Caitlin Van Ermen
For more than 80 years at MSU, it has been a tradition for 70 plus selected students per year to be awakened by their friends at 5 a.m. to gather at the Beaumont Tower for a surprise induction. This unique induction has remained a hallmark for Tower Guard, an MSU organization that provides assistance to students with disabilities. In May of 1950, Rachel Rerick (Rae) began her year of service as a Tower Guard member, reading to fellow Spartans registered with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. She and other members gathered for Tower Guard organizational meetings on the third floor of the Beaumont Tower, just as was done the previous 16 years and the 65 years that would follow.
During her year in Tower Guard, she read to fellow Spartans with visual impairments registered with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. She reported to the basement room of the old library to begin her 120 hours of service. Rae remarked, “The very best part of Tower Guard was that I met Bill McCready.” She spent the next 61 years reading to him.
A recipient of Rae’s reading, Bill used a reel-to-reel tape recorder to document what she read so he could listen to it when he wanted to study again. When she recently reminisced about the many Tower Guard students reading to Bill over his four years at Michigan State, Rae remarked, “He always remembered them fondly!”
Rae entered Michigan State as an Elementary Education hopeful. Bill attended Michigan State as an eager pre-law student. After graduation and Rae’s year abroad as a Rotary Foundation Fellow at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, they began their adventure together when they were married on the NBC TV series, “Bride and Groom,” in New York City.
Bill and Rachel’s 1954 honeymoon trip to Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania with the new car loaned by “Bride and Groom.”
Their lifelong experience started in East Lansing, continued in Ann Arbor, and then anchored in Tawas City. Rae taught in Tawas Area Elementary Schools, and Bill opened a law office in Tawas City. Soon after, Bill began his political career serving as Justice of the Peace, followed by four years as Losco County Prosecuting Attorney and 30 years as Probate and Juvenile Court Judge.
The McCready clan grew as Bill and Rae raised four children. Two of their children eventually became Spartans, which called for frequent nostalgic trips back to their familiar University.
Celebrating 50 years of marriage with Leader Dog Zeke
After receiving the first of his five Leader Dogs when he was in Law School, Bill became an active member of Lions International and he would visit clubs to talk about Leader Dogs for the Blind. He served one year as a District Governor of Lions. He was also on the board of the Michigan Youth Services program at Wurtsmith Air Force Base, as well as several other civic organizations.
After a lifetime of honorable work, Bill passed away in March of 2011. Rae stated, “He was a good husband and father, and a well-respected citizen.”
Bill and Rae’s story brings with it great sense of purpose to the RCPD. The Spartan success of these past Tower Guard and RCPD members exemplifies the mission of “Maximizing Ability and Opportunity.”