Me and Mom
On August 27th, 1936, Pauline Cales was born in Frostburg, Maryland, a pleasant town nestled in the lush green Cumberland Mountains. After a long and fruitful life she went home to rest in the arms of the Lord on July 1, 2022, in Wayland, Michigan.
The second child of Paul and Rita Conroy, Pauline was born into a traditional Irish Catholic family. Growing up with her four siblings, they learned the Celtic basics of life: Attending Mass at St. Michaels, finishing chores, doing well in school, and an undying allegiance to Notre Dame’s collegiate football program.
When it was just the two of them, Pauline and her older brother Francis were inseparable. He was a comedic genius and could break into funny full-blown characterizations with the slightest provocation. Throughout her life, she learned the pointers of great humor from him. Pauline’s family and friends always appreciated the witty and sarcastic rebuttals she could throw out at a moment’s notice. No matter her mood, she could make you laugh, even if it made you cry.
Movies were the soundtrack of Pauline’s life and a conduit to the world outside of Frostburg. Stopping at the corner drugstore on the way home from school, she would read every entertainment magazine to catch up on the latest Hollywood news. Her expertise in classic movies and celebrity lifestyles became legendary in the tight circle of overrated and snobbish film critics. Over the years, she would generously share her love of performing arts with her children and grandchildren.
Her family moved away from the small town to Detroit, Michigan, the automobile capital of the world. Her dad worked at Ford, and her mother stayed home juggling the handful of children. Her father indoctrinated Pauline in the love of sports. She played on the St. Thomas’ High School basketball team, and the rumor was, a famous NBA point guard perfected her patterned crossover dribble technique to help win multiple championships.
She enjoyed viewing every sport possible on television, and knew all the stars associated with each one. Her competitiveness and vast knowledge of trivia would be an asset in winning card and board games while also assembling jigsaw puzzles in world record times.
Eventually, Pauline confessed privately she quit being a Detroit Lions fan after years of the team being the joke of the league. She and her turncoat son had been secret followers of Joe Montana and the 49er’s and the future G.O.A.T., Tom Brady. Pauline hoped the NFL didn’t broadcast games in heaven as her father demanded loyalty to every Detroit sports team no matter the emotional pain they inflicted.
During high school, Pauline worked at a jewelry store. She could have been a runway model. No matter the social situation, she always looked like a million dollars. Pauline always made sure that her family looked like they belonged on the cover of Vogue magazine. Till the end, her excellent taste resonated in all the beautiful gifts she gave to her family on every birthday and holiday.
After graduating, Pauline met Clarence Cales. The thin, intelligent, and good-looking man was quickly smitten. They fell in love and were married. Before starting a family, Pauline worked for the Detroit News back when celebrities representing the greatest in the sports and entertainment world walked past her desk. She kept a thick autograph book in her desk drawer to prove it. Over the years, top-tier auction houses and her children have inquired about the treasure’s whereabouts.
Later in life, Pauline worked at the SpartanNash Company and Mary Freebed Rehabilitation Hospital. She enjoyed working and excelled at every position she ever had. Many of her fellow workers became some of her longest and dearest friends. Pauline taught her children an incredible gift for the workforce. The ability to procrastinate, have fun, and finish any project on time as required. Unfortunately, her son only perfected the procrastination and fun elements.
Pauline and Clarence had two children, Paul and his younger sister Anne. She gave her children every chance possible to succeed in life, both intellectually and artistically. Outside of teaching the foundations of Catholicism, sports, and the arts, she always encouraged and supported her children’s hobbies and her son’s crazy obsessions. Every summer, they would load up the car and take a family vacation somewhere in the United States. The various locations contained equal amounts of fun, history, and great food.
After her children married, Pauline found her place in the world. She became the world’s best grandmother. Shasta, Will, Jack, and Luke became her obsession. Pauline was always at their school events and investing in their lives. She took her grandchildren to the movies, theater productions, sporting events, and her favorite activity: Shopping. She loved them wholeheartedly and would always sit down and listen to them as only a loving grandma can.
The only problem that developed was when her grandson went to Michigan State, a rival of Notre Dame. Along with leaving the Lions, she dangerously became a State fan for her grandson. In heaven, she watches over them with love and encouragement.
As the dust settles and we navigate through the suffocating sadness, we are thankful for our priceless moments with Pauline. We will carry them forever till we meet her again in heaven.
The family of Pauline Cales sincerely wants to thank Green Acres of Lowell and Wayland, along with Emmanuel Hospice, for their kindness and the extraordinary care they gave our mother. Please make all memorial contributions to Emmanuel Hospice in her name.