Obituary: Carolyn Marie Thomas

Carolyn Marie Thomas

Carolyn Marie Thomas, 79, died in her home on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. She is now in her heavenly home with her Lord and Savior.

Mom was born in Aberdeen, Washington, on October 25, 1940, to a first-generation Norwegian emigrant ship captain and a second-generation Swedish emigrant mother, Andreas and Elsie (Johnson) Engen.

At the age of 7, she moved to Coos Bay, Oregon, where she eventually graduated from Marshfield High School in 1958. Soon after graduating, she married Mike Coleman and moved to Staten Island, New York, where he was stationed in the Army. As a young 18 year old, she worked on Wall Street, which she remembered as such an exciting time. It was there that her first son, Steve, was born. After returning to Coos Bay in 1962, she had her second son, Brad.

It was on Friday, October 13, 1972 — a typical cold, gray and rainy day — that she arrived in Kodiak with her two young sons, ready to start over after the end of her second marriage. However, she wasn’t prepared for what she found, even though her father, who had sailed here during the war, had warned her and practically forbade her to move here. As providence would have it, when she tried calling her parents to tell them she was coming home, she couldn’t find a pay phone that worked. She had a job with the city of Kodiak and one friend when she arrived. It was those early city employees — from City Hall, the police and fire departments and especially Public Works — that helped her get her footing in this new world she had found herself in. Many of these people became her long-term and closest friends.

As it turned out, the weather eventually cleared and she saw the beauty of Kodiak — the scenery and the people. She made other friends and loved living on the island. She retired from the city in 1992.

Mom loved people, especially those who would argue with her. And she spent many a happy evening at the Village arguing with them. Things must have ended amiably because they kept being her friends. As time went on, she would exchange the Village for the post office, Safeway or Walmart. It was hard to have a short conversation with her.

She had a great sense of humor and loved being the center of attention. Both of these traits served her well during the king crab era of the 1970s. We constantly had a stream of fish and game delivered to the apartment. I remember once coming home to the scratching sound of two live king crabs temporarily stored in the bathtub until she figured out how to cook them! She was given one piece of advice early on: “Never turn down any fish, crab or deer.”

Mom loved going to the beaches and beach combing for shells, sea glass and driftwood. She passed this love on to her granddaughter. She also loved thrifting and would get so excited by the “treasures” she would find — for only 25 cents!

She’ll be missed by many. She is survived by her son, Steve Coleman (and Lisa) of Anchorage; four grandchildren, Stefan, Rebecca, Elyse and Nick; two great-grandchildren, Colton and Caleb; and sister, Andrea Campbell of Edmunds, Washington. Her second son, Brad Coleman, preceded her in death in 2007.

A memorial service will be held once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

(2) comments


Sorry to see this. I always enjoyed running into Carol at the store.

Teri Schneider

This is a beautifully, well written portrait of your mom! Our mothers lived closely together on Near Island. They would often visit. One day after a terrible dump of snow, your mom was struggling to get her car out of the plowed in parking space so I gave her a hand! She was so appreciative that she gave me a hero certificate and a bar of chocolate! So sweet and sincere! I’m sorry for your family’s loss. A grandmother/mom is never replaced. May her memory be held closely by all who loved her.

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