Carolyn Gaines was born on Feb. 12, 1941 in Washington, D.C., and died in Berryville on Dec. 3.
In between those dates, she led a life of -- well, let's call it "adventure." From the beginning she was a performer, and for much of her life she shared her tremendous singing talent with countless appreciative audiences: Radio City Music Hall; USO tours; American Light Opera Company; Hexagon (a Washington political satire tradition); cruise lines; and too many nightclubs to name. The lady could sing the blues.
A speech pathologist and special education teacher, she was able to get the best out of her students as she got the best out of her audience. She showed them a way to go and made it so much fun, who could resist going along?
Carolyn began her journey to AA 29 years ago. It was the foundation of her successful sobriety and a source of a vast number of friends. When she became ill, it was the serenity she found in AA that gave her the means to make each day continue to count. The many folks she sponsored in AA over the years were a source of joy and satisfaction to her.
She leaves many devoted friends: Carole and Alice, Marji, John, Shelley and her family, Norja, Lucille and Bill, Brian and Greg, Lamont and Steve, Donna, Sandy, the gang at The Coffee Club and at Pacific Group, and everyone at First Presbyterian Church in Berryville. Thanks go to Dr. Horton, the staff at St. John's Hospital -- Berryville, and her caregivers at Carroll County Nursing and Rehab Center for their skills and many kindnesses.
At her request, there will be no services, but there will be a party to celebrate her life -- most likely in February 2010, the weekend of her birthday. It will be a good one, because there was a lot of life to celebrate.
In lieu of flowers, Carolyn asked that donations be made to OARS, P.O. Box 148, Berryville, AR 72616 or to Loaves and Fishes, 301 Bunch Springs Rd., Berryville, AR 72616. Online condolences may be sent to the family at nelsonfuneral.com.