Anita Lillian Carlson Mineau passed away on Oct. 10, at peace in her sleep following a lenghty illness of emphysema/COPD. Her daughter, Mary Stillwagon of Englewood, Fla. was there with her inher beloved little apartment in Gladstone, Michigan.
She was born on Feb. 18, 1930 in Wisconsin Rapids to Edward and Lillian Carlson, both deceased, who shortly thereafter moved to the Escanaba area where they lived in the Pine Ridge – Ford River area before moving to Escanaba. She moved to Gladstone in 1973 and is a member of All Saints Catholic Church.
Her greatest legacy was her four daughters, Linda, Barbara, Nancy and Mary – who she taught by example the goodness of working hard to achieve success and most of all how to be kind when there was so much unkindess around her.
A woman of undying faith and courage; she was gifted with a spirit of determination. From building her own home in 1973 as a single woman to writing and publishing her own books, she was determined to reach whatever goals she set for herself and her children. When her daughters were very young, she was determined to give them piano lessons and sold eggs to buy a piano. She sold vegetables and dozens of loaves of bread at the Farmer’s Market to get them a horse.
She used her secretarial training at Escanaba Senior High School (1948 graduate) when she worked for years at Harnischfeger Corp., the Delta County School system, St. Francis Hospital, and Community Action Agency where she served as an activities director for the senior center in Gladstone.
When not working, music, gardens, and singing, were all her favorite things. She promoted those loves to her children as well. Arranging flowers, winning prizes at the Escanaba U.P.State Fair; her gardens were populated with gladiolus and dahlias; peonies and lilacs; and most popular of all – her iris.
“As a wee girl,” recalled Linda, eldest daugther, “I came eye to eye with an iris bud while holding Mom’s tender hand. I was pointing out the ‘fuffers.’ I reached out to that bud and it sprung open before my eyes – a stunning sight for a toddler never to be forgotten.”
Goldfish ponds, arbors covered with climbing roses and clematis vines, were to be found in her backyard. And then there was the honeysuckle bush with its sweet fragrance that attracted the bumble bees. All were part of the world she wanted her children to see.
Her last couple of years were filled with suffering from her illness – cardiopulmonary disease and emphysema due to smoking for so many years. She quit when it was too late, but whenever she read one of her children’s books to youngsters, she would have to stop to take a breath. Then she would tell them why she couldn’t breathe as well as everyone else. Never start smoking, she’d tell them.
Her books – that included six children’s books, poetry, and a novel – were her own creation emanating
from an imagination that hearkened back to more innocent times; when faith in God was the norm and being helpful to others was automatic and appreciated.
She was recognized with several awards and held literary memberships in the Peace River Center for Writers, The Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association, and the Bay Area Art Association in Escanaba as well as membership in the International Society of Poets.
God has called her home where I know she rejoices with her mother, Lillian and father, Edward. And though I grieve at her passing, I rejoice in her memory knowing that indeed, she is now – as the title of her novel reads – “Free as the Wind.”
She is survived by:
Daughters: Linda Fudala-Tucker and husband Jim of Port Charlotte; Barbara and Jim Atencio of Rociada, N.M.; Nancy and Lance Hendershot and Mary and Jim Stillwagon all of Englewood, Fla.
Eight grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren
Former husband, and father of her children, August Fudala of Bark River
The family of Anita Carlson Mineau will receive friends on Saturday at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at All Saints Church in Gladstone with Rev. Fr. Arnold Grambow officiating. Luncheon will follow services in the parish hall. Burial will be in the Lakeview Cemetery; Escanaba.