Carol Perrier, 58, was killed about 9:45 p.m. when she lost control of her SUV on 168th Avenue, south of Lincoln Street and just around the corner from her home.
“In all the years that I’ve known Carol, I’ve never known her to say one bad remark about another person,” said her husband, Armand Perrier.
A neighbor who lives across the street from the Perriers, Jane Shultz, said Carol was unpretentious, genuine and kind.
“She was just somebody that was all about other people besides herself," Schultz said.
Carol Perrier used to teach school when she lived in Iowa, said another friend, Jane Pofahl. She said Perrier continued to be a stay-at-home mom with her son after they moved to Grand Haven Township.
"She volunteered," Pofahl said. "She was very close to her youngest son.”
Sgt. Steve Austin of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department said Perrier's 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe hit a signpost, spun around and ejected her. She was not wearing a seat belt, and the vehicle rolled over her and landed on its tires.
Amy Calahan lives near the crash site on 168th Avenue. She said Perrier was unresponsive when Calahan’s son and husband rushed down to the scene after hearing squealing tires and the crash.
Police said Perrier died at North Ottawa Community Hospital a short time after the crash.
Shultz and Pofahl said they were surprised that their friend had not buckled her seat belt.
“That doesn’t sound like her,” Shultz said. “She used to drive that older van. She was the most careful person.”
“She always wore her seat belt,” Pofahl said.
Pofahl wondered if a deer ran across the street in front of Perrier's SUV, causing her to lose control of the vehicle.
“There’s a lot of deer out here,” Pofahl said.
Shultz and Pofahl became acquainted with the Perriers when the family moved to the neighborhood about nine years ago.
“They had just moved from Tennessee," Pofahl said.
Pofahl said Carol Perrier’s brother-in-law already lived on the street and knew that the Pofahls had their house up for sale at one point. The Pofahls sold their house to the Perriers, and the families have remained friends.
“I just saw her yesterday,” Pofahl said Monday afternoon. “We caught up. I gave her a hug. We talked about getting together soon.”
Pofahl questioned that any alcohol was involved in the crash.
“She just wasn’t a big drinker,” Pofahl said.
Armand Perrier agreed.
“That’s not my wife,” he said.
Perrier said his wife had a drink earlier in the afternoon, but nothing that evening.
“Carol was born in a small town in Iowa,” her husband said. “She had a good, solid value system that was instilled by her parents. She ... passed it on to her children.”
The Perriers have two daughters: Angela, 29, and Courtney, 24; and a son, Armand IV (A.J.), 15.
The family shared memories of their late wife and mother as they gathered after dinner on Monday.
Armand and Carol went on their first date when she was 19 and they were students at Iowa State University. She earned degrees in early childhood education.
“She was always an advocate for the family,” Armand Perrier said.
Carol initially taught school in Woodward, Iowa, but became a full-time mom after Angela was born in 1983.
“(Carol) was very supportive of the children no matter where we lived,” her husband said. “She was very supportive of my career and all the changes, the moves. I could not have asked for a better partner in life.”
“She was always there for me, for everything,” Angela said. “I’m really going to miss her.”
“She was so understanding of anything and everything that ever came up in life,” said Courtney. “Her attitude was so positive — always funny, always making jokes.”
A.J. said he liked that his mom supported him even if she really didn’t want him playing a sport like lacrosse.
“She’s been my second mother since I was 16,” said Angela's husband, Brian Woline.
The Perriers are members of First Presbyterian Church of Grand Haven.
The crash remains under investigation, Austin said.