Carol Gustafson Weddle obituary photo
In Memory of

Carol Gustafson Weddle

September 24, 1929 - September 8, 2017


Carol Ann Gustafson Weddle

Carol was born in Union Hospital, Lynn, Mass. on September 4, 1929, to Nils Robert Gustafson and Gladys Cynthia Moore Gustafson. She graduated from Lynn English High School in 1946. Carol attended New England Deaconess Hospital Nursing School and graduated as an RN with honors. She then worked in the Deaconess Hospital Diabetic ward as a bedside nurse and as Supervising Nurse.

Carol married Ben Weddle first on Feb 12 1951 in the Christiansburg Presbyterian Church and a second time for family on June 25, 1951 in the Swedish...

Carol Ann Gustafson Weddle

Carol was born in Union Hospital, Lynn, Mass. on September 4, 1929, to Nils Robert Gustafson and Gladys Cynthia Moore Gustafson. She graduated from Lynn English High School in 1946. Carol attended New England Deaconess Hospital Nursing School and graduated as an RN with honors. She then worked in the Deaconess Hospital Diabetic ward as a bedside nurse and as Supervising Nurse.

Carol married Ben Weddle first on Feb 12 1951 in the Christiansburg Presbyterian Church and a second time for family on June 25, 1951 in the Swedish Congregational Church, Lynn, Mass. That is an interesting story in itself. She moved to Blacksburg, VA with Ben as he finished his senior year at Virginia Tech (VPI). During that period she worked as a nurse in the Radford hospital.

After Ben graduated, he began his career with the Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension Service and they moved to Rappahannock County and then to Warren County in 1953 where Ben served as County Agent. Their first residence in Warren County was a small cottage on the Archie and Mattie Trenary farm, and Carol began working at the Warren Memorial Hospital, where in later years she was asked by the hospital administration to initiate an epidemiology system for the hospital which she did with some objections from a few doctors. Carol and Ben moved to Folly Farm in 1956 and she became a farmer's wife raising her five children, Jeff, Lisa, Sam, Caryl Leigh, and Cynthia.

Carol did hospital and private nursing on a continuing basis while her children were growing . Her firm belief was that it was better for her to stay home with her children until they were of age to attend 1st grade; rather than to work and farm her children out to others to train during that period of their life. She also worked with the Warren County Welfare Dept. to organize and teach Health Care to mostly teenage and single pregnant girls. Most of the classes were taught at Cedarville, in Warren County. Carol provided health care workshops with and though the Community Church.

Carol loved to collect antiques and craft pieces. At first it was mostly to stock up their "new" Folly Farm home, but later for decorating and later still for sale. Carol opened and operated the Folly Farm Arts and Crafts Shoppe in the family's new recreation room. Not long after than, she and her best buddy, Scottie Thomson, turned the one-room schoolhouse where her 4 eldest children attended into The Old Rockland School Antique and Craft Shop, which has remained open for close to 50 years under their supervision. When Ben and Carol moved to Northwood, New Hampshire in 1978, she opened the Cats Paw Antiques and Crafts Shoppe in the barn connected to their house. She loved it.

The family all traveled to Raleigh NC in 1965 and took residence while Ben studied for his Masters degree. Living in a college town made many plays, sport games, and other events and activities more inviting. Carol enjoyed them all.

Carol became a kindergarten teacher's aide at the Stevens City Elementary school while Cynthia was a kindergarten student there.

In the early 1970's when Ben took residence at NC State back in Raleigh for further study, Carol became the primary farmer at Folly farm and made it all work with the Lisa, Sam, Caryl Leigh and Cynthia helping.

Carol and Ben tried their best to be firm and fair backups for each of their children, including their daughter Cynthia, (Snoopy) the youngest who attended Durham High School in New Hampshire. Cynthia and Lisa drove to Durham with Ben in his little Ford truck every morning with Cynthia in the middle where she shifted gears for Ben very well!

Caryl Leigh lived at home in New Hampshire with Ben and Carol and taught 2nd grade at Epsom Central Elementary School.

Their house in Northwood, NH was cold in the winter. Ben tried for several years to keep everyone warm with the house's ancient furnace in place. One morning Carol and Ben awoke to see icicles hanging from the ceiling. That's when Carol insisted they modernize the heating system! Doing that finally heated the kitchen and family room downstairs and the bathroom upstairs. There was a mad dash from downstairs to upstairs every night seeking heat-and lots of warm blankets for the beds!

The Weddle home in Northwood was about half way between where her sister Debbie lived in Bridgewater NH and where sister Nancy lived in Salisbury, Mass. This allowed Carol to organize several family reunions at their Northwood home.

While living in New Hampshire, Carol was able to assist close relatives and a close family friend with health care and other affairs at the end of their lives.

Carol loved to go to the beach just over the state line in Maine. She and the girls could get into the water, but it was too cold for Ben! Carol and Ben often traveled to the mountains of New Hampshire, especially the White Mountains, and also frequented Lake Winnipesaukee and Newfound Lake. She never tired of being a tourist along the coast of Maine. She and Ben finally did one trip to visit almost every town along the coast from Kittery to Eastport.

In 1981 Carol and Ben had the very real pleasure of hosting a Japanese exchange student, Yuko Morisita from Motojuku, Japan. Yuko quickly became a sister to their daughters Caryl Leigh and Cynthia, and to Carol and Ben. She blessed them constantly. Since she spoke almost no English, Yuko wrote out in her limited English, "Mrs. Weddle, when I met you first time I thought as if you were my true mother, and Mr. Weddle I soon felt your great kindness. So please let me call you Daddy and Mommy."

While in New Hampshire, Ben completed his Cooperative Extension work after 34 years and retired from that work. Shortly afterward, Ben got the opportunity to travel to Swaziland in southern Africa with a Penn State University team of Researchers and Extension Workers. Carol said, "Let's go!" So they spent 2 great years there.
Ben's job was to assist the Swaziland Extension Agents do a better job with their farm and farm families. One of the program's successes was providing each Extension Agent with a motor bike (which did wonders for their productivity after a crash-filled start).

While they were at home in Mbabane, Swaziland one evening they had a phone call from daughter, Lisa. It was the saddest news that Carol and Ben had ever received. Lisa had the chore of telling them that on June 7th, 1986 at about 9 pm, their daughter, Caryl Leigh had died in an auto accident near Sanford, Maine. Carol and Ben immediately made plans to fly back to the states for the funeral, etc. There were two services for Caryl Leigh, one at the Weddle home in Northwood and the other at the Rockland Community Church in rural Warren County where they lived and Caryl Leigh grew up. "Tweety", as everyone called Caryl Leigh, was interred in the Rockland Community Cemetery next to her grandparents Benjamin H. Sr. and Mary Kirk Weddle. Her headstone was moved from Ben and Carol's property in Northwood, New Hampshire. That property had once been a Doctor's home and office. Caryl Leigh's headstone was a hitching post for the doctor's patients.

In 1991 Carol and Ben returned to Africa to the nation of Zimbabwe to provide leadership for a mission sponsored by the United Nations (UN). During that time, Carol and Ben toured many nations in southern Africa and later Egypt and Morocco. Carol loved to travel, especially when our children came to visit us.

At the end of the Zimbabwe assignment, Carol and Ben decided to come back to the USA by way of China and Japan. To make that happen, they first went to China, then Japan, and then to Taiwan, because if they went to Taiwan first they would not be permitted to enter China. In Japan they visited the home of Yuko Morishita the lovely young lady whom they took in as an exchange student in Northwood. They learned much more about Japan and met Yuko's parents as well. Ben and Carol concluded that "Around the World" trip visiting Hawaii and San Francisco, and finally arrived home. They have kept in touch with Yuko and her family, she has since married and has 2 daughters.

In 2008 Carol and Ben made a Scandinavian tour which started in Finland, then to Kirkiness in Arctic Norway, where they started their wonderful voyage down the Norwegian coast. Crossing the Arctic Circle was celebrated appropriately. Their tour ended at Oslo where they were met by Carol's Swedish cousin, Gustaf Josefson who traveled with them to Copenhagen. After that, Ben and Carol stayed with Gustaf and his wife Birgit in Helsingborg, Sweden on the Kattegat channel. Gustaf and Birgit drove them Carol's grandfather's farm near Boras. There Carol met several more family members. Not too long after that Birgit and Gustaf came to Folly Farm to visit Carol and Ben, they especially liked the home's screen porch. The Swedish visitors also enjoyed touring internationally known places like Jefferson's Home Monticello, the Skyline Drive, the Shenandoah Valley, and other Historic sites in the area.

In the later years of the USSR, Carol and Ben visited Leningrad, Moscow, Tiblisi in Soviet Georgia, and Samarkand and Tashkent in the Soviet state of Uzbek. They never felt threatened wherever they were, but often teenage boys followed them shouting "Nyet Bumb!" This was also often seen as graffiti. It meant NO BOMB! The USSR and the USA both boasted large numbers of atomic bombs at that time.

Carol and Ben were fortunate to be able to travel extensively and do other socially outgoing activities for more than 60 years.

Carol was one of the most humane, kind & benevolent people you would ever meet. On the phone with a needy person she was amazing in her ability to sooth and understand, or to calm down. She was smart and able to talk on almost any subject, but nursing, travel, family and politics topped the list. She enjoyed reading and always took a book, if she suspected Ben would have to stop and gab. She loved birds and bird watching. At least once in South Africa they drove over 350 miles-one way to hopefully see a Jackass penguin (They did!). She loved flowers and was always looking forward to spring to see what was to come out first.

Cats were a lifelong love. When a teenage she was first given a Siamese by "Aunt" Alice Wilson, and had a cat almost all her life; in later life strays or farm drop-offs became a part of her life.

She never missed her Saturday night British TV; starting with Judy Dent.

In her younger years she loved to knit and crochet. She admired good work, and while in Africa she continually worked with the women who made and sold their knitting or crocheting on street corners how to improve their work. She tried to build a marketing system to send the women's work to America to sell, but that never prospered after she left Africa.

In Africa, not surprisingly, Carol and Ben enjoyed driving around every park to observe the animals in their natural habitat. They once passed a big bull elephant along the road, Ben turned and drove back; the elephant was annoyed and came walking towards the car. When he got to within maybe 50 feet, Carol strongly urged Ben to back up faster. The elephant kept gaining on them until they no longer could see the elephant's mouth ahead of the car. So Ben backed up really fast and finally got safely away. Carol then called to Ben, quite loudly, the very worst thing she could think of to say, "You are such a typical person!"

Some 15 years ago Carol came up with the idea of getting the whole family together at the beach during the summer. She and Ben gave it lots of thought and conversation for weeks, and Carol came up with the idea of finding a nice beachfront house they could rent for a week, big enough for everyone. Alice Weddle, son Jeff's wife, found a house on Topsail Island in North Carolina. It was a great success! They continued this tradition for 10 years. Then, to save Ben from driving so far, Alice found them another great place at Smith Mountain Lake near Roanoke, where the family has continued to gather over the past few summers.

Finally, one of Carol's finest qualities was her ability to make every new acquaintance feel "at home". This she perfected as our children acquired a girl or boy friend or spouse. One could feel her love and know it was genuine. The family has been lucky and blessed. Carol has been an admirable and wonderful magnet for holding the family together. Every member of the family truthfully knows how much she loved each one of them.

Carol took the flight to join Caryl Leigh on September 8, 2017 at approx. 4AM. She is sorely missed.