Meet Carly

Carly’s Open Space celebration speech

Live your Life.

Remembrance-Lanterns-smI want to thank you all for being here on Carly’s birthday. We celebrate her eternal life today. I have read that an average human being can maintain 50 relationships in their life and yet Carly had hundreds. A testament to her always giving heart and spirit. On her bedroom wall is a sign, Live your life. So lets think about that.

We are all blessed to live in a very special place. Carly loved Traverse City and never wanted to live anywhere else. It’s true that it is beautiful here but I have learned that it is our community that is the big attraction to this area. So let me share with you the kind of people who live among us.

Carly’s brother Mitchell who is vibrant and active in all things in his church. How many young men would care for the children in the nursery. Never a hurtful word for anyone passes his lips. He is just beginning a life in youth ministry.

Carly’s great Aunt and Uncle, Joe & Jean Lada who work tirelessly to help our veterans, their church, and their neighbors.

Carly’s Aunt and Uncle Shane & Diana Lewis who have recently adopted 4 girls from the Ukraine who’s future was hopeless but now is alive with promise.

Carly’s Aunt & Uncle Paul and Melanie Smollen. Melanie has guided and mentored many troubled young women in her previous career here in Traverse City. Today she has been instrumental in discovering how our churches can capture and retain those who visit. Paul is employed by  their church in MO and is active in spreading the lord and his teachings.

Open-Space-sueIDelaney-smCarly’s grandparents Jim & Nancy Ooley who together coached and taught our youth for over 40 years, they too have changed so many lives for the better.

These are but a few of many in Carly’s family who give and so it was true with Carly herself.

Our father who art in heaven gave his only begotten son so that we should not perish but have everlasting life. More now than ever I have intimate knowledge of such a sacrifice and it has changed me. I am becoming a kinder and gentler soul.

I share this all with you because a community is a family. We have the power to be an example for all who desire something better. This is how we change the world. The government will not be committed to an individual in need, only we can provide that.

Carly-Remembrance-smThere is a funny story about having eggs and ham for breakfast, the chicken is involved but the pig is committed.

So I ask you today, go next door and meet your neighbors. Introduce yourself to our fireman and law enforcement who work tirelessly around the clock to serve and protect us all. We are never truly aware of all they do until we need them.

On this day we have so many people to thank. Our friends, we know who you are. Our family who have stepped away from their busy lives to be with us. My employer and coworkers who support me in my effort to help our clients. Those who have entrusted me to protect their homes, cars, and lives. I want you to know that we care about you.

However tonight we gather to celebrate life and thank all of you who have prayed for Carly and us. Those of you who have worried and had their hearts hurting. Those of you who have reached out from near and far away. This is a moment of learning for us all. Always remember what you have done and continue to do for those in need. If you have a disability, find what it is you can do to participate in our world and it’s people. I promise, you will have a full and rewarding life for doing so.

Open-Space-candles-smLast but not least I want to thank Carly’s friends whom she loved so dearly. Carly had a fear of being alone and so she filled her life with hundreds of friends. To them I say, cherish your friends and be kind with your words to each other. Look among you and find those who are in need of your friendship. Your reward will be immeasurable. We, Carly’s family, are now here for you. We have hugs for you as we appreciate your hearts and knowing we are here together in a special time and place.

I stand before you all today humbled by the outreach of love and compassion that Traverse City has bestowed upon us. Now is the time to smile again and Live your Life. I know Carly would want that. We all share now the beauty that was my amazing daughter.

God bless us all.

Love life living Carlys funeral

carly-jumping-through-windowCarly was a beauty queen with a perfect record, she only entered one contest and won. She soon forgot her triumph, as she was always busy in the moment. Carly was a social genius, few could love so many. Carly is a celebrity, a shining star, homegrown from 6 generations of lives from this area we call home. This day is our tribute to her. Carly was an example to us all and I’ve never glanced upon a more radiant glow that was her smile. Carly fought evil and won because love conquers all. A sacrificial lamb so we may learn how to live. A unifying spirit that has brought us all together this day. We mourne because we will miss her so terribly and yet she is engraved forever in our hearts.

Traverse City was her home, how fortunate we are that God placed her here among us if only for a short time. As you observe the young people in our town remember they are our children. Should you ever see a tear, consider what troubles them, Carly would like that. They are our future and we are responsible to leave this garden a better place for our children. As god gave his only begotten son he also gave us his daughter. If you do not believe, this is a modern day example of why you should. If you do not know God, I pray that you do soon. If you seek him, you will find him and discover he has been with you always. Our community has been chosen to teach others how they may learn peace.

There is so much I can tell you about her… Some of her friends lived in big houses and still there were friends who had no home. You see she moved among us all so freely. Her love for animals, she gave a home to so many. Her love of nature, fishing, crafts, photography, and art. She delighted in them all. She was my little tomboy who had nearly as many boy friends as girl friends. Her legacy however is what you can share with each other. In this sorrowful time lets hold each other. Embrace each other as friends, family, and neighbors. Cherish this memory for years to come as a time of understanding. A time to celebrate a new beginning. A time of comfort to us all as now we know how to love deeply.

carlys-funeral-smPraise Christ for this day, as it will live forever in our souls as holy. What we feel is real, the many emotions that touch us. And so it is this way with God in our lives. We cannot hold him in our hands or hear his voice but he is here today and always.

Thank you all so much for this gathering. Those who prayed for us and whose hearts are hurting. We are so grateful she was found and can be laid to rest by those who cared for her most. As it turned out, she was just too beautiful for this world but now is the time to make this world a better place. A place for all the Carly’s out there that need us so desperately. A haven in what can be a cruel world. Life is for living and so Carly did. Like a wild stallion she could never be reigned in, she was that powerful. She said more with her smile than any words can say.

God bless us all and may his will be done,


Carly Jean Lewis Obituary

from the Traverse City Record-Eagle, June 18, 2011

TRAVERSE CITY — Carly Jean Lewis, 16, of Traverse City, passed away unexpectedly on June 2, 2011. Carly was born June 15, 1994, in Traverse City, to Todd Charles and Susan Jean (Ooley) Lewis.

Carly-Mitchell-Grad-open-space-442-smCarly was too beautiful for this world and a gift to us all from God, if only for a short while. She had a smile that was too amazing for words.

She loved her home here in Traverse City and never wanted to live anywhere else. Carly was an ambassador of our culture, community and home. She loved nature, art, photography and animals in all their forms; she gave a home to so many creatures. Carly was a tomboy and spitfire who had hundreds of friends whose relationships she maintained effortlessly.

Carly was a beauty queen who rarely mentioned it to all she knew, a tribute to her humble presence. She was a girl who lived in the moment everyday and lit up the lives of all who surrounded her. She was truly one of a kind, an example to all of us on how to live our lives. Carly was the best; she reminds us that in the end, love wins.

Carly-Mitchell-Grad-open-space-296-smSurviving Carly are her parents; brother, Mitchell James Lewis; grandmother, Nancy (Iverson) Ooley; grandparents, Francis and Marcia (Lambert) Hayward; aunts, uncles and cousins; and oodles of friends.

Carly was preceded in death by her Grandpa James Ooley; great-uncle, Willard Fehrenbach; uncle, Bill Ooley; great-great-great-grandparents, John C. and Harriet (Stowe) Lewis; great-great-grandparents, Charles P. and Harriet (Becker) Lewis; great-grandparents, Gerald R. and Josephine (Schettek) Lewis; grandfather, Charles R. Lewis; and countless others, all of whom lived their lives in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.

Visitation for Carly will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. today, June 18, at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 20, at Westside Community Church, 4975 M-72 W., Traverse City, with a visitation held one hour prior. Pastor Carey Waldie will serve as officiant. Committal services will take place at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens following the funeral