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A Lifetime of Service

Dr. John Carney was a fixture in the Ludington community for over 70 years. 

A respected physician, husband, father, and competitive bridge player, he was also known for his diligent care and responsiveness to his patients. 

“John spent his life helping people,” said Andrea Large, executive director of the Community Foundation. “He would think nothing of going to someone in the middle of the night or when it wasn’t convenient to him.”

This disposition was shared by his wife Dr. Ruth Carney. The two met in medical school at the University of Michigan and married in 1944. After a few years working in Los Angeles and Ann Arbor, they finally settled in Ludington—the “city of their dreams.” 

The Carneys’ love for this community ran deep. In a conversation early in their marriage, Ruth told John, “I’d rather live in Ludington than any place in the world,” and he agreed. They bought a house, turned part of it into an office, and got right to work. Both later held positions in local hospitals before they started a family practice that would operate for the next 42 years. 

After a lifetime of community service, Ruth passed away in 2000. In the ensuing years, John married June Strahan, co-authored a book, and enjoyed time playing golf, racquetball, and bridge. He died in 2022 at the age of 100. 

A gift made through his estate created two funds at the Community Foundation to carry on his family legacy and support local students.

“Education was John’s passion,” said Andrea, “He wanted to encourage and help people overcome barriers to getting their education. He believed that it could make a huge impact in someone’s life.” 

Eleanor Anderson—a nurse and longtime colleague of the Carneys—experienced this firsthand. John encouraged her to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner and then offered her a job at the family practice. She worked alongside him until his retirement. “It was a real compliment that they wanted me to join their practice,” said Eleanor. “Dr. Carney was a great teacher.” 

John’s encouraging spirit lives on in the two funds he created. 

The Drs. Ruth and John Carney and Irene Carney Kendrick Memorial Scholarship—established in memory of his first wife and their late daughter—creates opportunities for adult students, students pursuing postgraduate degrees, or those facing barriers to getting a college degree. The Drs. Ruth and John Carney Education Fund is a field-of-interest fund designed to address the diverse and changing educational needs in Mason County for generations to come.

For more information about establishing a fund to support causes close to your own heart, contact Andrea Large at or 231.845.0326.