Carolyn Marie Johnston Wheelock died at her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 30, 2021. She was born in Brookings, South Dakota on March 31, 1926 as the daughter of Ralph and Blanche Johnston. She grew up with her brother and two sisters in Brookings until her family moved to Albuquerque before her senior year. She graduated from Central High School in 1944 and UNM in 1948 with a degree in English and Political Science.
Upon graduation she moved to Washington, D.C., to begin her thirty-year governmental career in the field of public information. She served as Chief of Current Information Branch, Soil Conversation Services, for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; as an Information Officer for the U.S. Air Force in San Francisco, California; and for seven years as a writer-producer for the Far East Network in Tokyo, Japan. During these assignments she traveled extensively throughout the Far East and Europe.
Upon returning to the United States she became the Public Affairs Officer for Francine Neff, the Treasurer of the United States during the Nixon Administration. Francine was her college roommate and sorority sister at UNM. In the final years of Carolyn's career, she was the public relations officer for the U.S. Savings Bonds division.
Carolyn retired at the age of 55 and returned to Albuquerque. She was a member of Southwest Writers, a 70-year member of the PEO sisterhood, and a member of St. Stephen's United Methodist Church.
She described herself as a "late bloomer" because she bought her first house at age 55, learned to drive at age 60, and married her first and only husband, James Wheelock, at age 68. They lived in Albuquerque until he passed away in 2008.
Carolyn continued her creative writing by publishing articles in Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque Woman, Good Old Times, Mature Magazine, New Mexico Woman, Sage Magazine, and AARP Publications. Her article on the glories of eating beef called, "When You Ache for Steak: 100 Million Meat Eaters Can't Be Wrong," was published in New Body Magazine. She loved that her articles generated controversy as indicated by numerous "letters to the editor."
Carolyn was a "one of a kind" sort of person with a love of exotic clothing, rousing conversations, and writing original plays for others to perform. She often came up with clever and witty comments. Her seven nieces and nephews, when they were young, didn't know what to make of their "Aunty Mame." But when they were older they came to appreciate and love their Aunt Carolyn for the unique and wonderful person she was.
Carolyn is survived by her sister, Doris Riemen, of Big Sandy, Texas. Her seven nieces and nephews are literally scattered across the North, South, East and West of the Unite States.
Carolyn's cremains will be interred in Brookings, S.D., next to her mother and father. An informal family memorial services will be held there later this summer. Carolyn's last words about twenty-four hours before she passed were to her sister, Doris, "Dying is hard." May Carolyn rest in peace, knowing that according to Psalms 91 in The Bible:
And He will raise you up on Eagles Wings,
Bear you on the Breath of Dawn,
Make you Shine Like the Sun,
And hold you in the Palm of His Hand
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