Carolyn Jane Engel passed away on September 22, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Born in 1944 in Bedford, Indiana, she endured a difficult childhood, but persevered, became the first in her family to graduate high school and fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse.
After a brief stint in Los Angeles – a city she moved to upon hearing the hit song California Dreamin’ – she joined the United States Army Nurse Corps and rose to the rank of captain. During her nine years in the military, she traveled widely and eventually, she was stationed in Alaska. She fell in love with the 49th state, which she considered her true home, and went on to live in Ketchikan, Juneau, Haines, Petersburg, Anchorage and Kodiak.
In the 70s, she met her future husband, Gerry Engel, and they had three children: Hallie Engel, Joan Morgan and Michael Engel. She was a selfless and caring mother who had an endless supply of patience. Later in life, she moved to Oregon for retirement and continued cheering for the Chicago Cubs and doting on her grandchildren, Anders and Britta Morgan. She also gained two beloved sons-in-law, Jeremy Morgan and Craig Pilling.
Carolyn will be remembered most for her boundless kindness and fierce intellect. She always looked out for others and never hesitated to speak up for what she believed in, whether it was women’s reproductive freedom or the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. A voracious reader, she proudly passed the Jeopardy! talent search and won a practice game hosted by Alex Trebek.
An open house honoring Carolyn’s life will be held at the home of Joan and Jeremy Morgan in Happy Valley, Oregon on October 9th. Her family would love to see her remembered with donations to Planned Parenthood and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.