Carolyn Washburn, 86, of Hastings, IA passed away on Friday, October 25, 2013 at Hospice with Heart in Glenwood, IA. A Celebration of Life with time of gathering will be held on Saturday, November 2nd from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Loess Hills Funeral and Cremation Center in Malvern.
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Memorials: Nursing scholarship in her memory
Carolyn Louise Washburn, age 86, slipped peacefully into the hands of God on October 25, 2013 after living an incredible life and fulfilling a final promise she made to her beloved husband, Albert, that she would join him some day in eternity.
Carolyn was a woman of extraordinary strength and strong will who possessed a unique sense of humor and a quick, cutting wit. Born in Des Moines, IA on August 13, 1927 to Robert Erwin and Carolyn Eudella Kearns Lawson, she was a graduate of Omaha Central High School and the University of Omaha. In college, Carolyn soon realized her life passion was nursing and medicine and she entered nurses training in 1945 as a member of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps at the University, receiving her license in 1948.
She began her nursing career at the University of Nebraska Hospital and it was there that she would meet her future husband, Albert. They began to date and soon fell in love, and the couple was married December 29, 1948. Albert moved with his new bride into a family home on the Washburn farm near Hastings, IA that had been lovingly restored and prepared for the newlyweds, and although Carolyn was not a farm girl by nature, she quickly picked up the many talents and skills needed in her new life on the farm. For over 20 years she was a partner in the farm operation, helping to raise crops and caring for livestock while maintaining a bountiful garden and flowers and - most importantly -- managing an active and growing household that now included two children, Robert and Linda. The activities and memberships that she participated in while the kids were in school are too numerous to mention, but the County Fair and helping with 4-H projects were certainly among her favorite endeavors.
As her children grew, Carolyn once again returned to her beloved nursing career, with one of her most noted accomplishments being the establishment of the Mills County Public Health Nursing service, which she directed for seven years. She was then named Public Health Nurse Supervisor with the Iowa State Department of Health, managing eight Southwestern Iowa counties and a territory that was later expanded to include 15 counties. Her expertise and many accomplishments resulted in her being listed in the noted "Who's Who of American Women" for 1980.
After retiring, Carolyn continued to give of herself and joined the Jennie Edmundson Hospital Auxiliary, sharing her expertise and compassion to support and bring comfort to family members and loved ones of patients there. She was instrumental in creating the Oncology Waiting Room Service at Jennie, spending long hours to create a training program and sharing her kind smile and incredible sense of humor with patients and family members each week as a volunteer there. Being in the Auxiliary also provided an outlet for her love of the County Fair, as she served numerous times as the Southwest Iowa Community Director Chairman managing the theme, set-up and volunteer recruitment for Jennie fair exhibits in Malvern, Avoca and Council Bluffs. She served three terms as a member of the Jennie Auxiliary Division Head Executive Board.
Carolyn was part of a unique generation who grew up during WWII and saw many changes throughout her long life, but always retained her fantastic sense of humor and heartening perspective on life. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother; a loyal friend, an educated woman, well-travelled, classy, down to earth and very, very real. She believed with all her heart that she would be reunited with the people she loves in a better life and remained in control of her life and how she lived it to the very end. She was deeply loved and respected and will be sadly missed by those who knew her and whose lives she so kindly touched in her time here on Earth.
Carolyn is survived by son Rob Washburn and wife Linda of Hastings; daughter Linda Perry and husband Michael of Marion, IA; grandsons, Benjamin Washburn, John Washburn, and Cameron Perry; granddaughter Eva Perry; great grandsons, Gabriel Washburn of Dunnellon, FL and Jack Washburn of Des Moines, IA; other relatives, and a host of friends.
Carolyn is preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Albert, on September 9th 2013, her parents, and a sister Virginia Lawson Perdue.