Tag Archives: Carrie Petrie

A celebration of life for Carrie Petrie

Carrie E. Petrie, 87, of Elburn, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Jan. 9, at Oak Crest Retirement Center, DeKalb.

Carrie graduated from Elburn High School with the class of 1944, and was a longterm local resident and volunteer.

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 case of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may be forwarded to the family at the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.




‘Carrie’s going to be missed’

Photo: Longtime Elburn resident Carrie Petrie (pictured with her daughter, Cara, and granddaughter, Abby) passed away on Jan. 9. Petrie was involved with the Elburn American Legion’s Women’s Auxiliary, played an active role in the Elburn Memorial Day ceremony for many years and helped run the Elburn Community Blood Drive. Her absence has been felt by many in the community. Photo submitted by Cara Bartel to info@elburnherald.com

Community mourns passing of longtime Elburn resident
ELBURN—The passing of lifelong resident Carrie Petrie on Jan. 9 has left a hole in the community of Elburn.

“You never replace someone like Carrie,” Village President Dave Anderson said. “You can get someone to take over her responsibilities, but you never replace her. Carrie’s going to be missed.”

Anderson said his first experience with Petrie was years ago when he and a date stopped in at Robert’s Drive-In in Geneva to get a bite to eat. The restaurant was two-thirds full, and Petrie was not only the waitress who took their order and served them, but the cook who made their meal, as well as the cashier who took their money.

That take-charge, “let’s get it done” kind of attitude has defined her throughout her life, whether she was helping out on the family farm, placing flags on the graves of the veterans for Memorial Day, cooking spaghetti dinners at the American Legion, or managing the Elburn Community Blood Drive every year.

Carrie was the oldest girl in her family. According to her sister Cecelia, Carrie could run a tractor at an early age. During the war, when so many of the men were overseas, she said Carrie was a big help around the family farm. She could drive the horses as well as a set of mules.

“Dad said she was the best hired man he ever had,” Cecelia said.

Carrie, like many of the young girls in her day, wrote to the soldiers fighting overseas during World War II to keep them from being lonely. Grover Petrie from Sycamore was her choice of a pen pal because she thought he had nice handwriting.

When Grover came home from the war, and he and Carrie met, courted and married. They remained committed to caring for the men and women who had served their country.

Grover joined the Elburn American Legion, and Carrie became a charter member of the Women’s Auxiliary. She and the other wives were actively involved in the current American Legion building.

“That kitchen didn’t magically appear,” said Kay Swift, the Petrie’s neighbor. “There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into that building. The ladies were there right beside the men, holding lunches and catering dinners to raise the money.”

The Legion’s spaghetti dinners featuring Carrie’s “private (sauce) recipe,” became an annual event. Swift, who helped out with the dinners, said Carrie had everything so well organized, it didn’t seem to be such a big chore.

Carrie had initially set up the kitchen with a place for everything and everything in its place. Village attorney and Vietnam veteran Bob Britz said that Carrie held everything together.

“I don’t think she was ever in the service, but she would have made a good drill Sergeant,” he said with a laugh.

Together with Britz, Carrie played an active role in the Elburn Memorial Day ceremony for many years. Carrie would read the names of each veteran who had passed away, as well as reciting the poem “Flanders Field” each year. Until several years ago, when the Boy Scouts took over the job, Carrie and a crew of volunteers during the week prior to the service would place flags at the gravesite of every veteran buried in Elburn.

Her dedication and service to veterans included weekly trips to Elgin Mental Health Center, where the 30 or so veterans there would receive packets of gum, cookies, hot chocolate or coffee and other treats that Carrie and other Legion members assembled.

She always felt that no matter what their circumstances were, the veterans deserved the respect and gratitude for the service they gave to their country, Kay Swift said.

“She was a very good motivator,” said Swift, who for the past eight years had helped Carrie run the Elburn Community Blood Drive.

Swift said that when she could no longer donate blood due to a heart condition, she asked Carrie what she could do instead.

“Have I got a job for you,” Carrie responded. And Swift became the blood drive coordinator.

Helen Johnson has known Carrie and her sisters since they were little girls. She said her dad would take the “Gum girls” along with them to basketball games and county fairs, and to Maple Park to make cider.

When Carrie married Grover, they were the first ones to travel to Hackensack, Minn., for their honeymoon, Johnson said. That first trip was the beginning of 40 years of summer fun with family and friends.

“We all cooked together and the guys went fishing,” Johnson said.

Carrie continued to make the drive up to their cabin after Grover passed away. As recently as this past summer, she made the long trip herself, even though her son, Neal, had also passed away, and it was getting harder for her to get in and out of her car.

On her way home, Carrie met her sister Cecelia and her husband Norbert Lund for dinner. Cecelia recalled the numerous nice things that Carrie has done for others.

She used to pick up Cecelia’s daughters and drive them to work at the restaurant in Wasco where she worked, so they could experience what it was like to have a real job. They were able to work their way through college, she said.

“We’re all very proud of her, and all her years of hard work and dedication,” Cecelia said.


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.

Pull-tab collectors help Ronald McDonald House Charities

by Martha Quetsch
Carrie Petrie’s 7-year-old granddaughter Abigail survived cancer as a baby. Now she and her family are giving back to those who helped them during their ordeal, and inspiring others to do the same.

Petrie, of Elburn, said Abigail brings home “gobs of pull tabs” she collects to give to Ronald McDonald House. Abigail’s parents, Cara and Steven Bartel of DeKalb, stayed there while she was receiving cancer treatment at Loyola University Medical Center and Children’s Memorial Hospital.

“They thought it was just wonderful that they could stay there when Abigail was in treatment. They could sleep there, take a shower, all for free,’ Petrie said.

Petrie said her granddaughter has brought hundreds of one-gallon containers filled with pull tabs to Ronald McDonald House with her parents for the past four years.

“She gets donations from everywhere,” Petrie said.

Elburn Chiropractor Ken Baumruck has helped with the effort, offering his office at 319 N. Main St. as a drop-off site for pull tabs for Abigail’s Ronald McDonald House collection. Baumruck delivers the tabs to Ronald McDonald House for them.

“Dr. Baumruck has been just great,” Petrie said.

Former Kaneland Blackberry Elementary School fifth-grade teacher JoAnn Tierney, a patient of Baumruck’s, heard about the Ronald McDonald pull tab program from him. She decided that instead of last year’s efforts, in which Blackberry students collected and exchanged the tabs for money for the student council, they could donate them in the school’s and Abigail’s name to the Ronald McDonald program. So she brought the jug the students filled with tabs to Baumruck’s office.

“It was more meaningful to give to him for the local girl’s Ronald McDonald House collection,” said Tierney, now the Blackberry librarian.

Abigail and Blackberry Elementary students are among hundreds of individuals who have collected pop tabs to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Ronald McDonald House has the tabs recycled and receives the market value of the recycled metal, plus a charitable match from the recycling company, United Scrap. Last year, Ronald McDonald House raised more than $40,000 from the program.

Photo: Abigail “Abby” Bartel, 3, is a cancer survivor whose parents stayed at Ronald McDonald House during her treatment. Courtesy Photo

Elburn community blood drive

The Elburn Community Blood Drive is Thursday, Feb. 12, from 2 to 7 p.m., at the American Legion Hall, 112 Main St., Elburn. To schedule an appointment, call Carrie Petrie at (630) 365-6032. Walk-ins are welcome. Photo ID is required.

Visit any Heartland Blood Center mobile or donor center location between now and Feb. 28, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a four-night Disney stay for four, three days of admission to Disney parks and four round-trip airline tickets. For rules and conditions, visit www.heartlandbc.org.