Petrie of Elburn passes away
Carrie E. Petrie, 87, of Elburn, passed away peacefully, Thursday, Jan. 9, at Oak Crest Retirement Center, DeKalb. She took her last breath as her daughter held her hand to complete her bridge between Earth and the heavenly gates.
Carrie was born April 22, 1926, on the family farm, in Blackberry Township, the daughter of Cecil L. and Helen G. (McNair) Gum. She grew up on the farm with her three sisters and attended Mud Island Country School. A “country girl” through and through, Carrie spent countless hours working with her dad tending the stock and the land. She graduated from Elburn High School with the class of 1944.
While a high school student, Carrie became a “pen pal” with Grover Petrie, a soldier fighting in the U.S. Army during World War II. She saw Grover’s name on a girlfriend’s list of soldiers, liked his handwriting, stole the name from her girlfriend, and that was the beginning of their courtship.
Carrie and Grover corresponded for two years, neither having any idea what the other looked like. One day, Grover came knocking at the door of the Gum family home and Carrie (in from her farm work and still in her bib overalls) found there was a soldier there to see her. It was 1945, and life would never be the same for either of them. That day was the beginning of a lifetime of love and hard work, sweetened with laughter.
Carrie and Grover were united in marriage on Nov. 28, 1946, at the Elburn Congregational Church. They lived in several apartments in Elburn during the early years, then in what had been the Mud Island School in rural Elburn. For 35 years, they made their home on the McNair farm before returning to a newly remodeled Mud Island School.
After Grover’s passing in 2005, Carrie continued to make her home in their beloved little house until ill health brought a recent move to Oak Crest in DeKalb.
Carrie was not just a “farm wife”—she was a partner in all of the work on the farm. She was as comfortable on a tractor seat as she was cooking in her own kitchen.
Together, she and Grover raised all kinds of livestock and a family of three children, Kenton, Neal and Cara. Carrie and Grover supported their children in every way. As the kids grew and became involved in sports, their folks attended practically every event no matter how far the distance or how bad the weather. They truly enjoyed supporting and watching the 1982 Kaneland girls basketball team win the state championship while Cara served as the team’s scorekeeper. Always being there for their children with love and advice was extremely important.
In 1974, tragedy struck the Petrie family with the sudden loss of their eldest son Kenton, who lost his life in an auto accident. In October 2012, Carrie’s middle son Neal, while sitting at the kitchen table admiring the beautiful, tranquil waters of Birch Lake, answered God’s call and went from his own kitchen to that “house not made with hands,” which had been prepared for him.
Each year, the family made their annual trek to Hackensack, Minn., where they enjoyed countless hours of fishing, fun and fellowship with other Elburnites and their Minnesota “family” of friends. Carrie’s Minnesota family, friends and church held a special spot in her heart. In more recent years, including 2013, Carrie made the trip up north alone and settled into her “second” home for the summer, surrounded by her family of loving friends. The memories of those days, leaves a rich legacy for all who shared them.
On Nov. 7, 2001, Carrie was blessed with the birth of granddaughter Abigail “Abby” Bartel. Abby brightened the lives of her grandparents as only a little girl could, and as she grew was often grandma’s “companion.” Carrie delighted in every accomplishment and when Abby experienced serious health issues, Carrie carried constant prayers in her heart. Abby bestowed the nickname “Mimi” on Carrie, and it stuck. Mimi enjoyed going to Abby’s events from spring sings to Girl Scout bridging ceremony, and most recently to band concerts and pom performances. Mimi didn’t want to miss a memory, cherished every one, and together they created a bond of unconditional love that will last forever.
Carrie worked during the early years at Robert’s Drive-In in Geneva, the Wasco Inn in Wasco, the Elburn Kountry Kettle, and catered countless parties to help earn the extra money for the family’s annual fishing trip to Minnesota.
That early love for a soldier remained with Carrie for a lifetime. The Elburn American Legion Auxiliary became Carrie’s home away from home. A charter member of the unit, she filled many offices and jobs through her many years of service. She and Grover delivered gifts to veterans who were patients at the Elgin Mental Health Center weekly for 35 years. It was a ministry that Carrie continued alone after Grover’s passing until her declining health caused her to stop.
On Poppy Day, Carrie was a fixture on Main St. in Elburn, where she greeted friends and strangers with her “bouquet” of poppies—you could not pass Carrie by without making a donation and proudly wearing a poppy. For countless years, she placed the flags that marked the veteran’s graves at local cemeteries for Memorial Day, and then proudly and solemnly read the names of deceased veterans at the annual observance at Blackberry Cemetery. When it became necessary to pass that job on to another, she continued to read “Flander’s Field ” with the same pride and dignity.
Wherever service was needed, you would find Carrie steady and sure, always ready to serve in any way she could. She was a volunteer for every local Heartland Blood Bank Community Blood Drive, greeting donors and serving up refreshments. She cooked countless spaghetti dinners and funeral luncheons, and lent her expertise to many church dinners.
She was a charter member of the Daniel Simpson American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 630, where she was past unit president and secretary for countless years.
Carrie was chairman to many committees; her footprints leave a path of service that will be hard to follow. She was past president of the Kane County Council and Past 11th District President. She was a member of the Kane County Salon No. 63 of the 8/40 of which she was a past La Petit Chapeau. Carrie was a member of the Quivera Club, the Elburn Community Congregational Church and the Union Congregational Church of Hackensack. She enjoyed her dominoes group, pinochle clubs and coffee at the Kountry Kettle with her many friends.
Carrie Petrie was a woman born of a different time—a woman who was not afraid to laugh at herself, stand up for herself or speak her opinion on anything. Like many of her era, she was a good steward and a “keeper” of many things. She was strong-willed and determined, which gave her the strength to “manage” through countless physical limitations. She was a loving and faithful caregiver for her husband and other family members when failing health brought the need for care.
She is survived by her devoted daughter, Cara (Stephen) Bartel, and her beloved granddaughter, Abigail; two sisters, Cecelia (Norbert) Lund of Sycamore and Elaine Johansen of DeKalb; one brother-in-law, Donald Westlake of Wheaton, Ill.; many nieces and nephews; and a lifetime of friends both in Illinois and Minnesota.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Grover; two sons, Kenton in 1974 and Neal in 2012; her sister, Helen Grace Westlake; and one brother-in-law, John Johansen.
A celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Elburn American Legion Post No. 630, 112 N. Main St., Elburn, starting at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to benefit Carrie’s favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Carrie Petrie Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may be forwarded to the family at the same address of on the web at www.conleycare.com.