Caroline Elizabeth (Reavis) Stuerke

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Caroline E. Stuerke, 82, of Higginsville Mo, died Jan. 8, 2019.
A celebration of life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at Central Christian Church in Higginsville. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11t, at the church. In Carol’s final acts of giving, she has donated her body to science and internment will be at a later date. Memorials are suggested to KCPT in Kansas City and/or The Classic Shop in Higginsville.
Carol was born Jan. 31, 1936, in Sweet Springs to Howard and Pauline Reavis. She grew up in Sweet Springs and loved the outdoors and was somewhat of a tomboy. She fished and swam in the sulfur lake, plus rode horses all within a mile of her house. She had a horse named Topsie that she would spend many hours with through her adolescent years. She graduated from Sweet Springs High School in 1954 and attended University of Missouri in Columbia.
Carol had fond memories of the Tiger football games and college life during this time. After graduating with a teaching degree in Physical Education in 1958, she and some girlfriends traveled through Europe during that summer. That trip would always have special meaning to her as she shared stories with others throughout her life.
Carol enjoyed teaching in St Louis and Denver for the next four years. After years of letters, calls and pursuit, she finally married her high school sweetheart, Bill Stuerke, in Denver in 1962. They would settle in Higginsville and begin a family in 1963 with the birth of their son John. Carol loved being a mom and lamented in notes found later that it was difficult raising this boy who always wanted to be the center of attention and had too much energy. A second child, Maria, was born in 1967, and Carol really enjoyed having a daughter to teach and befriend.
In 1971, the new house that Bill built was finished. The family moved to Elm Street and the north side of Higginsville would never be the same. As the kids grew up, Carol began her service years with jobs and volunteering. She was a school board member, worked at the Higginsville paper as a proofreader, and would be especially involved at her beloved church, Central Christian.
Annual vacations to Branson would bring special kinship to Maria as they searched for “little things” for the dollhouse and the country store. She enjoyed swimming in Table Rock Lake and the paddleboats on Lake Taneycomo.
In 1980, Carol and Bill bought 34 acres of land just outside of Higginsville and built a small lake there. The land was known as the “Dirty Thirty” due to the mud and mess the lake construction made. Many hours of enjoyment were had there with Carol swimming, gardening and entertaining over the years. As the years went by, Carol was particularly proud of Maria for her good grades and was very grateful that John graduated from high school.
In the 1990s, Carol and Bill would begin traveling annually to Melaque, Mexico, with the Echelmeiers, Siegfrieds, and a host of others. Carol had fond memories of these trips and once again, swimming in the warm waters of the Del Mar Pacifico was a highlight each year. Carol and Maria also took many special trips around the United States that will always be remembered.
Carol had severe back problems that slowed her down physically in her later years. However, that did not slow her mind or her compassion. Always wanting to help others, she could barely get into the door of The Classic Shop store in Higginsville, but was intent on folding clothes and helping to raise money for others less fortunate. Carol lived by the golden rule and good morals were the foundation for her kind ways throughout her life. Her mind and humor were sharp to the end. She loved crossword puzzles, Jeopardy, sharing feel good stories or jokes from the newspaper, and playing Scrabble with her grandsons, Mason and Weston.
Carol’s close friends through her sorority, bridge group, church, and small town brought many great memories. Special people in recent years were Barbara and Don Siegfried, Barbara Gilliam, Marilyn Holsten, and her niece Lauren Fricke. Carol would want to thank the people of Meyer Care Center for their kindness with her care.
Carol is survived by a son, John Stuerke; a daughter, Maria Hedrick (Doug); grandsons Mason and Weston Hedrick; a sister-in-law, Betsy Stuerke; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Neal and Phyllis Stuerke; nieces Anne Rothers (Greg), Elizabeth Fricke (Doug); nephew Tom Dewitt (Becky); and a host of great nieces.
She was preceded in death by her husband Bill Stuerke, her sister Martha Dewitt, and her parents Howard and Pauline (Weaver) Reavis. She was also preceded in death by her special cats, Peanuts, Gracie and Lucy, plus many of her lifelong friends.