A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, Oct. 13, at Sacred Heart Church in Staples with Fr. Joseph Korf celebrating. Burial was in the Abbey Cemetery at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville.
Carolyn Arneson McGrath Held was born July 31, 1940, to the late Albin and Hazel (Monson) Arneson in Fargo, N.D. She lived on the family farm near Finley, N.D. and attended country school. She graduated form Finley High School in 1958. After attending business school and working, she enrolled at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks graduating in 1964 with a degree in home economics education. She began her teaching career in Little Falls in the fall of 1964. She spent her entire career of 31 years in Little Falls. She taught family living, housing, sewing and a variety of foods classes at both the junior and senior high. She was a dedicated and caring professional, always putting the needs of her students first. She was both a counselor and friend to them, urging them to call her, “Carolyn.” She put in many hours working with students on projects often staying well into the evening to help them. She married Jack McGrath in 1972. He died after a long illness in 1984. She retired from active teaching in 1995.Avid, active and involved were words used to describe Carolyn’s many activities and interests. She was involved in the PipFest program to help teens with substance abuse problems. A skilled bowler, she worked with the local women’s bowling league serving as league secretary and serving on the state board. She also ran the Little Falls No-Tap Tournament for several years. An avid golfer, she was heavily involved with the ladies’ golf leagues in Little Falls and the Pine Ridge Golf Course in Motley. She was one of the driving forces behind the reorganization of the Lake Shamineau Association serving as the membership chairperson for more than ten years. Primarily due to her organizing and recruiting efforts the Association has more than 200 members. She served on the Board of the Big Brothers/Big Sister program of Morrison County for many years. She administered the Jack McGrath baseball scholarship, named after her late husband, for more than 20 years. She was a devoted fan of Flyer Athletics during her teaching career and for years afterward. In 1988, she completed a life-long dream by riding her bicycle across America from Seattle to Boston. The first third of the trip she rode with Wanda Kapsner. With Wanda having health problems due to the heat, Carolyn completed the rest of the trip solo. She rode 3,564 miles from June 13-July 30 with 38 days devoted solely to riding. She raised more than $4,000 for the Big Brothers/Big Sister program through this endeavor and was named Woman of the Year in Little Falls. In 2008, on the 20th anniversary of the trip, she published a book chronicling her trip. “Pedal Pushing Passion” has inspired many people with its story of strength and determination. Being an accomplished seamstress, Carolyn created her own sewing business called Carolyn’s Creations specializing in making wedding, bridesmaid and prom dresses. She was very active in the Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority of Women Educators. She held various offices in the local chapter, Alpha Lamda, including president. She was the treasurer of the state association and followed that up by being state president in 2007, riding her bicycle to visit chapters all across the state from Chisholm to Rochester. She served a term as the Treasurer of the North Central Region and attended numerous conferences and international conventions. It was her involvement in the Central Minnesota TEC (Together Encountering Christ)retreat program, making CM 93 in 1986, that lead to her the love of her life, Pat Held. They were married Aug. 9, 1991, in front of a packed house at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Little Falls. They made their home on Lake Shamineau where they had 21 happy years together. She was bookkeeper and supply person for the TEC program for several years and served on its Board of Directors. She and Pat worked many TEC retreats together sharing their love of God and each other with the participants. She was a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Staples. It was their shared love of baseball that brought them many adventures and trips. She followed Pat as his baseball coaching career took him to Motley and Staples Motley High Schools and Central Lakes College (CLC) attending games and supporting him in his efforts. This past season, she was the official scorekeeper and “Team Mom” of the CLC baseball team. They traveled together to ballparks throughout the country watching high school, town ball, college and professional baseball. Great fans of the Minnesota Twins, they were season ticket holders and enjoyed games at the Metrodome and Target Field. This past summer they attended the All-Star game in Kansas City. When she was 64, Carolyn trained and competed in a triathlon. She took first place in her age group. At age 70, while undergoing chemotherapy for her cancer, she wanted to play baseball so she and Pat attended the Minnesota Twins Fantasy Baseball Camp in Fort Myers, Fla. At the camp, she received the Kirby Puckett Award for her enthusiasm and love of the game. They had so much fun that they returned again the following year.
Carolyn is survived by her loving husband of 21 years, Pat; son, Michael (Jalane) Pointer of Amarillo, Texas; grandchildren Brady, Zac, Macie, and Hutton; brother, Jerome (Marylyn) Arneson of Cooperstown, N.D.; sister, Mary (John) Payne of Dumfries, Va.; and numerous nephews and nieces and their children.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Jack McGrath; sister, Vivan Tucker and brother-in-law, Ken Tucker.
Pallbearers were Dale and Ryan Tucker, Ross and Phil Held, and Brady and Zac Pointer.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Pine Curtain Productions-George Maurer, ADK-Alpha Lamda, Central Minnesota TEC, Kinship of Morrison County, or Sacred Heart Area School.
Emblom-Brenny Funeral Home