Carol Aldenhoven McKay
March 3, 1940 - March 25, 2021
Granbury, Texas - Carol Gladys Aldenhoven McKay, age 81, of Granbury, TX, passed on the night of March 25, 2021, in her home surrounded by an incredible family she created including the love of her life, William or "Bill" (as most know him). Carol was born March 3, 1940, the daughter of Carl J. and Norma Aldenhoven. Her sister Ann and parents preceded her in death.
Carol was a dedicated arts and culture enthusiast who held a love for ballet, symphonies, operas, museums, theatre, travel, sailing, boating, food, music, cooking and fun, but in all things, Carol was an artist, first and foremost. She was always intellectually ahead of her time, and a forward thinker.
Attending Flora & Dickson Reeder School as a child, her intellectualism and artistic skills shone early, as a teacher reported to her parents that she was a natural genius after her drawing of a cherry tree at the age of 5 garnered much praise. Carol went on to attend Our Lady of Victory Catholic School, where she grew a lifelong fondness for the nuns who expanded her wealth of knowledge. She eventually graduated from Hockaday, a proud "Hockadaisy", and from where she continued to connect with many lifelong friends. Carol later graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. At the age of 50, Carol returned to TCU to complete a Master of Fine Arts in painting.
The recipient of numerous National Endowment of Arts and National Endowment of Humanities grants, her focus was the relationship of culture and art to social issues. In both the arts and mental health spheres, Carol became a strong influencer locally and throughout the world. Carol devoted much of her thirties to Elmwood Mental Hospital in Tarrant County implementing unique art programs until the eventual heartbreaking closure of the hospital, resulting in a devastating loss of services for those most in need. Psychiatric hospital closures across the US created a frightening rise in violence, birthing Carol's dedication to create a symposium of world-class thinkers regarding violence in America. During this time, Carol was also able to create a pamphlet specifically for families who are victims of violence, which is still utilized to this day.
Two of Carol's most notable and well-known projects in Fort Worth were Painted Spaces, which created wall murals on various abandoned buildings within the Downtown Fort Worth area, and was instrumental in establishing the first art program and displays at Mayfest. In 1982, Carol and Bill commissioned a guitar concerto, Concierto para una Fiesta, composed by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo and first performed by the Fort Worth Symphony under John Giordano, as a dedication to their daughters Alden and Lauri to be performed during their debuts. This concerto, recorded by Pepe Romero and played by St. Martins in the Field, later became one of Phillips Records best-selling albums.
Together, Carol and Bill helped develop programs in West Texas, New Mexico, and later Montana, for at-risk youths through a lens of altruism and based upon a Positive Peer Culture model. Carol worked tirelessly and hands-on to create a nationally recognized art program for resident youths, and spent 7 years creating an extensive Artist-in-Residence program at Rancho Valmora in New Mexico.
For 15 years of her life Carol intensely researched and devoted her time to writing Blood & Silk: The Hidden Love Story of Mary Magdalene and Jesus of Nazareth, an historical-fiction novel. Published in October 2010, her novel would go on to gain international praise and win two awards. Aside from being a novelist, Carol was a painter, sculptor, and digital artist who spent most of her life creating.
Carol believed that compassion without courage is useless and that courage without compassion is dangerous. As longtime friend Bob Ray Sanders memorialized for Carol's passing, "Carol was always that spirit that gave hope and inspiration to others; a person who opened her heart to tired souls needing refuge; a leaning post for those who occasionally needed someone to keep us balanced and steady". Carol reminded all blessed to cross paths with her, that through art and music all things can be renewed.
Carol is survived by William (Bill) whom she began dating at 14 and subsequently married for 61 years. Carol, beloved Gima to those close to her, is also survived by the greatest joys of her life, her children, Alden, Lauri, and John, grandchildren Lucas, Sage, John Patrick, Willamina, Willem, and Mila, and great-granddaughter, Lily.
A memorial service is to be held April 24, 11:00AM, in the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church located at 4530 Acton Hwy, Granbury, Texas
In lieu of flowers, we would suggest donations to:
Texas Committee for the Humanities
1410 Rio Grande Street
Austin, TX 78701
Texas Commission on the Arts
Post Office Box 13406
Austin, Texas 78711-3406
Texas Christian University School of Arts
Box 297044, Fort Worth, TX 76129
Or your favorite charity