GLEN ARBOR — Elsie Mae Warnes, 88, of Glen Arbor, passed away Dec. 17, 2013, at her home. Elsie was born on June 8, 1925, in Bohemian Settlement, to the late Frank and Margaret (Kucera) Petrosky.
When Elsie was five she received a kiss from a seven-year-old boy named Gilbert. From that moment on their love for each other grew, and they were married on June 9, 1945. They were married 62 years before Gil passed away in 2007.
During World War II Elsie worked in Pontiac as a secretary for GM. She was going to be a “career girl” before Gil swept her off her feet. She would have to dress up for work and lamented the fact that there were no nylons to be had, except those that Gil would send her back from Europe where he was stationed.
Elsie and Gil ran Warnes Grocery in Glen Arbor. They owned and operated the store for 46 years which proved to be a valuable teaching ground for their children, giving them a strong work ethic, and most importantly a source for putting food on the table. They also ran the dune climb concession for 30 years, selling mouth-watering Dune Stand hot dogs and perfect ice cream cones to locals and tourists alike.
Many area children considered themselves to be “the 13th Warnes,” and Elsie always had extra place settings around the dinner table because, inevitably, one or two extras would show up and be welcomed to a spot on the benches. There was always room in Elsie’s heart for one more.
Elsie’s faith was unshakable, and when times were difficult prayer was her solace. She never complained but lived by, “Say your prayers and put your worries in the hands of God.” She would wonder what anyone could possibly say about her after she was gone — she didn’t do anything. Elsie was faith in action, whether it was treating someone to a free ice cream cone, lending a helping hand or just listening. She asked that we take care of each other and take care of the little ones.
In her spare time, mostly after retiring, she loved painting, gardening, going for rides with Gil in their convertible, beating her family in cribbage, stamping and the arts, especially music. She was an active member of the Glen Arbor Women’s Club and St. Philip Neri Parish.
Mostly though, Elsie was Mom to her children, Gramma to her grandchildren, and “GG” to her great-grandchildren. Rarely did she say good-bye to her family without telling them, “I love you most,” and whomever she said it to could believe her. Her most important career was teaching them the meaning of grace, strength, patience, selflessness and unconditional love.
Elsie will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Elsie is survived by her 12 children, Barbara (Duane) Richardson, Raymond (Elizabeth), Carolyn (Ronald) Allen, Marion (Danny) Harriger, Angela (Richard) Plowman, Kathleen, Susan (Patrick) Brunet, Pamela, Gilbert (Deborah), Janice (Michael) VanRiper, Judy (Michael) Aragon and Michael (Cynthia); 31 grandchildren; 47 great-grandchildren; her sister, Grace (Bob) Schneider; and several nieces and nephews.
Elsie was preceded in death by her husband, Gil; and brother, Don Petrosky.
Visitation will take place on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, from 5 until 7 p.m., at the St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Empire, with the rosary to be prayed at 7 p.m. The funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at the church, at 11 a.m. Graveside services will take place in the spring.
Memorial contributions in memory of Elsie may be directed to the Empire Area Food Pantry, 4902 West McFarland Road, Glen Arbor, MI 49636.
Please visit www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com to share your thoughts and memories with Elsie’s family.
The family is being served by Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home.