Here is the biography read at Carolyn’s funeral. Even though I knew all of this, I’m still impressed when I see her accomplishments in one place. She was driven to succeed.
Carolyn Frances Whitaker was born February 21, 1948 in Denver, CO. Her parents were John Ward and Violet Marie Hitchell Ward. Early in her life Carolyn lived in Chula Vista, CA, Platte, SD, and Orange, CA. She was the fourth child of five. The year that she spent in Platte with her grandmother was especially significant in her life.
Carolyn graduated from Orange (CA) High School in 1966. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Irvine in 1973, specializing in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Carolyn was employed by Rockwell International on the Space Shuttle program in the 1970’s in Environmental control and Life Support Systems.
Carolyn also did environmental airport noise consulting for J.J. Van Houten and Associates, and thermal engineering for TRW Systems. She became a registered Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering in 1978.
Carolyn married Will in 1975. They have one daughter, Bonnie, who was born in 1978. The Whitakers Lived in Diamond Bar, CA and Rancho Cucamonga, CA between 1975 and 1994.
In 1985, Carolyn made a career change. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling from Chapman University. She was licensed as a Marriage, Family, and Child counselor in California. She also was a Certified Trauma Counselor. Carolyn worked as a counselor in several clinics and also established a private practice.
With a move to Tucson, AZ in 1994 Carolyn became a Certified Professional Counselor and Certified Marriage and Family Therapist in Arizona. She worked as a Mental Health Counselor for Palo Verde Hospital, and was also in private practice. Later she did substitute teaching in the Marana Unified School District.
Carolyn’s varied interests have included Making clothes, painting, and writing. She taught sewing classes at Stretch & Sew in the 1980’s.
Carolyn became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1990. Her callings in the church included ward librarian, in-service teacher where she trained other teachers, stake missionary, and primary teacher. Recently, she served a mission at the Tucson West Family History Center assisting members of the Church as well as many who are not members of the church who were interested in searching their genealogical roots.
Carolyn was diagnosed with cancer in the lower abdomen in late 2005. After a short struggle with the cancer, she passed away on January 31, 2006. Carolyn is survived by her husband Will Whitaker. She is also survived by three siblings: James Ward of San Diego, Alice Nelson of Redding, CA, and John Ward of Centennial, CO. She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother Thomas Matthew Ward. Other survivors include her daughter Bonnie Harper and son-in-law Kevin Harper, and their children Margaret, Matthew and Andrew.