Carolyn Leuthold, 79, of Columbia, Missouri, and Molt, Montana, died April 6, Good Friday, at her home in Columbia of pancreatic cancer.
Carolyn was born in 1932 in Monterey Park, California. She grew up in California and Oregon, leading to a lifelong attraction to the Pacific Ocean, its coastlines and its seafood.
Carolyn was valedictorian of her high school class in Estacada, Oregon, and received a scholarship to Lewis and Clark College, where she earned a degree in English, education and library science. She also did graduate studies at the University of Montana, Oregon State University and George Washington University.
In 1957, Carolyn married David Leuthold, who later became a professor at the University of Missouri, and they subsequently lived in California, Missouri, Michigan and Montana. They celebrated their 55th anniversary two weeks ago. They have two children, Janet and John. Carolyn also regularly opened her home to international students and friends, resulting in a gradually expanding family. Carolyn was an excellent cook, with an awareness of the importance of good nutritional food, inherited from her mother. She loved fresh fruits and vegetables, and gardened all her life, being noted for her “green thumb.” She was very creative, working in such mediums as sewing, pottery, landscaping and flower arranging.
In 1956 Carolyn served as an International Farm Youth Exchange delegate to Belgium, the first trip in a lifetime of international travel. Later in life she also lived for short periods in New Zealand, England and Romania. Her last international travel was another visit to Myanmar to check on a project which has sent 600,000 books to Myanmar libraries.
Other work experiences included office work, interviewing for the U.S. Census Bureau, program evaluation and research on aging with MU sociology researchers and operation, with her husband, of a Montana cattle ranch. In October 2011 she rode in her last cattle roundup.
Carolyn was a lifelong civic activist and consumer advocate. In the 1970s, she served as secretary of the Missouri Association of Consumers, as a consumer member of the Missouri Governor’s Energy Council, and as a consumer activist on Farm-City Committees. She chaired mental health associations in Boone County and in Sweet Grass and Stillwater counties in Montana.
She was active in the Columbia/Boone County League of Women Voters, serving as president, chair of voter service and moderator and organizer of numerous candidate forums. She wrote and edited Columbia voter guides and citizen information fliers. Recently she was awarded the Eleanor Goodge Award for service to the League of Women Voters. She served the Missouri League of Women Voters as lobbyist on issues of voter access, campaign finance reform, government ethics, human rights and election law.
Carolyn was co-chair of the East Campus Neighborhood Association. She was one of the founders of the Senior Recreation Program at Oak Towers, of the Voluntary Action Center in Columbia, and of the Wardrobe. For the VAC, she co-authored several editions of the Directory of Services in Boone County. For many years she served as an election judge in Boone County. She also served on the Boone County Records committee and the Community Housing Resource Board.
She was a member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Columbia, and of the Billings (Montana) Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship. She enjoyed music and reading, sang in the church choirs and appreciated her book clubs. In Montana, she was also active in a local extension club, a garden club and Friends of the Library.
Carolyn is survived by her husband David, her daughter and son-in-law Janet and David Holt of Leawood, Kansas, her son Johnny Leuthold and his wife, Sarah Hartung of Portland, Oregon, grandchildren Lauren Holt of Lawrence, Kansas, and Tom Holt, a student at Hendrix College in Arkansas, and sister Corrine Romero of Loveland, Colorado, and her children, and brother Bill Varitz and sister-in-law Marge Varitz of West Linn, Oregon, their daughter and grandchildren. She is also survived by her extended families of Jeff and Nora Tsay and their children and grandchildren, Sam Tsay and Angel Liu, Patrick and Shu Hsien Tsay and their children, and Mihail and Mihaela Popescu and their children. For each of these extended families, Carolyn had been helpful in ensuring that international students had the opportunity to succeed in America.
In addition, Carolyn leaves numerous in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews and friends who shared their love and affection for her as she faced the end of life.
Memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice. Websites of some of the organizations Carolyn supported include: www.lwvcbc.wordpress.com; www.uuchurch.net; www.montanamentalhealth.org, www.uubillings.org and www.nargislibrary.org. She has donated her body to the MU School of Medicine, one last teaching opportunity.
A celebration of Carolyn’s life will be held at Unitarian-Universalist Church of Columbia, 2615 Shepard Boulevard at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 14.