Obituary: Carolyn Mary Christian

Beloved daughter, cherished sister, traveler, music fan

Carolyn Mary Christian died on August 30 from long-term complications of COVID-19.

Born in Los Angeles on June 6, 1961, to Suzanne and Otto Christian, Carolyn lived in the Claremont area for most of her life, after first visiting as a young child when her grandfather owned the citrus groves that would later become Chaparral Elementary School.

She was the second of four cherished sisters, all with names starting with the letter “C,” and often pointed out this made hand-me-downs easy, as all clothes were marked “Miss C. Christian.”

She graduated from Claremont High School in 1979, where she happily played the flute in the marching band. She studied psychology at Cal Poly Pomona for two years and was a proud member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority there, serving as philanthropy chairman. These were wonderful, happy, and engaging years for Carolyn, who brought her optimistic spirit to everything that she pursued.

In August of 1981, while on her way to her waitressing job at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor, she was severely injured when a driver missed a red light and hit her car. She was not able to return to Cal Poly due to an ensuing and lifelong struggle with disabling mental illness, but remembered many of the things she learned there, including fluent Spanish and how to cook a delicious turkey.

She was an avid traveler and was able to visit all 50 states with her family; she had many memorable trips to Hawaii and took years of hula lessons there starting at the age of 3. She frequently spent Thanksgiving in Philadelphia and had many travel adventures with Casa Colina, spending time in San Diego, Big Bear, Hawaii, and Lake Mead. Her favorite place was Laguna Beach, where she spent a week each summer that always included at least one meal at Las Brisas.

Music played a big role in her life. Her tastes ranged from Queen to classical music, but her favorite was the music of Christmas. She started playing Christmas carols right after Halloween each year. She treasured See’s Candies and “I Love Lucy.”

“If we each have a purpose on this planet, Carolyn’s was to bring joy to those around her,” her family shared. “She had a keen sense of humor, an ever-cheerful world view, and never complained, despite being handed one physical challenge after another. Carolyn was a deeply spiritual person and led Bible studies in each of the places she lived, helping others to understand its core ideas both in conversation and by setting an example in the way she lived. She was a devoted friend to many people and a beloved daughter, sister, and aunt.”

She is survived by her three sisters, Colleen Christian (Courtland Schmidt), Claudia Christian (Darryl Perry), Cynthia Geary (Tim Geary); nieces Emma Schmidt, Claire Schmidt, Isabel Schmidt, and Fiona Geary; and nephew, Liam Geary.

She was preceded in death by her father, Otto B. Christian, and mother, Suzanne H. Christian; and many treasured aunts and uncles.

Her family would like to thank the staff at Mountain View Center for their devotion, their many kindnesses, and their compassionate care for her over many years, with particular gratitude for the ways they celebrated her every day.

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