Cover photo for Carol J (Bisarek) Thackray's Obituary
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Carol J (Bisarek) Thackray

b. January 4, 1933

Niles Michigan

Carol Bisarek Thackray was born in Livingston, Wisconsin on January 4, 1933, to Michael and Mary Bisarek. She grew up on farms of the rolling hills of Southwestern Wisconsin with her nine siblings. She attended rural schools, grades 1-8, then graduated from Cobb High School in 1950 and was employed in Madison, Wisconsin for several years. In 1955 she entered Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in Madison, graduating in 1958.

In December 1958 she and David Thackray of Waupun, Wisconsin were married. They moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where David completed the University of Minnesota Dental School and Carol worked as a nurse at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. In 1960 they settled in Niles, Michigan where they raised their family and David had his dental practice until 1990. Carol worked at Pawating Hospital, now Corewell Hospital, until the first of their four sons arrived. They enjoyed family life in their bustling West Main neighborhood where John, Glenn, James, and Andrew grew up with many other families and children with games, sports, parades, and school functions.

Carol excelled at so many practical and creative pursuits: gardening, sewing, cooking, music, and art. Fernwood Botanical Garden was a favorite spot. She loved exploring the Great Lakes on family camping trips and many visits to the National Parks. She and David built items from Heathkits - TVs, radios and a 17-foot kayak that they took on many segments of the St. Joseph River.

They were members of the First Presbyterian Church where Carol taught Sunday School for many years. She and David were active in many church clubs and activities. Carol especially delighted in the artistry and beauty of the church and its set of Charles Connick stained glass windows. Creating stained glass art became one of her artistic pastimes. Carol belonged to Community Concerts, Cosmopolitan Club and was active with Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity for many years. She also promoted anti-drug and recycling programs in the community.

Carol loved journaling, letter writing and kept meticulous notes chronicling her life events, children and grandchildren’s milestones and travels. She loved visits from grandchildren and out of town relatives in later years.

Carol and David were devoted partners and she dedicated herself to his care when he developed Parkinsons Disease until his death in 2000. She is preceded in death by her parents, David’s parents, brother Richard and sisters Dorothe Morrison and Mary Pertzborn, sisters in law Shirley Norton, brothers in law Donald Olson, Ray Ryan, Roland Morrison, Keith Thackray, Richard Norton, Robert Caldwell and James Pertzborn.

Surviving are her four sons, John (Ann) of Lake Zurich IL, Glenn (Alison) of Pocatello, ID, James of Niles, MI, Andrew (Shannon) of Louisville, Colorado. Her six grandchildren, Emma, Tess, Abigail, Megan, Calvin and Nolan Thackray. Sisters, Anita Olson, Lois (William) Meuer, Terry (Daniel) Stanton, brothers Michael (Flo), Robert (Rhonita), Kenneth (Kris). David’s sibling, Lois Caldwell, sister-in-law Marian Thackray and many nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Niles Foundation, 13 South 4th Street, Niles, Michigan 49120.

Family and friends will gather Thursday, April 18, 2024 from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. in Halbritter Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street, Niles.  The funeral service will be Friday, April 19, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. in First Presbyterian Church, 13 South 4th Street, Niles with Pastor Christopher Mergener officiating.  Family and friends will be able to visit for an hour before as well as after the service.

Carol will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband, David, in Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles following the post service visitation.

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