Carolyn L. Bage, 83, resident of John Knox Village, Lee's Summit, Mo., peacefully passed away Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, at John Knox Village Hospice. Following a sudden heart attack, Carolyn waited for all of her four children to surround her and say goodbyes in her final days.
She was born Sept. 26, 1930, in Tiffin, to Karl and Ernestine Leiner. Carolyn was the second oldest child. She dearly loved her older brother, Charles Phillip Leiner, and her younger sisters, Suzanne Leiner Jackson and Mary Jane Leiner Schulz Jones.
She enjoyed sharing memories of her Tiffin life including going to football and basketball games, as well as the history club at school, learning bridge, enjoying slumber parties with her girlfriends, and having her father, Karl, be the popular choice to drive Carolyn and her friends to their various activities.
Carolyn graduated from Columbian High School in 1948 and enjoyed the next four years at Hood College, Frederick, Md. Known by her nickname, Lyn, she loved her time at college and spoke of the train rides to and from Tiffin, as well as the dances with surrounding colleges and universities. She graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1952.
Carolyn moved to Cincinnati and worked at General Electric with the aircraft nuclear propulsion department. She was one of the first women in the country to be trained on a computer. In 1955, she married Earl Bage and moved on to her next career as a loving mother to her four children, Lisa Bage McWain, Donald Bage, Barbara Bage Crowe and James Bage. The family moved from Cincinnati to Gulf Mills, Pa., to Huntsville, Ala., to Wayne, Pa., and then to St. Louis where she lived for more than 35 years.
Her St. Louis years featured raising four children, serving as an incredible hostess for countless family holiday meals and developing strong ties to Ivy Chapel United Church of Christ. Carolyn and Earl also became guardian parents to Carolyn Miller Detwiler and Evelyn Miller, twin daughters of Carolyn's uncle Roscoe Miller. Roscoe passed away when the girls were very young, and the girls moved from Florida to St. Louis to live with Carolyn when their mother, Helen, passed away in 1972. Six children, five of them teenagers, in one house might have daunted some, but Carolyn never hesitated; taking care of family was her cornerstone. Both girls moved back to Florida, but Carolyn and Earl enjoyed offering a home to them. Carolyn liked to know that the girls were doing well and looked forward to any visits with them in St. Louis or Florida. While in St. Louis, she became close friends with Erma and Arnold Counts, her sister and brother-in-law, and shared so much with them. She and Erma enjoyed many cups of tea, and Arnold loved Carolyn's pies, especially the year she made him a different one each month as a present. Erma and Arnold loved all six of the Bage/Miller children.
In 1978, Carolyn began a second career in retail sales when she began working in the men's furnishings department in the West County Famous Barr store. Her youngest son, James, who also worked with Famous Barr and now with Macy's, tells of being amazed at how many store managers in several different cities have told him that Carolyn taught them everything they know about men's furnishings. Tiffin people will remember her father's family store, Leiner and Son, and know that she loved following in the steps of her grandfather, father and brother.
Also during those St. Louis years, she took care of several grandchildren when needed who also enjoyed her holiday gatherings and the special delight she took in Christmas and its traditions. The grandchildren are Kristian Bage Rogers, Shannon Bage, Katie McWain, Atticus Crowe, Collin McWain, Andrew Crowe, Rory Bage, Alec Bage and Liam Bage. In addition, she enjoyed four great-grandchildren, Savannah Martinez, Addelyn Bage, Rowen Nichols and Asher Rogers. Anyone her children married, as well as any relatives they gained through marriage became part of Carolyn's group of loved ones.
In 2005, when James and his family moved from St. Louis to Fort Wayne, Ind., Carolyn joined them and spent five fun years in Fort Wayne where she enjoyed her grandsons, her daughter-in-law's care of her, her church, her friends and her many trips. When James moved to Lee's Summit, Mo., where her oldest daughter also lived and was near to her son in Olathe, Carolyn came to John Knox Village where she quickly became involved in its many activities and also made many friends. She especially enjoyed attending family celebrations hosted by her children and in-laws, and she delighted in introducing her family to her John Knox friends.
Interwoven throughout all the years of Carolyn's life is the little town on Lake Erie known as Lakeside. Her grandfather built a cottage when Carolyn was little and then later built another that Carolyn and her family enjoyed every summer. Carolyn's parents, Ernestine and Karl, instilled a strong sense of the importance of family gathering and always offered the summer cottage as a place for any family members who could come. While Carolyn had to miss some summers, she savored any chance she had and was a summertime resident over the years. From chaplain hours to every possible lecture and program, Carolyn treasured all activities. Lakeside held a special place in her heart and offers many memories for her family.
Shortly before Carolyn suffered her heart attack, she found a letter from her father in her memorabilia collection. In it, he wrote of how important she was to him and how wonderful she was; she treasured that memory and listened to the letter again shortly before she passed away. Going through Carolyn's apartment following her death, her children found she had saved every letter they had ever written her. In addition, a letter written to them several years before was discovered tucked away in a box; its words echoed those of her father and brought them comfort. Those wishing to honor Carolyn's memory could pass along the joy she gave to her children by writing a cherished note to their children or parents telling how happy they have been to have them in their lives.
A memorial service for Carolyn took place Saturday, March 1, 2014, at John Knox Village Chapel. She will be returned to Tiffin for her final resting place next to her beloved parents this summer. Her family and friends will gather again in Lakeside this summer and remember her in the special town on Lake Erie that meant so much to her.