Carolyn Field
1926 - 2016
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Carolyn James Bryan Wilson Field

October 9, 1926 - December 21, 2016


Carolyn James Bryan Wilson Field died peacefully on December 21, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina with her family by her side. Carolyn is survived by two daughters, Evelyn Rush Wilson and husband, Gary Mayer, as well as Claire Wilson Zimmerman and her husband, Tom Zimmerman. Carolyn claimed her stepchildren, Elaine and Herb Flowers, Jonathan and Sigi Field, and Chris Field as her own, as well as numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Carolyn is also survived by a brother, Paul Bryan and his wife Nancy, who live in Georgetown, Texas. Carolyn's sister, Gloria Bryan Johnson, died in 1985.

Carolyn was born on October 9, 1926 in Houston, Texas to Andrew Bonnell Bryan and Gloria Irene Norvell Bryan. During her youth, in Houston and later in Tulsa, OK, Carolyn began her musical studies on the piano and then the flute. She also became an accomplished horsewoman and owned horses until the early 1950's.

Carolyn entered Swarthmore College in 1944, studied French and graduated with honors in 1948. Soon thereafter, she and her latest horse moved to Houston for a secretarial job. She took up the cello, and soon met her first husband, Stephen Gill Wilson. They were married in 1951. During these early married years, Carolyn taught an after-school stringed instrument class, and directed a volunteer run nursery school at the Unitarian Church.

Stephen died suddenly of a stroke in 1968. As a result, Carolyn went back to school to get an M.A. in French to prepare herself for teaching. During that course of study, she took her children to France for a year and taught English in a French high school.

In 1975, Carolyn reconnected with Frank Field who had been a social friend for years. Carolyn joined Frank in New York City where they married. Soon, Carolyn became involved in a new occupation, violin-making, under the tutelage of luthier, Carleen Hutchins. Upon Frank's retirement, Carolyn and Frank moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Carolyn opened a violin making shop there, and continued her instrument making. She and Frank also became very involved with the Unitarian Universalist church in Oak Ridge.

In 2005, Carolyn and Frank moved to the Forest at Duke in Durham, NC. Carolyn continued making stringed instruments in Durham, completing more than 50 instruments in her lifetime. She and Frank were great supporters of all things musical in the Durham area, enjoying many opportunities to attend concerts and make music with friends. After Frank's death in 2013, Carolyn continued her patronage of the arts.

A memorial service will be conducted at 10:30 in the morning, on Wednesday, January 25th, in the auditorium of the Forest at Duke, 2701 Pickett Road in Durham where the Reverend Jake Morrill will officiate, and the Ciompi Quartet will provide music. A reception will follow. The family wishes to thank Delois Gaines for her dedication as Carolyn's companion in her final years. In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests, with gratitude, that memorial contributions in her name be directed to the Minister's Discretionary Fund at Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge TN 37830.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The News and Observer on Jan. 15, 2017.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
November 29, 2019
You were always in my thoughts. I loved you you very much.
August 13, 2019
I really enjoyed getting to know Carolyn in Oak Ridge, playing chamber music with her a bit, Oak Ridge Symphony, and eventually buying one of her violas.

I would really like to talk to friends of hers in Durham or with one of her daughter's about her final days and about her instruments, so would appreciate if one of you could contact me. Susan Gunning
Susan Gunning
January 18, 2017
I remember Carolyn from the Oak Ridge Symphony. She had an easy smile and a big heart. She was a good musician and also did some fine work on my cello to keep it playable. I'm sorry to hear she has passed.
Andy Bryenton
January 15, 2017
Take comfort from Jesus Sermon on the Mount.
He said, "happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted." Matt. 5:4 God's Word give the best comfort. Heb. 4:12
January 15, 2017
I did not realize what a special person your mother was. I now understand part of how you, Claire, became who you are. I understand how this will leave a big hole in the world since she was such an asset. Therefore, I grieve with you even though I was not privileged to know her.
Marlys Denison
January 11, 2017
Jesus wept after the death of his friend Lazarus. John 11:35 We weep along with you.
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