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1941 Carolyn 2023

Carolyn J. Richards

March 17, 1941 — September 7, 2023

Lansing, NY

Carolyn Joan Richards, 82, died peacefully at home in Lansing, NY on Thursday, September 7th.

Carolyn was born in 1941 in South Bend, Indiana to John and Evelyn (Miller) Gamble. The second daughter Virginia was born after their father, who worked for the IRS, was transferred to Detroit.

Carolyn graduated with honors from Wayne State University in Detroit and went on to teach elementary school. She and Michael were set up by mutual friends from church, and Mike’s sister Sally, who thought Carolyn and Mike might be a perfect match. They hit it off and their first date was a Peter, Paul and Mary concert. They married a few years later in June of 1964.

Carolyn was devoted to her family, her friends and her church community. To Mike, she was his ultimate partner and soul mate. She was a woman of many interests and passions. She had an immense appreciation of natural beauty. She was a master gardener, a lover of music (especially bagpipes), and a fan of parades and fireworks. She had a talent for almost all handicrafts, from embroidery to stained glass to sewing the family clothing. She was highly motivated, intelligent and unafraid of hard work. She could accomplish anything. Seventeen years ago, Parkinson’s began to rob her of her limitless energy, but it did not rob her of her appreciation for nature, reading, music and her family.

Carolyn and Mike enjoyed the outdoors and traveling with their family: summers were punctuated with well researched and carefully planned, month-long camping trips across the country visiting many national parks with their children and their pop up camper. They also had many adventures with their church group, backpacking in remote places like Isle Royal and the Bruce Peninsula. After retirement, the empty nesters started spending half the year in Florida in their condo on the Intercoastal waterway. They became part of a trailer sailor group and had many adventures in far flung places like the Sea of Cortez, San Juan Islands, and the British Virgin Islands. Carolyn and Mike enjoyed twenty-three years of sailing trips, spending the equivalent of 1⁄2 a year sleeping in a boat, and even managed to survive a near complete sinking.

Carolyn and Michael moved to a lakeside home in Lansing, NY in 2011 to be closer to Kristin's family and quickly became a cherished part of the community. Carolyn loved nothing more than the people around her and had a gift of making everyone feel special and appreciated. She loved her grandkids and their friends and enjoyed being at the center of the gravitational pull of a well-loved lake house with the summertime comings and goings of friends and family.

Carolyn never tired of the beautiful water views from their homes in Florida, Michigan and New York, and delighted in getting to know all of the local plants, trees and birds.

Carolyn is survived by her devoted husband of 59 years, Mike Richards, their son Kent (wife Lauren) and daughter Kristin (husband Grey Bartholomew,) as well as five grandchildren, Eli, Asa, Noah, Levi and Ivy. Carolyn (Red Squirrel) is also survived by her sister Ginny (Hoggie) and her husband Gary.

There will be a celebration of Carolyn’s life on October 7th at Lansing United Methodist Church, beginning with a brief service at 1:00 p.m. and immediately followed by a gathering in the fellowship hall until 3:30 p.m.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Carolyn J. Richards, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, October 7, 2023

1:00 - 3:30 pm (Eastern time)

Lansing United Methodist Church

32 Brickyard Road, Lansing, NY 14882


Click to watch

Service to begin at 1:00 followed by gathering in the fellowship hall.

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