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Carol (Bjork) Churkin

1933 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Carol (Bjork) Churkin Obituary

Carol Bjork Churkin, born September 6, 1933 in Chicago, IL, to Lawrence and Myrtle Bjork, passed away peacefully on November 11, 2017, of natural causes.

Growing up on the south side of Chicago surrounded by her close extended family, Carol attended Morgan Park High School and Northwestern University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study mathematics at the graduate level in Munster, Germany. She cherished the intellectual and international engagement of this experience, which continued to influence her lifelong interests and passions. Following study overseas, she returned to Northwestern for a Masters Degree in Education, and subsequently taught mathematics at Evanston High School in Chicago and at the high school and college level in the Bay Area.

Carol found sustaining pleasure in making and maintaining close friendships wherever she lived, and was a loyal friend across time and distance, keeping in touch with friends from her youth, university years, Germany. She was a wonderful hostess, and often welcomed friends from far and wide to unsuspecting "working vacations" on the ranch and sumptuous feasts of wild game, fresh fish and heaping plates of crawfish.

While studying for her masters degree she met her future husband Mike Churkin, a Geology PhD candidate at Northwestern. Carol and Mike were married in November of 1959, which was the beginning of a lifelong adventure together, starting with post-graduate studies at Columbia University in NYC. Upon graduation, Mike took a position with the US Geological Survey based in the Bay Area that required him to travel all over the world. Carol would have it no other way than to go along with him, primarily to the Soviet Union and Alaska where, during their annual field trip, they often took their sons Michael and Lars into the wilds living in native villages while trying to correlate the geology of the USSR and Alaska.

While Mike worked at the USGS, the family lived in Mountain View and Los Altos Hills, CA. After retirement from the USGS, Mike joined Conoco/Dupont and the family moved to Anchorage, Alaska for several years and also Plano, Texas. In 1983, they finally settled in Yuba City after deciding that farming would be their retirement career, and later bought larger acreage in Meridian and Colusa County to farm walnuts, pecans, prunes, and olives, and also enjoyed developing real estate. Carol used her keen mathematical mind to run the business end of their operations. She and Mike were true partners in marriage, farming and adventuring together.

Carol enjoyed their hunting and fishing trips, whether they were salmon fishing on the Sacramento river, halibut fishing in Homer, AK or big game hunting in Idaho and Africa. Carol was a friend to all who knew her. She especially enjoyed her book clubs, church groups, farming associations, neighbors and family gatherings. On her ranch overlooking the Sacramento River, Carol enjoyed smelling the spring blossoms, planting crops and producing bountiful harvests.

Loved by all who knew her, Carol is proceeded in death by her beloved husband Mike and oldest son Michael.

She is survived by her younger son Lars (Tatyana) Churkin and granddaughter Sonya Churkin also from Meridian; a sister, Joan (Richard) Erickson of Palos Heights, IL; a brother, Larry (Carla) Bjork of Los Altos, CA; and, numerous nieces and nephews.

Carol was an active member of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Yuba City. Her memorial service will be held there Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 1:00 PM.

Donations in Carol's memory may be made to St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1390 Franklin Rd., Yuba City, CA 95993, or to Doctor's Without Borders USA, PO Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030.
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Published in Appeal Democrat from Nov. 14 to Nov. 15, 2017
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