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Carol Joanne Hladchuk-Bigelow (91) long time Torch River Road resident peacefully slept to heaven on August 19, 2022 in Sheboygan, WI. She loved God, her family, her friends and music; still blessing others with her musical and encouraging gifts until God called her home. Carol was born on May 21, 1931, to Wesley and Edna (Duff) Walters, Rhinelander, WI, as the middle child to brothers James (Alice) Walters and William (Cathy) Walters. Following gradation she moved to Milwaukee, WI where she developed her life-long love of antiques and where she met and married James Robert Brackob the father of her four children: Celeste/Sue Brackob of Rapid City, Kurt Brackob of Sturgis, Reid Brackob (deceased) and Elise (Jack) McKinch of Plymouth, WI. Carol enjoyed being a wife and homemaker and spent much of her time driving her children from one Michigan ice rink to another for hockey games.
Having raised her family, Carol began working as an Administrative Assistant first at Marygrove College and then at Providence Hospital. She retired in 1979 when she married her second love, John Hladchuk, and gained another daughter Donna LaClare (Greg Enz) of Stuart, Florida. Carol and John retired to their Torch River cottage in 1985 where Carol became active in a broad range of musical endeavors along with volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity. She and “Gypsy” John enjoyed many travel adventures together as part of the Michigan Airstream Club and spent winters at Traveler’s Rest Resort in Florida.
Having lost her beloved John in 1991, Carol remained at the cottage and continued to invest in others with her musical gifts. She loved feeding the wildlife near her home and weather permitting, her daily Torch River swim. Her Florida winters were full of keyboard club activities, musicals, and orchestra concerts as a cellist with the Treasure Coast and Hernando Symphonies.
In 2003, Carol married fellow music lover Wilbur (Dean) Bigelow. They spent 17 loving years together traveling and worshiping God together through song. Carol was the always-ready accompanist, prepared to perform at a moment’s notice. Carol spent her final two years back in the state where she was born, near her daughter Elise and family. Carol’s love for music observed and enjoyed by all who knew her, was second only to her love for God and her family. Carol leaves behind many dear and faithful friends who have made her life rich and full, beloved grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Carol loved everyone deeply, always had just the right thing to say to encourage others, was generous with her gifts, and lived bravely through many difficult circumstances throughout the 91 years God gave her in this physical world. Carol adds to the orchestra in heaven as she dwells forever in the presence of her Father God and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” Psalm 16:11
An open house to celebrate her life is planned for Oct. 1 from 1 to 3 pm at her home, 13997 Torch River Rd. Rapid City, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Harvest Home Assisted Living in Howard’s Grove WI, where she received the most compassionate and loving care and to the Grand Traverse Musicale Scholarship fund. For online condolences and additional information please visit wenigfh.com. The Wenig Funeral Home in Oostburg (920-564-2771) is assisting the family.
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