Beloved wife, sister, aunt, and daughter Carolyn Mae Crews (Gilroy) died March 21. Born in Mound City, Kansas, December 30, 1947, she was 73 years old. Carolyn, who always projected love and positivity, spent her last year aggressively treating her cancer. She’d overcome it once before and faced its recurrence with a belief she would do so again.
When facing chemo last year and the prospect of losing her hair, Carolyn approached it with her perennial good attitude — shopping for cute hats and contemplating dying it pink and spiking it up when it started to grow back. Unfortunately, this time the cancer proved to be too aggressive after its return in early 2020, and Carolyn didn’t get to test her pink, punk rock look.
To her husband Rickey D. Crews and her fur babies Wendell and Cali, Carolyn was the world. They made their home in Basehor, Kansas, where they’ve lived since 1990. After retiring from her position as manager of the Fire & Pump Marketing Division of Fairbanks Morse Pump in 2013, Carolyn was able to spend what would be the last years of her life caring for those she loved and enjoying life. During her 34 years at Fairbanks Morse, Carolyn met her best friend and partner in fun, Cate Schiller. They always said “they were sisters from different misters.”
Always a kind spirit, until her cancer and Covid19 made it impossible, Carolyn helped her mother, Pauline Gilroy, by regularly taking her grocery shopping, to appointments and paying her bills. She was generous with her time and money, regularly giving of both to those she loved and to her favorite charities.
Carolyn loved KU basketball, jigsaw puzzles, reading, gardening, and meeting her friends and sisters for lunch — especially if it was at a Mexican restaurant that had good margaritas. She particularly enjoyed the monthly luncheons with her friends from high school that she had kept in touch with throughout the years.
Carolyn also loved her many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. When her first niece was little, Carolyn started a tradition of saying “Stephie, I remember when you were born, and I loved you from the start,” whenever they were together. A tradition that endured throughout her life.
Carolyn and Rick met in 1976 in Roeland Park, Kansas. On their first date, they went to see Jaws. They got married at Wells Overlook Park on June 4, 1977, outside Lawrence, Kansas. Throughout their 43 year marriage, Carolyn and Rick raised several four-legged furry children. In addition to her rescue pup Wendell and kitty Cali, pups Roscoe and Ruby were their constant companions for more than 10 years.
Carolyn spent most of her childhood with her siblings growing up in Eudora, Kansas. She graduated from Eudora High School in 1965 and before that graduated from Holy Family School in 1961.
In addition to her husband and mother, Carolyn is survived by sisters Cathy Johnson and Connie Gilroy and her husband Chip, and brothers J.C. Gilroy and his wife Linda, and Jim Gilroy and his wife Joleen, as well as many nieces, nephews and great nieces and great nephews.
She is preceded in death by sisters Colette Foster and Cyrilla Loria; brothers-in-law Randy Johnson and Allan Loria; and father John Gilroy.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of Greater KC, 5445 Parallel Pkwy, Kansas City, KS, 66104, or Harvesters-The Community Food Network, 3801 Topping Ave, Kansas City, MO, 64129 and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.