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Celebration of Life for Carolyn Morgan, businesswoman specializing in refrigerated interstate trucking, graduate of Northwestern University, Transportation Center. Member of MBV-USMC Contingent, Gold Canyon, AZ and ‘Arizona Grandma’ to Bella and Lexie. Beloved wife of Paul Olenski, Gold Canyon. Born in East Chicago, Indiana in March, 1959. She was a joy to her parents, Robert Hinkle, Father, Helen Hinkle (nee Bond), Mother. Her beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of her child, Christina, Adam, Isabella, and Alexandra Charnstrom – Daughter, Son-in-Law, and Grand Daughters. Donna (nee Hinkle) and Douglas Heintz – Sister and Brother-in-Law, Amber and Jason Gilliland – Niece and Husband, Jonathan and Julia Heintz – Nephew and wife. George and Judy Bond – Uncle and wife. Bill and Anna Maria Hinkle – Uncle and wife. And many more extended family, friends and business associates in the American Midwest and Southwest. Services at St. George Catholic Church, 300 E 16th Ave, Apache Junction, AZ 85119, on Friday, March 24, 2023, at 9:45am with lunch to follow at Gold Canyon Café, 11am, 6900 East US Highway 60 Ste 107, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118. Chicago area services a week later, March 31, 2023, at St. John Lutheran Church, 505 S. Park Road, LaGrange IL 60525, on Friday, at 11am, with lunch to follow. Interment will be on a future date at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA with her husband, Paul F. Olenski, Corporal, USMC, upon his death.
The above Obituary is proper and informative. Missing is the joyful history of the real Carolyn Morgan. That blend of duty and fun, inspiration and small-gift giver, loving daughter and loyal sister, Arizona ‘Grandma” and devoted wife, proud Aunt and wise counselor and, most important, Child of God and Patriotic American. She was all of those and so much more.
She was always reaching out, connecting with newly discovered relatives and long-lost friends. In these last years, when she was totally oxygen dependent, it was standard for her to tell Paul, ‘We’re going to Minnesota’ for Thanksgiving (below zero) LOL. Or ‘We’re going to Indiana for 4th of July’ (hot and humid). LOL. The latest was, in 2022 – “We’re going to Indiana for two weddings” – not one, two – six months apart. And everyone had a blast. Everyone did. This included portable Inogen system and an onboard airplane oxygenator – say 40 pounds total weight. Plus, the clothes. Can’t forget the gowns, etc. Yes, a husband does as ordered but it was always FUN – and JOY. Pushing the wheelchair, her holding on to the ‘gear’ pushing uphill in airports and then down. Straight out of a Chevy Chase movie.
And don’t forget her cluster of very close friends. That’s when the “Lucy and Ethel’ show was rolled out. Our Carolyn never ever made fun of other people, especially strangers. Yet she went out of her way to help. That led to chatting. Which led to joking. Which ended in hugs or a ‘fist-pump”.
During Carolyn’s 2nd to last extended hospital stay, one of her newest discovered relatives, a young lady from Oregon who moved to Arizona and Carolyn reached out after talking to the niece’s grandmother, to make sure this youngster knew where to come for Holidays. Specifically, our recent Christmas. It was fantastic with her and her boyfriend coming for dinner. Carolyn, the small gift giver (and always the perfect gift) was very happy. A child she never knew until recently, was in her fold and knew where to call for anything, especially wise counsel. That niece made sure she went to visit Carolyn in the Hospital and once there, gave Carolyn a cosmetic make-over, complete with bed wash, shampoo, puff dry and hair swirl. Carolyn’s naturally red hair glistened and glowed. Paul told her how AWESOME it looked. Even the RN’s wanted the tip for the dye color – NO, it was natural – and they were shocked and very happy with the ‘makeover’.
Looking back decades, to the Carolyn Paul did not know, discovering what others had to say about her was always a joyful experience except for those few times when she experienced heartbreak and chaos. She was born very healthy but at age 4 contracted rheumatic fever which damaged a heart valve. Age 5, she had a heart operation to repair. It went well not so with several other children who had the same illness. She lived well until age 30 when it was discovered one of the transfusions in the operation was tainted, laid dormant, then began a cascade of organ failures. Then 33 years’ worth of cascades and hospitalizations. A few times attending experts told her daughter, “This is it – time for goodbyes”. Yet Carolyn fought on. Never quitting. Never complaining. Most all her friends and associates never knew of this. She never displayed illness or fear or hopelessness. Life was to be Lived.
When she was 8, Robert, her Father, was decorating the family home for Christmas, He could not get up on the roof to hang lights. Carolyn was more than willing to play Elf and string the lights to the Chimney. Helen, her mother soon saw this, “Robert – you get that child down right now.” But Carolyn wouldn’t come down. It was too much fun. Just like shortly following her heart operation, the nurses found she climbed out of bed and was jumping on the couches. Then she stopped eating. Robert knew his daughter. He went out and brought back bags of McDonald’s Cheeseburgers and passed them around to everyone except Carolyn. She soon started eating again.
She married her childhood sweetheart. Shortly after the birth of their daughter, Christina, Carolyn found herself a single mother without child support. Yes. Straight out of a Charles Dickens novel. A series of small jobs led her to decide she wanted to go into the Trucking Business which was the lifeblood of Northwest Indiana and Southeast Chicago. She went to school, bused tables and bartended to put herself through college.
She became a Business Agent for several unions and then went into Interstate Trucking sales. She was very good at it. She developed a sales style different from the men who parleyed the good old boy club approach. She used small gifts, Inspiration and Joy and included the women in the customers’ office. Her entrée was $10 gift cards, perfume or nail polish samples and Birthday Cards. Who doesn’t want to receive a card on their birthday. It worked. She learned to play golf and her short game was fantastic. Nothing like a man whacking a golf ball 200 to 300 yards. Then a 5’1 red-head out putts you. LOL.
Then there was Carolyn, the Southwest Director of Sales for a large interstate refrigerated trucking/ transport company. Taking her Midwest expertise in Trucking to Arizona, a State she loved and soon called home, she dropped off her resume on a Friday afternoon and was hired by close of business. She started with 12 refrigerated Tractor/Trailers and small driver pool. She knew what big early sales could do for staff motivation and attracting future drivers. She grew that pool to 48 rigs, with the only thing holding her back was lack of skilled drivers. She began canvassing a mutual contact in the Marine Corps looking for pending discharged young drivers with exceptional driving records – male and female.
Her husband Paul went on a “sales call” with Carolyn – 6 days in the southwest, south to Tucson, east to Deming NM, then El Paso TX, then north to Hatch Valley NM, then Albuquerque NM, then west to Flagstaff AZ. This was a man’s business but Carolyn had laid out a plan ahead of time for the sound and productive customers and tempting prospects. Small gifts, especially for the owners’ wives, sound cost structures, on time performance data and Inspiration and joy. Some meetings took place just outside the loading docks. Paul watched the owner’s behavior. These were tough hombres. In fact two of the top Hatch Valley chiles businesses were named, “YOUNG GUNS” produce, the other “BILLY THE KID” produce. To get to their offices we passed through mile upon mile of peppers and onions, a mile long,
and walnut groves, planted in pitch black volcanic dirt, at 4,100 feet, moist from the afternoon hour of wet sunshine. The young owners were brothers and tough businessmen. And they took a liking to Carolyn – who was all business with a big smile and always watching out for their best interests.
Then there was Papa John’s Pizza and the huge cow farm and even bigger aluminum dairy complex on the rolling hills of Deming – not visible from the interstate. Not a human in sight. They were all inside over computer screens and pasteurizing assemblies. The cows ate the feed, farmed locally, gave the milk, which was pasteurized into the vats and out came Mozzarella cheese or Cheddar or Provolone for the Papa John’s Pizza in the Midwest and Northwest. That facility with it huge shining aluminum buildings looked straight out of NASA. And Carolyn was all business as she walked past the HQ female staff with a big smile chatting with the office ladies who soon became her ‘eyes and ears’. On the way out, there were the $10 Starbuck gift certificates, nice combs, and pretty mirrors. The small gifts each lady would remember Carolyn by.
Then there was Carolyn the wreath-maker. She learned this art from her former mother-in-law, yes, she always kept in touch with the good people. She became an expert at wreath-making. Christmas Time began in May in our home. My home gym became her assembly line. It was beautiful. She would put in 50 hours of labor and $100 in parts and material and charge only $100, $200 tops, for the masterpiece.
Then there was Carolyn the organizer and quiet sounding board. She loved the United States Marines. She became involved in the annual Gold Canyon/Mountain Brook Village, Marine Corps Birthday on November 10th – the day before Veterans Day. She made a beautiful Marine Corps Wreath and displayed it 3 years ago. WOW. Orders? Everyone wanted one and was willing to pay top dollar. She could only build one at a time and she charged $200. Definitely below cost but she brought joy and pride to our Marine Veterans and their wives.
To add on to an already sound USMC Birthday program at Mountain Brook Village, she developed an expanded dinner offering. 3 different entrees, with salads, cookies, etc. She did the ordering and paid for it all with her own funds. She wasn’t taking chances with on-time delivery, so she was going to pick up and deliver it herself to the Birthday Building: Portillo’s Beef in Tempe, Dino’s of AJ, Spaghetti and Meatballs or their famous Lasagna with salad, and Gold Canyon’s only SUBWAY Sandwiches, a bountiful mix of Turkey and Ham sandwiches with chips and cookies. Most everyone took 2 of the 3 entrees, walking home with a bag with DINO’s Lasagna for dinner over the next 2 to 3 or sometime 4 meals.
Then she developed “Marine Corps JEOPARDY!”- Just like the TV show. To take place midway through the dinner. She and Paul developed a mix of customs and protocols, Esprit de Corps” along with brain teasers and outright funny questions and even funnier answers. Color of the Marine Corps Flag? – …. “Red and Yellow” someone shouted – WRONG. Oh, the crestfallen look. The correct answer is Crimson and Gold – and so it went. Too ill to attend the 11/10/2022 event, she had Paul do a sample few for the attendees during dinner. It was a hit. “Wait until next year”, she said when he told her the next morning about its funny answers and broad acceptance. Many of those same men and women, Marines and family of Marines, and many friends and neighbors will attend her service in Gold Canyon at 10am, Friday, March 24, 2023, at St. George Catholic Church, 300 E. 16TH Avenue, Apache Junction AZ 85119 with lunch to follow at Gold Canyon Café, 11am, 6900 East US Highway 60 Ste 107, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118 (US60 and Gold Canyon Café/Rosati’s Pizza Complex – situated on the east side of US60 between Basha’s shopping center and the CIRCLE K Gas Station/McDonalds restaurant). One week later, a Chicago-area Service will be held, on Friday, March 31, 2023, 11am, at St. John Lutheran Church, 505 S.
Park Road, LaGrange, IL 60525, lunch to follow. Carolyn will be interred on a future date at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington VA with her husband, Paul F. Olenski, Corporal, USMC, upon his death.
Speaking of the Gold Canyon Café. Here’s Carolyn Morgan, April 2022, NOT in Hawaii but at a Hawaiian Luau, at the Gold Canyon Café, along with her husband, Paul, and her 2 most precious Gifts from God, her granddaughters, who were visiting their Arizona Grandma.