Carol L. Michalec (nee Hawkins), 86, passed away peacefully on February 5, 2023, after a long struggle with dementia and congestive heart failure. Born in Akron, Ohio on March 19, 1936, Carol grew up on North Hill and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1954. Following high school, Carol attended Saint Thomas Hospital School of Nursing where she earned her RN in 1957. While working as a nurse at Saint Thomas Hospital, Carol met the love of her life, Tom, and they married in 1959. Carol and Tom soon started their family and Carol stayed home to raise their children. When Carol’s youngest son started school, Carol returned to work at Fallsview Psychiatric Hospital where she remained until 1995, when she retired as a Nursing Supervisor.
Upon retirement, Carol and Tom lived out their dream on their 5-acre homestead in Wooster, Ohio. Carol was a lover of animals, having many beloved dogs, birds and ducks over the years. Carol loved her gardens and flowers. Carol was a talented seamstress, knitter and crocheter. Over the years, Carol’s busy hands crafted many beautiful coats, quilts, hats, scarves, and mittens that she would give to her loved ones. Many Christmas photos show her smiling grandchildren wearing their new hats. Carol was a wonderful cook who was always trying new recipes to please her family. She mastered many of the Polish dishes her husband loved, and she passed her love of cooking on to all of her children.
But above all things, Carol was caring and nurturing. When her husband Tom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Carol focused on improving her health so she could take care of her husband. When her brother Jerry was recovering from health issues, she stayed with him and nursed him. It was in Carol’s nature to help. It brought Carol joy to know that she could somehow contribute in any way big or small to anybody’s happiness and well-being. Carol had an easy laugh and a warm smile. Carol’s favorite word was “love” and she said it often. Being with Carol was a regular lovefest. Carol loved this, she loved that, she loved you. Even as Carol’s cognitive abilities were diminishing, she still wanted to know if you were okay and if you needed anything. Carol will be dearly missed.
Carol is survived by her children Christopher (Lisa), Shawn (Jacquie), Laura (Martin) McFarland, Mitchell and Edward (fiancé Gina Jones). Grandchildren Molly and Catherine Michalec, Josie and Ruby Michalec, Austin (MacKenna), Casey and Haley McFarland, Katelin (Chad) Thompson, Emily (Chris) Nestelle, and Colin Michalec, Logan, Chloe and Quinn Michalec, and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
Carol is preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Tom, parents Fred and Marge Hawkins, brothers and sisters-in-law Richard (Mary) Hawkins, Jerry (Shirley) Hawkins, sister and brother-in-law Patricia (Richard) Barnhart and infant brother, Fred.
The family would like to thank the aides and nurses from Crossroads Hospice for their kind and compassionate care in our sweet mother’s final days.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 am Friday at St. Anthony Church, 83 Mosser Pl. Akron. Burial will be at 1:45 pm Monday at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman.