Ice Cream, ‘Man Coffee’ and a Coleman Cooler

Skip the fifth wheel. Pass on the RV. Carol Egner preferred the simple pleasure of camping in a tent.

“It was always a tent, never a camper,” said Carol’s son Dennis. “They had us all over the place in that thing.” When Dennis and his brother Kenneth were young boys, the pair used to cram inside a small “two-and-a-half” person tent with their mom and dad, Jack, on their camping adventures around the country. Aside from snowmobiling, camping was their favorite family activity growing up. “You should have seen it when they switched over to the four-person tent,” Dennis said. “There was so much more room! It was huge!”

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With so many fond camping memories, it was only fitting that after Carol’s funeral visitation and service on Monday night we served ice cream cups (complete with wooden spoons!)––another one of Carol’s favorite things––out of the same Coleman cooler Carol packed herself more than 50 years ago. Family and friends lined up to grab a cold treat and take a look at the vintage treasure.

By sharing in this simple memory, everyone here tonight had the chance to participate in telling Carol’s story.

Also on hand at the gathering––”hot, strong and black” coffee, otherwise referred to as “man coffee” by Carol. After her husband’s death in 2008, Carol became a regular at the Peppermill Grill on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids, so regular, in fact, that she had her own specially reserved coffee mug.

While ice cream, coffee and camping ranked high on Carol’s list of favorites, nothing could come close to the love she had for her children and, most especially, her grandchildren. During the service, they walked to the front with individual blue carnations––Carol’s favorite flower––and placed them together in a vase to honor the life and legacy of the woman who loved them so well.

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Meaningful doesn’t have to be big. Meaningful doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact.

To read more about Carol's life, visit her personal memory page.

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