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Carlye Lorraine Carr

In Remembrance
June 1, 1951 – March 8, 2024
“Well done, good and faithful servant”


On March 8, 2024, Carlye Lorraine Carr passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her sweetheart of 53 years, Tom, and her two children, Sarah and Aaron. While Carlye’s long goodbye started when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she fought this disease with grace, moxie, and a faith-filled heart, even up to the very end as she took her last breaths.

Death was no stranger to Carlye.  As a retired palliative care nurse practitioner, one of her gifts was her innate ability to support others in their grieving as they transitioned from this earthly realm. She knew how to create space for people while reassuring them of her constant, calming presence, always knowing what to say or offer as an act of service in those last painful moments.

Carlye was born on June 1, 1951 in upstate New York, the oldest of eight children born to her mother, Ann McCullouch Chase, and her father, Raymond Whitmore (deceased). As her own mother was dying from dementia, Carlye spent as much time as possible with her to make sure she was being cared for well, a concern she always had, not just for her loved ones, but for everyone she cared for, believing that dignity in dying is a right for all.

She was the quintessential “big sister” to her younger siblings, often falling into that maternal role to them when they were younger.  She is survived by her three sisters, Julie Spencer (Bill) of Marcellus, NY, Valerie Boyle of Watertown, NY, and Laurie McGuire (Pat) of Asheville, NC.  She is also survived by her three brothers, Allen Whitmore (Annie) of Crestview, FL, Ray “Eddie” Whitmore (Lisa) of Pennellville, NY, and Peter (Rita) Whitmore of Watertown, NY. She is predeceased by her brother, Mike Whitmore. They affectionately referred to themselves as “Hazel’s Nuts,” a nickname that evidences the laughter and fun they share when together. She is survived by fifteen nieces and nephews, all of whom will remember her smile and easy-going nature.  She is also predeceased by mother’s second husband, James Chase.

After Carlye graduated from Watertown High School in 1969, she spent a semester at SUNY Buffalo before returning to Watertown to start writing her love story with Tom.  He proposed while she was home from college that Christmas and they were married on August 28, 1970. She obtained her Associates Degree in Nursing from Jefferson Community College in Watertown. After years of working as an RN, including many years at the supervisor of the IV team at Durham Regional Hospital in Durham, NC, Carlye returned to school while in her 40s, earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was proud to say she did better in Statistics than her daughter in the one class they took together. Soon after her time at UNC, she found her true calling as a geriatric nurse practitioner.  At Carolina Meadows in Chapel Hill, NC, she developed lifelong friendships with some of her colleagues, many who continued to visit her even after the Alzheimers had taken over, supporting her in the way she supported them and the patients they cared for together. After her time at Carolina Meadows, Carlye worked with UNC’s inaugural Department of Geriatic Medicine and then Duke’s new Palliative Care division before she retired early from the career she loved after years and years of nursing-related back pain limited her ability to continue working in the ways she wanted to.

As God’s plan would have it, her retirement from nursing allowed her to devote more time to volunteering in the community, continuing to use her gift of care and her heart of service to enrich the lives of others. She regularly volunteered with Meals on Wheels and provided pastoral nursing care at the church she attended.  She was an avid encourager of donating blood and coordinated numerous blood drives at her church. Her dedication to service even took her on a mission trip to Mozambique where she helped with the maternal health clinic. She also enjoyed singing in the church choir and picking blueberries in July.

Carlye is survived by two children, Sarah D’Amato (Victor) and Aaron Carr (Hope).  Her children will remember her not for her cooking, but for the way she showed them how to be of service to others, and how to speak up for what’s fair and right. Carlye was so proud of her children and would always light up when asked about them. Her children brought her the gift of four grandchildren who survive her. Carlye relished in her role of “Nana,” from helping usher her first grandchild, Valerie, into the world, to taking toddler Frances outside at 3 a.m. to explore with flashlights when she couldn’t sleep, to hanging out in the hot tub with Josiah, and making blueberry pancakes for breakfast, with extra syrup and butter. As the Alzheimers progressed and her stories became limited and repeated, it brought her such joy to tell people about Eli, the last grandbaby to steal her heart, to blow her kisses.

Last, Carlye is survived by her loving and devoted husband, Tom. She was the apple of his eye, his best friend.  Over their years together, they balanced each other and supported each other as they built the life they enjoyed in Carlye’s last years, their last years together on earth.  Carlye was always the one stopping to chat to friends and neighbors in the grocery store or after church. She could talk to anyone! Lively conversations with Carlye over the morning newspaper or while on drives to their cabin in West Jefferson, listening to music, were one of the things Tom would miss the most as the disease started to take its toll. She continued to tell her stories, especially about their cat, Bob, until she could not talk much at all. Tom’s compassion for, and devotion to, his beloved Carlye until her last breath was a testament to their love and the depths of their commitment to each other, in sickness and in health.

Carlye was a member of Grace Hill Church in Hillsborough, NC. The family extends their sincere gratitude to the caregivers who cared for her at home, especially Heartland Hospice.

A celebration of life will be held on Friday, March 15, 2024 at 11 a.m. at Grace Hill Church.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her honor to Meals on Wheels of Orange County or the American Red Cross.  Or, sign up to donate blood or volunteer! And, though she will be cremated and not have a permanent resting place, one of Carlye’s most fervent wishes after she died was that artificial flowers not be placed on her grave. 😉

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