March 31, 1928 - May 8, 2023
Katherine Pier Huyck-Mapes lived a full life in her beloved community of Sunfield, Michigan, which encompassed 95 years of her own brand of wisdom. “Kate” was known for her keen sense of humor; her commitment to supporting the town in a variety of ways, such as providing her nursing skills for her neighbors’ scrapes & bruises and general need of advice; along with her compassionate loyalty to her friends and family.
In 1961 Kate married her neighborhood childhood friend, Larry Mapes (1930 - 2014) who grew up working in his family-owned businesses; Mapes Furniture Company and Mapes Funeral Home. While Larry continued in the furniture business, he and Kate maintained life-long ties to their hometown by supporting endeavors such as the Sunfield Farmer’s Picnic, the Sunfield Fire Department, and the Welch Historical Museum; along with the town’s ballgames, parades and many other events throughout the years.
Kate’s early years were modeled by her parents, Stanhope “Doc” Huyck and Florence Huyck-Schavey. Doctor Huyck was a relied-upon and compassionate town physician who oftentimes graciously accepted a sack of produce for a late-night house call. Florence was a school teacher and gifted artist. After a day in her classroom, Florence enjoyed playing the piano and doubling over with laughter at her friends’ pranks! Kate inherited several traits from each of her parents.
Upon graduating from Sunfield High School—The blue & gold Wolves!—she entered the St. Lawrence Hospital nursing school in Lansing, Michigan. Having grown up around her father’s medical practice, Kate had a natural knack for patient care. She loved to help people and enjoyed honing her professional skills during her work in the hospital and in several private physicians’ practices. Kate also loved to tell on herself by citing some of her humorous, past incidents.
As a young teen, Kate was caught by her father smoking a cigarette. Doc Huyck’s parental method of discipline was to have her continue to puff on the cigarette while he gave her a tour of his medical office. In a jar was a diseased smoker’s lung. Doc proceeded to give her a lecture on the possible consequences of her habit. Kate always said he had a way of getting his point across!
While still in nursing school Kate loved to let off steam after a hard day of studies and hospital work. One of her pastimes was to plug the shower room drains so she and her classmates could use the floor as a slip-&-slide! A teacher found out and gave her a good reprimand. After the fact, Kate felt the fun was still worth the punishment.
Kate grew up with one sibling, her younger brother Hans Huyck. Even though she loved him dearly, she enjoyed telling stories about their many childhood squabbles. When she lost him, in 2021, her retelling of their many adventures together brought her ongoing comfort.
Kate is survived by her four daughters, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. Daughters are: Kathy Black, of Grand Ledge; Becky Calabro, of Sunfield; Karen Mapes-Lerch (Bill) of Breckenridge, Colorado; and Amy Acker (Mike) of Sunfield. Grandchildren are: Ariel (David) Oltean, of Detroit; Hayden (Mari) Acker, of Sunfield; Isabela Acker and Easton Acker, of Sunfield; and Max Lerch, of Colorado. Great grandson is Roman Oltean of Detroit.
Kate doted on her grandchildren and, when they were little, she loved nothing more than to get down on the floor with them and “play!” In addition to keeping a toy box for their visits, she also had a collection of her own toys; miniatures & holiday characters playing music, moving and flashing colored lights. The grandchildren shared in Kate’s delight of whimsical things!
Kate also encouraged her four daughters in their pursuits of play by helping them set up ventures such as a backyard carnival—with a real pony, for Becky— tap dancing shows provided by Karen, dressing up the pet cat in a baby buggy for Kathy, and allowing the older sisters to put wigs & costumes on Amy, the youngest daughter.
Kate appreciated the simple things in life. Just taking a walk or riding her bike around town brought her enjoyment. She loved the springtime ritual of planting her flowers. Her favorites were petunias, impatiens, and—when it was still allowed—morning glories climbing up a telephone pole. She adored Frank Sinatra and so many songs from the 1940’s, which brought back her youthful memories. She sang in the choir at the Sunfield Methodist Church and enjoyed the fellowship of the other congregants. While raising her daughters, she would sometimes play a tune and encourage them all to get up and “shake a leg!”
Kate donated time to the Sunfield Historical Society and Sunfield District Library by working tirelessly on the publication of the book, “Sunfield Town and Country, The History of Sunfield & Vicinity.” She baked yummy, homemade peach pies for the Methodist Mint food booth at the park. Along with several of her women friends, she presented two fun musical numbers, to provide entertainment at the annual picnic talent show, as can-can dancers and flappers. Kate was always game for creating a costume and pretending to be someone else. She loved to tell the story about how, as a teenager, she drew a face on her knee, wrapped a blanket around her leg, and pretended to “talk” to her baby. Whenever she reenacted it, she got a good laugh!
Her family always came first and she was readily available to be a good listening ear. Her girls remember coming home after school, grabbing a snack, and gathering in the living room to share their daily activities with mom; she was always interested and supportive. Kate was nostalgic and, by the time Amy graduated she confessed, she had saved all of the girls’ prom dresses! Another sentimental moment came after her daughters had outgrown their dolls; Kate, who had saved a collection of them in the basement, installed fresh batteries and fired them all up; a walking doll, one splashing in a tub, another chatting, etc. Her inner child was always alive and well!
A Celebration of Life for Kate will be held graveside, at the Sunfield Cemetery, on Saturday, July 22 at 11:00 am. Please join the family for a luncheon after the service at 239 Second Street, across from the Sunfield park. In honor of her, gifts can be given to:
SPY’s Scholarship Fund
Sparrow Hospice Service
Mailed C/O ROSIER FUNERAL HOME
PO BOX #36, SUNFIELD, MI 48890
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Katherine Pier (Huyck) Mapes, please visit our floral store.
SPY's Scholarship Fund
Sparrow Hospice Services
1210 W. Saginaw St., Lansing MI 48915