Carolyn Jean McCann, of Chehalis, left this world on Jan. 12, 2023, to join the two loves of her life — her late husband, Roland, and her lord and savior, Jesus Christ. She was surrounded by her children and passed away peacefully.
Carolyn was born Sept. 30, 1939, to Harry and Katherine Hayes (Brooks), in Falls City, Oregon. She survived her first night in a shoebox in a warming oven, to the surprise of the family doctor. A logging accident took her father when she was 3, and shortly thereafter Harry Todd became Carolyn’s true father for the remainder of her life. She was the seventh of 12 siblings and learned at a young age how to pull her weight and make ends meet. Her hearing and speech were poor — often mistaken as “dumb” by classmates and teachers — but with the help of her amazing family, she persevered. They had adventures that would make Tom Sawyer jealous (and scared), and their resilience still motivates their descendants today.
In 1954, Carolyn married Jim (Norman) Rexroat, settled in Kelso, Washington, and had two children — Joyce (1962) and Leslie (1963). They divorced in 1965, and soon after Carolyn married Roland McCann, who she spent the rest of her life with. They had four children together – Todd (1966), David (1968), Timothy (1970) and Robert (1977) – first settling in Winlock, then moving to Chehalis after a fire claimed their home. She studied accounting at Centralia College, was an employee at National Frozen Foods in Chehalis, spent many years running a home day care, worked at the Eugenia Center with her sister Char and was an active member of her church. She and Roland especially enjoyed “holding church” at local retirement homes on Sunday afternoons, and running the children’s program at summer church camp.
She has 44 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Carolyn’s faith, optimism and compulsion to help others was remarkable. She brought joy, hope, guidance, food, clothing, housing — you name it — to everyone around her. She raised her kids and others’ kids, literally. She helped when no one else would, using less than others had. She loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren immensely and was “grandma” to more people than we can count. She loved to play and sing western and gospel songs on the piano, bake maple bars and cinnamon rolls for all of Lewis County and could turn any three ingredients into a meal you’d throw your diet away for. She loved to crochet afghans and dish cloths as gifts. She cheated at cribbage and canasta. She also canned more than Del Monte, and could process fish, game and livestock at will. Her family gravitated to her, and she impacted everyone within reach. She hugged ‘cause she meant it.
Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents; nine siblings (Timothy, Robert, Stanley, Jack, Carol and James Hayes; Sharon Barrett (Hayes); Harry and Kenneth Todd); her husbands, Jim Rexroat and Roland McCann; and one grandchild, Randi McCoy. She’s survived by two siblings, Charlene Fisher (Hayes) and Danual Todd; all six of her children; and 43 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Her impact far exceeded her resources, making her one of the most accomplished people we’ve ever known. She’ll be immensely missed by everyone who was lucky enough to know her. We love you mom and dad. Thank you so, so much.