Carol Ann Murray, 86, of Lakeside, Ohio passed away on Sunday, January 28th, 2024. She was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio in 1937 to Bob and Mary Murray and moved to Lakeside in 1945.
Carol owned a Lakeside cottage which she named Touchstone, wanting it to be a place where people connected with each other and to a place they loved. But Carol’s humility never let her realize that SHE was the touchstone for so many people, not her home itself. She “gathered people unto her”, bringing laughter, compassion and belonging to so many. She never made herself the center of attention, but instead created environments of openness and safety where people could come together in understanding and complete acceptance. For much of her life she worked with international students at Michigan State University running the Host Family program; helping those away from their homelands find belonging and understanding here in their host country.
For her decades long leadership, Carol and her family were recognized by the State government as Michigan’s Outstanding Citizens for Cultural Exchange. Throughout her life, Carol modeled global understanding, compassion and love.
Each morning we left for school by the back door, under a poster that read, “War Is Not Healthy For Children and Other Living Things”. Upon her passing we heard from so many of her former students, from all over the world, who reached out to tell us how meaningful she had been in their lives, “what a star she was to us”, and how “we cherished her warmth and complete acceptance when we were strangers in a strange land.” She was a Board member of the Lakeside Trust, and created and ran the Lakeside Historic Shuttle Tours where she told visitors stories about the early days of Lakeside and her own childhood here from the perspective of a “local”.
She was a tri-athlete, having swum the 8-1/2 miles from the Lakeside dock to Put-in-Bay as a teenager and ran the Raccoon Run every year well into her 70s. She was an avid global traveler-without-a-map, and a ruthless card player who lived by her aunt Carol’s motto of, “play badly, but play fast.”
She loved books, music, ice cream, and breaking rules. She told the truth, had a wonderfully sarcastic sense of humor, and never let you cheat at games. Because of her, we grew up in a house filled with laughter, music and touch. She cried every Christmas Eve over the fate of those less fortunate in the world, and with the appreciation for what she had and could give her children. She never said, “I told you so,” she let us make our own mistakes, and she never judged. She gave grace. Carol is survived by her brother Bob (Mary Jo), her three children, Steve (Sherry), Carin (Ridlon), and Cathy (Sam), five grandchildren (Russel, Brandon, Kelsey, Terra, and Sam), aswell as the love of her life. No formal funeral will be conducted. Instead there will be a small memorial service in June in Lakeside. In lieu of charity donations, Carol has asked that we all be a little more intentional daily with the words and actions of our lives, be kinder to each other, open our hearts and our homes to those who are often excluded, and to those who are vulnerable in society. As Carol would say to each of us, “I love you. I’m proud of you. Now carry on bravely”. We love you too mom.