Grace Campbell was born to Canadian immigrants, who later became United States citizens, George and Celestina Arsenault in Dearborn, Michigan, on Oct. 22, 1927. She grew up speaking French and English. As a young girl, she was an accomplished ice skater, snow skier, and danced in ballet. Grace later attended Fordson High School in Dearborn, graduating ahead of her class in Jan. 1945. Many young sailors and Marines would dance with her at USO dances toward the end of World War II. Grace started to work immediately after high school and developed an interest in the Civil Air Patrol.
In 1947, she met and fell in love with Frank Carr, a World War II U.S. Navy veteran who saw action in the North Atlantic against Nazi naval forces. They moved to San Francisco. In 1951, son Steven Carr was born. In 1953, daughter Victoria Carr was born. Her children were her life and deepest love.
In 1962, she met, and later married a wonderful Southern Pacific Railroad conductor named Bill Campbell. Bill brought her four children into the marriage. The Campbell kids loved and protected the younger Carr children. Bill and Grace enjoyed snow skiing, fishing, and traveling. They flew to Switzerland to snow ski several times. Bill was an accomplished amateur pilot. Grace obtained her pilot’s license, including an instrument rating. Bill and Grace owned their own airplane, a Cessna 180.
Years later, Grace flew her own Piper Cherokee PA 140 around the United States by herself. She was a member of the Women’s “99ers” flying organization.
Grace also was an amateur archeologist and paleontologist. Grace studied geology at New Mexico State University in the mid 1990’s while living in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She had several university magazine articles written about her enthusiasm. Grace was labeled the “Oldest Kid in the Class” by professors and students, a label she cherished. They all loved her.
Around 2004, Grace moved to Alpena, Michigan, a beautiful lakeside town on Lake Huron. Some of Grace’s descendants in Canada were “First Nations.” Her beautiful olive skin and enchanting brown eyes show this ancestry. But her two children have blue eyes from their father, and her father (George).
Grace attended Alpena Community College for history and geology courses on a part time basis. She was a voracious reader and could have hosted ‘Jeopardy.’
Grace cherished her Roman Catholic upbringing and continued her deep faith in Jesus to the end of her life. The world lost a shining star.
Grace is survived by her son, Steven Carr, (wife, Cassie) and her daughter, Vickie Renz (husband, Tom). Her grandchildren are Sean Carr, Conor Carr, and Katie Carr. Her dear friends, Josie Cameron, housekeeper, Marie, as well as Marty and Mary were extremely helpful to Grace in her later years, and deeply cherished by Grace.