Carol Rickey, a creative, faithful, and strong force for good in this world passed from it on August 7, 2019.
Carol was born on February 4, 1937 in Kansas City, Kansas. Carol had the gift of seeing potential in people, in organizations, and on blank pieces of canvas. She led, mentored, and painted in ways that brought wisdom, strength, and beautiful color to individuals and communities. Carol was a master planner and administrator and a deeply caring friend. Her spirit was strong and her heart was generous.
Carol began her accomplished career at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and over the years served there in a variety of administrative positions. She was the Dean of Women, Director of the Coe Work Program, Acting Director of Financial Aid, Dean of Students, and Associate Director of Development. Carol also worked as Director of the YWCA in Cedar Rapids.
Carol then moved to Holland, Michigan to become the Executive Director at The Center for Women in Transition. She took that organization to a new level of operations, visibility, and service in the greater community. Carol later served as Director of Child and Family Services and after retirement was invited back there to serve as Interim Director during a time of transition. Carol was admired by many as a strong leader. She broke barriers, mentored other professionals, impacted communities, and opened doors for generations of women in leadership.
Carol was also a gifted artist, primarily in pen, watercolor and acrylics. Much of her work involved flowers and all of her pieces expressed beautiful color. Carol's art was warm and bright. In her artist statement she said this, "I make art for the pleasure of the process and to provide gifts and cards for my friends and to support organizations that I care about." Carol's calendars and Christmas and birthday cards, which she made for over fifty years, are framed and hang all over the country in homes of people who loved her. Carol's art was also included in several community projects including the HAAC banners, chairs and tulips.
Carol was a beloved member of Grace Episcopal Church and served there in many capacities among them, Lay Eucharistic Minister, vestry member, Senior Warden, Buildings and Grounds committee member, and Greeter Extraordinaire. She hosted coffee hours and tended flower beds. She led meetings, made meals, and passed peace. Carol genuinely loved to welcome and serve and she had a knack for inviting others into the joy of serving together. She also consulted with parishes throughout the Diocese of Western Michigan offering her expertise to leadership teams in transition.
In the community, Carol participated in book groups, art classes, HASP, and other experiences that connected her with people and allowed to share her gifts broadly. Carol's smart and fun spirit touched the lives of many. She had an eye and a heart for the beauty in this world and Carol found ways to express it, bringing out goodness through her art, her love of people, and in the organizations she grew.
Carol was preceded in death by her husband, Larry Rickey, her long-time companion Jean Wilder, and her beloved dogs. Carol had a gift for weaving friends into family, among them Jeanette Hoyer and Brenda Summers, Marisol, Brian, Jack, and Marin Stork, Bette and Cecil Williams, and Jen Adams and Beth Trembley.
A Memorial Service for Carol will be held at Grace Episcopal Church on Wednesday, August 14 at 11:00am, The Rev. Jennifer Adams presiding. A lunch reception will follow at the church. Carol requested that donations be made in her memory to Grace Episcopal Church or Resilience (formerly known as The Center for Women in Transition.)
Published in The Holland Sentinel on Aug. 11, 2019.