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Carolyn Dobbs

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Carolyn Dobbs Carolyn died peacefully at home on Feb. 3, 2014, bringing to conclusion a full and active life of friendships and service, even during her final three years with brain cancer. Carolyn was born in Pine Bluff, AR, on Sept. 29, 1942 to Paul and Montine Dobbs. Growing up in Memphis, TN, she loved reading, exploring the natural world and playing the piano. After graduating from Memphis State University, Carolyn completed a Master's Degree at the University of Kentucky and worked for two years as a planner for the State of Kentucky. In 1966 she enrolled in the Urban Planning program at the University of Washington and became the first female to earn a PhD in that program. Carolyn joined the faculty at The Evergreen State College in 1971. Her 40 year career at Evergreen included team-teaching with dozens of colleagues as well as serving in several administrative positions. Her primary teaching passions were natural resource management and children's literature. Her students admired her intelligence, humor, encouragement and kindness. Carolyn brought all of these interests into her community activism and service. She served on and often chaired several Thurston County advisory committees and was appointed to both the Timberland Regional Library Board and the State Forest Practices Board. Even while going through her cancer treatments Carolyn actively completed her terms as a Board Member of Washington's National Park Fund and The Vital Ground Foundation. Our national parks and wilderness areas--and the wildlife they protect--were Carolyn's church. Mt Rainier was her cathedral. For decades, Carolyn hiked, climbed, skied and volunteered in Washington's national parks. No one was better than Carolyn at spotting bears or identifying wildflowers on her weekly hikes in Mt Rainier. Over the past decade, grizzly bear and wolverine research and habitat protection became the focus of her boundless energy and commitment. Carolyn loved to travel. Internationally, she combined visits with long-time friends, nature hikes and research in frequent trips to England, Scotland and Ecuador. The national parks in North America were destinations for family vacations and/or research every year. She also loved to garden--raising vegetables for her family and flowers for friends. Carolyn is survived by her mother, Montine Dobbs of Memphis; her husband of 42 years, Russell Fox of Olympia; her two children and their spouses, Cedrus Fox-Dobbs and Hilary Seidel of Olympia, and Kena Fox-Dobbs and Hwakong Cheng of Tacoma; her two siblings and their spouses, Wendell Dobbs (Linda) of Huntington, WV, and Gloria Maender (Jim) of Danville, KY; and nephew Andrew Dobbs serving in the US Navy. She was also blessed with three grandchildren, John Paul Fox-Seidel, Amelia Fox-Seidel and Theo Fox-Cheng. A Celebration of Carolyn's life will be held on Sunday March 2nd at 2:00 in the TESC Longhouse. For additional information and for suggestions for charitable donations in her memory, see

Published in The Olympian on Feb. 23, 2014
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