Carolyn L. Goeke
The sunrise was a bit dimmer on May 11, 2021 as Carolyn Lee Goeke claimed her eternal reward and joined her parents Arden and Imogene (Robertson) Kurtz in heaven after a three-year struggle with pulmonary fibrosis. While we mourn the loss of this great woman, we marvel at the positive impact she had during her time with us. Carol was an amazing mother to three children, Joseph Anthony, IV (Jennifer), Marcie Christine (James) Goeke-Morey, and Keith Michael (Cecilia) and nine grandchildren, Henry, Maxwell, Sadie, Anna, Stephanie and Michael Goeke, and Carolyn, Amara, and Genet Goeke-Morey. Mom had an incredible love for the beach and spent her last years in North Beach, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay with her companion of 30 years, James Joseph. We will forever be thankful to Jim for his unceasing devotion to our mother, and the tireless love and care he provided to keep her safe throughout the pandemic.
Carol was born August 25, 1947 and raised in Brentwood, Missouri as the oldest of seven children: Michael (Violet) Kurtz, Theresa (James) Squires, Robert (Cherry) Kurtz, Mark Kurtz, Joan Ziegler, and Joseph (Michelle) Kurtz. As the oldest child of two working parents with a large family, Carol was called upon from an early age to help care for her siblings, a role she would repeat throughout her life. As her parents aged, she became a tireless advocate and caregiver for them, helping to manage their medical care and ultimately helping to ensure that their last years were spent in a loving and caring environment where they were treated with dignity and respect.
Like her mother, she became a registered nurse and spent her life dedicated to helping others. As a nurse she took on some of the most challenging roles the profession has to offer. She comforted those with alcohol and chemical dependency as they worked through the arduous task of shedding their demons in rehab. Never one to shy away from even the hardest tasks, she rescued others in their darkest moments when she answered their call to a suicide hotline. Knowing that the needs of patients didn’t end when they left the hospital, she spent many years providing home health to patients, bringing care to them so that they could recover at home.
Family and friends will long remember Carol for her incredible love of animals. Known as Kitty-Mama to some of her grandchildren, Carol surrounded herself with furry friends throughout her life. Over the years she chose to live in homes that backed up to nature. This provided her the joy of relaxing in her chair where she could watch the deer, squirrels, birds or whatever else, wander past her windows. Animals gravitated to her and she to them.
Her love for the ocean provided so many wonderful family memories. Once she found the beaches of the Florida panhandle she was hooked! Whether it was Fort Myers, Destin, Navarre or ultimately Rosemary Beach, time on the beach was a happy time for her. Taking a stroll along the sand, watching a flock of seagulls or relaxing in a beach chair under an umbrella listening to the waves or enjoying the sunset, all brought her immense peace and happiness. But it was spending time with her family and giving them the opportunity to enjoy those things that seemed to bring her the most joy.
Family was incredibly important to her and she demonstrated that in so many ways. She took great care to mark special occasions with a heartfelt note in her beautiful cursive script and often with a homemade, specially decorated cake. In a very forward thinking move, over the first year of each grandchild’s life, she meticulously gathered items typical and relevant to the time and created a memory box time capsule to be opened on their 21st birthday. While she only lived to watch one unboxing, with this project she has left a legacy that will remind each grandchild how important they were to her.
Carol spent the last years of her life in a little village on the Chesapeake Bay with Jim. As her disease progressed, taking the strolls that she loved so much along the boardwalk became increasingly difficult. While the trips ultimately took longer and required more frequent stops to rest, the view remained beautiful and she cherished every step with Jim. When the pandemic hit, she and Jim created a rigid bubble that kept her safe. Curbside delivery, social distancing, isolation and FaceTime interactions became the norm. She was so excited when she was finally vaccinated, freeing her to see her family again.
Although her plans were cut unexpectedly short due to a severe flare of her disease, we will forever be thankful that we, her children, were able to join Jim by her side as her suffering came to a peaceful end in Kansas City. While the final days came much faster than we had hoped, we are relieved that her breathing is now easy and her lungs full in heaven and we are so grateful for the time we had with her.
We are comforted by the outpouring of love and support we have received since Mom’s passing. The kind messages sent, and memories shared mean the world to us and we are very grateful.
A memorial service will be planned for later this summer in St. Louis to celebrate her life.
We ask those who wish to do so, make donations in her memory to the Mother of Good Counsel Home, 6825 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO 63131, www.mogch.org/mogch. The sisters of Good Counsel provided amazing care for her parents in their final years and Mom felt so fortunate to have found a home for them that was so full of love. Their compassion meant a great deal to Mom and the home needs our support to continue its mission.
While her time with us was too short, her love was unconditional, and time spent with her always brought happiness. May she rest in the peace of God until we meet again.