Mrs. Carolyn Chapman peacefully returned to her Heavenly home, December 14th at age 77, surrounded by her family.
She was born November 25, 1942 to eagerly anticipating parents Richard Worth Cook & Iva Evans Cook. She was a Daddy’s girl through and through, and it was from him that she got her love of growing things. Carolyn spent her childhood and early adult years in and around Reidsville, North Carolina, and remained a proud Tar Heel throughout her life. “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning.”
Carolyn had a keen interest in Early Childhood Development, which paired beautifully with her love of children, crafts, and easy-going temperament. She became a teacher for first and second grade in Moore County, where she taught for 5 years. She met her husband Gerald (Jerry) Chapman on a blind date while he was stationed at Pope Airforce Base. They were married on April 5, 1970. When Jerry was reassigned to Washington State, they embarked on the cross-country trip of a lifetime to the west coast. There she met her husband’s family and had her very first trip in an airplane, (courtesy of Jerry’s Grandpa.) It was a tiny 2-seater that made their take-off and landing from a cow-field, and absolutely took her breath away!
While in Tacoma, they were blessed by their first daughter. Jerry’s assignment to the 49th state brought another adventure. The new parents and their eleven-week old baby girl journeyed north to Alaska via the Alcan Highway to begin their new life. Carolyn and Jerry welcomed their second daughter while living in Anchorage, and greeted their third daughter after they found their lifelong home in Soldotna, AK. Carolyn established herself as a mother of three young girls, as well as an educator and nurturer of many other children in her work as a substitute teacher in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, & Soldotna Kid Cache and Sonshine House. In the years following retirement, her ‘kids’ would still recognize her out and about around the town and wave eagerly or come running with hugs for “Miss Carolyn.” How she loved them all!
Carolyn enjoyed many interests and hobbies; she was a devoted collector of cookbooks and recipes (and tested thousands of them!) an artist and crafter, and a Master Gardener. She could coax even the most recalcitrant seeds into bushy tomato, cucumber plants, or a sprawling field of vegetables and herbs. Carolyn was an early contributor and inspiration to the Soldotna Farmer’s Market. She faithfully brought her bounty every Saturday for many years, and expertly canned and preserved the rest to be enjoyed by her family, friends, & neighbors through the long Alaskan winter. She cherished the friendships she made with other Farmer’s Market vendors and other local gardeners, and held them all dear in her heart.
Carolyn’s down-home, sunny Southern personality charmed and delighted the many people she met throughout her life. She was regularly seen around town in one of her trademark hats, chatting with her coffee-shop friends while sipping her favorite hazelnut latte, indulging the ”foodie” in her with trips to local restaurants (Veronica’s, Fine Thyme Café, & Totally Radish were beloved!) with friends, or scouting local shops (North Country Fair was her favorite!) for tools or ingredients for her next culinary concoction.
Carolyn was a true light, and had a gift for making those around her feel her caring love. She believed firmly that God comes first, others come second, and the self comes last. She always strove for positivity, even in tough times, and encouraged others to do the same. “Life is good!” was one of her favorite mottos. She was a true gem; one of a kind and priceless.
Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Iva Cook. She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Gerald Chapman, their three daughters: Nedra Beth Boze (Marshall,) Carrie Adele Meyer (Matt,) and Sarah Melissa Fillman (Chris,) treasured granddaughters Leslie, Caitlyn, Lily, and Abby, and many, many special friends and relatives in Alaska and North Carolina. “Grandma Cookie” will live forever in all our hearts.
A private family interment will be held in Reidlawn Cemetery.
In lieu of sending flowers, please consider a memorial donation to the Alzheimer's Association in Carolyn’s name.