As an author and humorist, Reid Champagne is known for his absurd & sophomoric observations of everyday life. While the story of how Reid met wife Carol (after being widowed late in life) is so sweet it belongs on Hallmark, his family would argue his inept & smart-ass tendencies belong on a 2020 reboot of Grumpier Old Men.
Alpine Enzian, Carolyn’s favorite. photo credit: Sean Schmidt
Carolyn Kay Marquardt
August 10, 1949 – May 23, 2017
If you asked those who knew Carolyn, they would tell you what they remembered most was her laugh. I remember it as a great full body dry heave of joy. They would also mention her hugs. “Huge sister hugs,” Marianne describes them.
Carolyn and Marianne dancing to the beat of their different drummers.
That Carolyn exuded joy was something well remembered by her nephew Sean. “She was almost always smiles from cheek to cheek; this happiness tended to resonate with everyone around her, and aside from being a very fun and outgoing auntie, this was probably another of many reasons I always looked forward to her company.”
Brother Michael visited Carolyn often at her home, and traveled with her to Germany. “Carolyn was her happiest in Kirkland and Bavaria while being with people she loved. Always looking for the beauty in people, places and contributing to everyone’s happiness. It was a joy to be with her. Carolyn will always be in my heart and mind.”
Carolyn and Michael on their first trip to Bavaria together
Her younger brother David remembers her visits to the Marquardt clan in the bay area of San Francisco. “You always knew ‘Carolyn was in the house’ It was Happy Time. Later in the visit and after a couple or three glasses of wine, there would often be the linked arm dance with little sister Marianne. The sister bond couldn’t be closer and such a joy to watch. Sometimes the dance would end with the two performing Carolyn’s famous mock penguin flipper fight with Marianne, both laughing all the while and ending up out of breath and red-faced.”
While Marianne confirms that Carolyn “was always happiest when she was with family or dancing,” my history as her dance partner with the German schuhplattler group was a happiness of a different order, I’d have to say. Struggling to guide me through the various folk dances as if she were tied to a mannikin filled with cement, Carolyn was happy, no doubt in the way Mother Teresa was happy ministering to the desperately poor of India.
Carolyn’s joy of life was born of a childlike innocence to everything she experienced. Once, when she had first told the dance group about me, they asked via phone if I wanted to know anything about her. “Does she strike you all like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm?” I asked them, to which they all replied in unison, “Yes!” Somewhat crestfallen, Carolyn muttered, “I have to get another tattoo.”
From left to right: Hannah Zinn, Zoe Welch, Bryn Parsons and Julia Gaulin
Sean perhaps sums it up best for all of us. “I think about Auntie C. nearly every day and slowly, the sad memories of the end are being washed away by the lovely memories we had together.”
“She is someone who knows everything about me” Marianne adds, “and has never judged me. She is someone who I could always call if I ever needed to vent. I miss that. We have a really strong bond, which I still feel. She’s my guardian angel, watching over me as always, until my next sister hug.”
Carolyn’s memory lives on in other ways as well. On May 6, four German majors at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington were the recipients of the Carolyn Kay Marquardt “Go See Stuff” Travel Award, which provides a cash stipend for qualified students planning to spend their junior year studying in Germany. I know that would make Carolyn especially happy. She loved traveling to Germany, Bavaria in particular, alone, with family and friends, and till the very end, with me.