Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Carly Lewis: A Daughter...
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Carly Lewis: A Daughter Remembered

Rick Coates - October 24th, 2011  

Carly Lewis was two weeks shy of her 17th birthday when she was killed. She would have been a senior at Traverse City High School this year. Her violent murder sent shock waves around Northern Michigan and her family, friends and the Traverse City community continue to mourn her loss as the murder trial of the suspect is expected to wrap up this week.

Her parents try to make sense of the tragedy as they reflect on their daughter and her life.

“She lived every day to her fullest,” said Todd Lewis, Carly’s father. “Everybody who met Carly loved her, she was a joy to be around.”

SHARED CUSTODY

Carly’s parents divorced nearly 10 years ago but they shared custody of both of their children. Carly has an older brother, Mitchell, who graduated this past June from Traverse City Central and is currently attending bible college in Grand Rapids, studying to be a minister.

“I knew it was important for the kids to have their dad in their lives so we agreed to joint custody and since we both lived in Traverse City we did one week each with the kids,” said Susie Ooley-Lewis, Carly’s mother. “Carly would put on happy face even when she wasn’t happy. She had a way about her and she liked to see other people happy.”

Carly was passionate about a lot of things, her family, friends and animals, with high school graduation on the horizon she had a few aspirations for her future.

“She expressed interest in orthodontistry,” said Ooley-Lewis. “She liked white teeth and was always polishing her teeth. But Carly wasn’t one to think too far into the future; she had a tendency to live in the moment. I think ultimately she would become a hairdresser. She talked about going to beauty school and she liked styling hair. We talked about being partners and working together.”

‘LOVED THIS TOWN’

Todd felt that whatever Carly decided to do it would have been here in Traverse City.

“She loved this town. We would take trips together and she would always comment how Traverse City was so much prettier than the place we would visit,” said Lewis. “Carly lived in the moment and she spoke of different things she wanted to do, but she wasn’t really focused on her future. She loved animals and mentioned working with animals for a job.”

According to both parents, much of what Carly focused on was having fun and making sure those around her were happy and having fun.

“To know her was to love her,” said Lewis. “Everybody who met Carly loved her, she was a joy to be around.”

Her mother added: “She was always buying and making gifts for others; she just loved to give of herself as well to others,” said Ooley-Lewis. “She loved crafts and would make bracelets for her friends.”

Carly, despite not playing sports on a regular basis, was quite athletic. Her grandfather was Coach Jim Ooley the legendary football coach who helped to put Traverse City football on the map.

“She definitely was a tomboy growing up,” said Lewis. “Even when she was little she would put the worms on the hook and and take her own fish off the hook.”

Susie Ooley-Lewis remembers that out of the blue Carly wanted to play soccer.

“In 9th grade she went out for the soccer team and made it after not having played soccer since she was in first grade,” said Ooley-Lewis. “I was impressed she went out there and kicked but it was as if she had been playing her whole life like the rest of the girls on the team.

Another sport Carly took up was disc golf, something her father was also very passionate about. She loved it not for the competitive aspects but for the social aspects of it,” said Lewis.

FRIEND MAGNET

Her parents also said Carly was a friend magnet.

“She was a social genius,” said Lewis.

“Carly was on the phone and Facebook all the time and she always said ‘love you’ to her friends and family. Even if she did something that bothered you, you could never stay mad at her. She would win you back over. She was a great friend and was always on the go with her friends.”

“Carly had so many friends from all walks of life, some with money and some without; she wasn’t prejudicial,” said Ooley- Lewis. “She would befriend anyone. Carly was always willing and would go out of her way to help friends.”

Todd Lewis works as a sales agent for AAA Insurance. He has yet to return to work.

“I just can’t function right now, I think about her every moment of everyday and can’t believe she is gone,” said Lewis. “I hope to return to work after the trial ends this week. My clients and employer have been very supportive during all of this.”

For Susie there was no choice but to return to work.

“I own a hair salon so I had to return to work. I get counseling once a week and that has helped,” said Ooley-Lewis. “Everything takes me so much longer to do now, it is harder to concentrate. My clients have been supportive, so has my family, friends and Carly’s friends.”

MOVING FORWARD

After the trial ends this week both Todd and Susie hope to focus their energies on seeing at least something positive come out of Carly’s memory.

“The only way I am able to justify this horrific thing is to believe that Carly’s death was meant to be to make sure that something like this will never happen again in our community,” said Lewis. “That in her death awareness will arise that we need to start creating more opportunities in our community for our youth to stay active and have some sense of purpose.”

Todd Lewis has started that process by creating with other volunteers Carly’s Playground, a disc golf course at Mt. Holiday in Traverse City.

“Building Carly’s Playground was very therapeutic for me,” said Lewis. “It is open but we have more work to do. We are getting ready to put in custom tee signs at each hole with a different picture of Carly on each one. My motivation for doing this was to honor Carly and have a place where her friends, classmates and the community can go to remember her.”

Lewis pauses. “Maybe if this place existed before the person responsible for taking Carly’s life might not have done what he did,” said Lewis. “Maybe this person would have felt like he belonged to something, a community of people who play disc golf together. So I hope this course helps troubled youth.

Susie is also very supportive of Todd’s work on Carly’s Playground (the dedication will be June 9 & 10, 2012) but she has a couple of other additional ideas she would like to see done as memorials to her daughter.

“We need a dog park in this town and I would like to see that named in her honor and the park established near the library where Carly was killed,” said Lewis. “The other thing I would like is to see the building she was killed in torn down. I drive by it almost everyday and it serves as a terrible reminder to all of us as to what happen to Carly.”

 
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