Carolyn's Story

WALDOBORO - Carolyn Staples Chapman, 69, followed the western sun into the horizon on January 22, 2016.

Carolyn was born on May 5, 1946 to George and Charlotte Staples who resided at 16 Chestnut Street, Rockland. She lived there along with her sisters, Elaine and Marie, until she married and started her own home. Carolyn made some lifelong friends early on who lived close by, and who played a vital role in her later years when their help was needed.

In her early years, she was a member of the Rockland Brownies, and the Girl Scouts. She was not a selfish little girl, and she saw to it that her good friends got most all the credit for the things that impish girls can get into. Not to say that spraining her ankle sliding, when she wasn't supposed to be sliding, did not put her in the dog house at home. Her close relationship with Judy Goodman developed into a lifelong bond with her that lasted until the day she passed away. Carolyn earned her letter in softball. She was one of the school librarians under the watchful eye of Mrs. Trafton. During high school summers she became a certified lifeguard and watched over the beach at Chickawaukee Lake, worked at the First National Grocery Store as a cashier, as well as trying a brief excursion into the sardine packing processing line operation at the local sardine packing plant. After graduating high school in 1964, she worked for a local finance company.

She was an active, ambitious and attractive young girl who had a winter job as a lifeguard at the Camden YMCA where one late winter evening she saw this guy showing off, who didn't show a lick of sense about how to use the diving board, and he needed her help before he put himself in the hospital. They had a brief exchange at poolside and eventually agreed on a date with neither one of them realizing that within six years they would-be wed. And that's how she met Sam. When thinking back on their first date Sam still wonders how the movie Stagecoach To Indian Rock ended.

Carolyn was an accomplished seamstress, making shirts, dresses, and sport coats during and after high school as well as a very good cook. These were two of the things about her that caught Sam's eye and kept his attention. Sam and Carolyn became engaged during Sam's junior college year in 1967, and when their marriage date was set for 1969, she made her own wedding gown.

During their first year of marriage, she and Sam rented a house in Warren. Carolyn worked at the finance company in Rockland and Sam worked at a marine research center in Walpole. In 1970 Sam became an officer in the Army stationed at Fort Lewis in the state of Washington. They lived in army supplied housing in a quadrangle housing complex along with other junior grade officers and their families. Carolyn, being the efficient homemaker that she was, didn't need much time to keep their military housing unit neat and tidy, so she joined in with other wives close by and as a group they learned to work with ceramics and craft painting. She spent many days and weeks producing works of art that she eventually brought home to Maine that she shared with friends and family. Inside the Fort Lewis Circle of young officers' wives, she became well known for her friendly personality and her cooking accomplishments which gained her some post notoriety. Eventually she was asked by the Battalion Commander's wife to organize a Battalion level charity bake sale. It was a huge success, became an annual Battalion event and actually had a positive effect on Sam's military evaluations. Makes you wonder just who does rule the roost, huh? Because the Vietnam War was winding down, making future advancements slow due to all the returning officers, Sam saw the handwriting on the wall and mustered out in 1972.

They returned to Waldoboro to start their lives anew in earnest in 1973. They purchased a fix-it home which they labored diligently renovating nights and weekends. Sam worked at a marine research center below Damariscotta, and Carolyn had a job in a Damariscotta dental office in which she spent many hours reading in a dental chair while waiting for Sam to remember she was there. In their home renovations, their first two priorities were the upstairs bathroom, and a nursery which was there ready when the boys came along. Jason in 1975 and Andy in 1977. At that time, she became a Mother and a homemaker for real. At one time she developed a bit of an ornery streak when Sam decided to grow a couple of pigs. When he asked her for help feeding them, she came back with: I'll be your wife, I'll have your children and take care of them, I'll buy the food, I'll cook for everyone, I'll keep the house clean, I'll cut your hair, I'll lug in the wood, I'll cut the brush, I'll weed your garden, I'll can your vegetables, I'll mow the lawn and I'll even shovel snow BUT I'LL BE DAMNED IF I'LL EVER FEED PIGS." All said in about five seconds, leaving Sam speechless and a few steps backward.

Carolyn remained home, caring for the boys until they started school. Then she began working for a researcher in the sea water laboratory that Sam managed and after he retired, she returned to being a homemaker, but still found time to pick up her craft painting again and decorated her house with her art. She became a baker extraordinaire, producing some of the world's best homemade pies. She made bread for the home, and her boys grew up only knowing that good bread, and became famous in school for the sandwiches packed for their school lunches. Her abilities in the kitchen were passed on to Jason and Andy.

As the boys grew, she became involved with the Farm Team program in Waldoboro, helping getting it started, and coaching one of the teams. When the boys graduated to Little League, she did too, becoming a coach of one of the teams. As the boys grew beyond Little League, she assumed the association position of president, which she held for several years. She became a fan and ardent supporter of the high school wrestling and soccer programs and eventually on college soccer and experienced the thrill of Andrew playing in national soccer finals representing Unity College.

When Sam started the Waldoboro Hatchery in 1993, she became his right hand in developing and building it. She became the facility manager responsible for the hatching and early development of the fish. Andrew joined in during his college years, working with Carolyn, and the two of them raised tens of millions of fish during the time the hatchery operated. It was during the last year of the hatchery's operation in 2007 that Carolyn began the first symptoms of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

On January 22, 2016, Carolyn passed away after years of battling with ALS. During that time there were many friends and family that visited and supported her during what we called our trip on the Oregon Trail into the western Sun and her BFF Judy was there supporting and always encouraging and occupying her mind with memories and everyday goings on that women all over like to pick at like cats with a catnip ball.

It was truly like a trip on the Oregon Trail. Some days there was traveling over flat prairie lands, sunny skies and warm trailing winds. Other days were rainy, the ground was rough and filled with water filled pot holes and the axel would break but through it all was their enduring love for each other. Well the trip is over and Carolyn has gone over the horizon with the western sun.

We all, everyone, love you Carolyn so please keep that with you where ever you are dear.

And me the most of all.

Throughout her life Carolyn lived her life full of happiness and contentment, always having a smile for those she encountered. She took pride in her home, her cooking and her sewing capabilities. She loved her softball games, watching her birds at the feeders and all the four legged friends she came in contact with. Emma, Diamond and Lancer will always hold a special place in her heart.

It was without a doubt that Sam was the light of her life, and in her years of need he was her sidekick, her caregiver, her companion but most of all he was her soul mate. They shared a love that lasted well through the six years they were together before marrying and all through their 46 years of marriage and that will endure for long after. They spoke their own language through words, nods and glances, and were able to "talk" about their needs, their weaknesses and strengths until the very end. One thing never missed was the ability for them to communicate their love, it was one that never required words of any kind. And through all her trials and tribulations dealing with the ALS she kept her beautiful smile and gave it to everyone who came to see her no matter how she was feeling at that particular time.

Her lifelong BFF Judy was often by her side. With Judy's and Sam's support and the support of her ehope group and her many other friends providing daily care, she maintained an extraordinary positive attitude about her situation which allowed her to survive her journey following the western sun for so long a time.

Carolyn was predeceased by her father George Staples, her sister Elaine Seibold and various aunts and uncles.

Carolyn is survived by her husband Sam, sons Jason and wife Laurie, grandchildren Cole and Kyleigh of Washington, ME; Andrew and wife Vanessa, grandchildren Keenan, Mason, and Ainsley of Waldoboro ME; mother Charlotte Staples of Spruce Head, ME; sister Marie Goss of Spruce Head ME; sister-in-law Mary and husband Peter Waldecker, of South Portland, ME; brother-in-law John Chapman and wife Terry of Nobleboro, ME, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A memorial service will be held at the American Legion Hall, 335 Limerock Street, Rockland, ME on February 13, from 2PM to 5PM. There will be a service at 3PM, with refreshments afterwards.

A celebration of Carolyn's life is planned to be held at Marie's (Goss) home at 52 Deer Run, Spruce Head on Carolyn's birthday, May 5. This is to accommodate family and friends from away, who are unable to attend the February memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Carolyn's memory may be made to P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center, P.O. Box 707, Rockport, Me 04843.

Arrangements are entrusted to Hall's of Waldoboro, 949 Main Street, Waldoboro. Friends can share condolences, or light a candle for Carolyn at www.hallfuneralhomes.com
Published in Bangor Daily News
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