for her generation and assumed all her children would go to college, which they did.
For many years, Mary Ann and Tom enjoyed traveling and regularly played bridge with a close group of friends. Fridays and Saturdays were always times for going out. After Tom died in 2003, Mary Ann stayed active and remained involved. She enjoyed decorating, gardening, playing bridge, traveling - especially to Europe, counting money and working funeral luncheons for St. Monica’s church. She was incredibly smart and completed crossword puzzles in ink! This kept her mind moving. She read a lot, used to hand sew, and enjoyed Broadway shows and the Big Band music of her era. For 50 years, she walked every day.
For the last year and a half, Mary Ann lived at Bickford Cottage, where she died peacefully in the early morning on November 29, 2023. As we gather to celebrate Mary Ann's long, beautiful life, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories of the remarkable woman we were so blessed to know. May we also find comfort in the honor of carrying her legacy of grace and generosity forward. In each moment we balance work and play, cheer on our loved one's endeavors, gather for a home-cooked meal or game of cards, choose faith over fear, and give thanks for our blessings, we keep Mary Ann's vibrant spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Mary Ann is survived by her children: David Carey (Mary Whiting), Ann Bayer (Mark), Susan Carey, Jane Kiel (Tracy), Ruth Shehigian (Thomas), Martha Huckabee (Brett), and dear friend Grant (Jim Schlage) Chandler; eleven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and four sisters and two brothers. Cremation has taken place. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Friday, (DEC 15) from 4-6 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 (269) 375-2900, where a rosary will be recited at 6 PM. Mass will be celebrated Saturday (DEC 16) at 10 AM at St. Monica Church. Burial to follow at Mt. EverRest Cemetery. Visit Mary Ann's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Monica Catholic Church.