Carol Wicks Tinker Weslaco, 92, left behind instructions to her family and friends, "Rejoice! Celebrate the terrific life God has given me on this earth!" Such was the joyful philosophy of Carol Tinker, who peacefully passed from this life after a long illness on Nov. 30, 2013.
Tinker was born in Claire City, S.D. in 1920 and grew up in Las Vegas. Carol attended high school and New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas. She was active in the Highlands University community as a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority, Drama, cheerleading, and was voted Winter Ice Queen. While she was a university student she met her husband, George Tinker, also a Highlands student, and in 1942 they were married in Waco, Texas, where he was attending a U.S. Army Air Corp. flight school. Carol spent the next 22 years as an "Air Force Wife," including 7 1/2 years in Europe. She was president of the Officers Wives' Club on several Air Force bases, and during George's tour of duty in Scotland she won the Stars and Stripes "Good Neighbor Award" in recognition of her public relations efforts. After George's retirement from the Air Force, the Tinkers became business owners of two Dairy Queens in Las Vegas.
In 1968, Carol became one of the first women to be elected to the New Mexico State House of Representatives. While in office she fought for women's rights, wrote legislation supporting education that was used on a national level, fought abortion, helped regulate pollution controls, wrote numerous bills including a requirement for ambulance drivers to know first aid (really!), changing the voting age to 18 years, improving Gl benefits, and improving funding for indigent patients, to name a few.
After serving in the legislature, she became director of the Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, and went on to be elected statewide president of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.
During their 71-year marriage, Carol and George were involved in starting a half-dozen Lutheran churches. In 1988, the Tinkers retired again and moved to Weslaco, Texas, where they helped start yet another new congregation, Love of Christ. Even late in life she was deeply involved in the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church organization and in her local congregation.
Carol is survived by her husband, George E. Tinker III; children, Dr. George E. "Tink" Tinker IV and wife, Loring Abeyta of Denver, Colo., Anne Baker and husband, Will of Edinburg, Texas, Tanya Scholz and husband, George of Las Vegas, and Randy Catherine Smith and husband, Randy of Skiatook, Okla.; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by their daughter, Christy Tinker.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today (Friday) at Love of Christ Lutheran Church, 300 S. Border St. in Weslaco. If desired, memorials can be made to Love of Christ Lutheran Church, 914 W. Third St., Weslaco, Texas, 78596.
Arrangements are under the direction of McCaleb Funeral Home of Weslaco.