Obituary for Carolyn Wixted (Conley)
Carolyn Conley Wixted passed away peacefully in Northborough, Massachusetts on August 24, 2017. She was 79.
Born in Portland, Maine in 1937, Carolyn was Valedictorian of her Deering High School class and was awarded a full scholarship to Tufts University where she studied Mathematics. After graduating, Carolyn became one of the ﬁrst female computer scientists at General Electric, then taught high school math.
Six weeks after meeting Robert (Bob) Wixted at a mutual friend’s wedding, the couple became engaged. After marrying, they moved to New Mexico, then Hawaii, where she met her lifelong friend, Rosemary Williams. Beginning as nanny to the four Wixted children, Rosemary became conﬁdant and kindred spirit to Carolyn and over the years, an honorary member of the Wixted family. Eventually, Bob and Carolyn relocated to Wakeﬁeld, Massachusetts where they settled and raised their family.
Carolyn was an early foodie and accomplished home cook, was always happy to take a head count and feed whomever was around. She usually cooked from scratch, using as many local ingredients as she could ﬁnd. Fruit-picking, as well as beach excursions to Plum Island, the library summer reading program, and vacations on Chebeague Island were favorite summer pastimes with her children.
It seemed Carolyn was a teacher by nature as she instilled her love of math and science into all of her children, and tutored anyone who wanted extra help. A passionate quilter, enthusiastic knitter, and all-around craftswoman, Carolyn taught adult education classes on wide range of topics for decades, often bringing student knitting projects home to ﬁx. Her affection for bright colors could be observed in the many pairs of mittens and socks she knitted for her children and grandchildren, and in her brilliant quilts, each of which was lovingly photographed before it was sent off to its new owner. Despite being entirely hand-stitched, the quilts were “made to be used,” Carolyn always said, not to be hung on a wall. She often donated baby quilts, mittens, and socks to women’s shelters, because as she said, “It’s nice for the children to have something hand-made…and new.”
Carolyn and Bob also loved to travel, taking trips around the United States as well as Canada by rail, Norway by boat, and several trips throughout the United Kingdom. Once their travel days were over, Carolyn continued to pursue knowledge via various PBS documentaries and newspapers. She loved dogs and in her later years was always happy to let a friendly pup lick mufﬁn crumbs off her ﬁngers, her lap, or the coffee-stained edges of her knitting bag.
Carolyn is survived by her children: Ellen Wixted of Bainbridge Island, WA; Elizabeth Carpenter of Cazonvia NY; Jack (John) Wixted of Northborough, MA; and Susan Merrell of Eaton, GA; their spouses, and ten grandchildren. Her husband Bob died in January of this year; both he and Carolyn will be remembered in a small ceremony and laid to rest in South Portland, Maine during Memorial Day Weekend.
To leave a condolence or to share a story, please visit Carolyn’s Book of Memories at www.HaysFuneralHome.com.