Cover photo for Carole Zella Carpenter's Obituary
Carole Zella Carpenter Profile Photo
1941 Carole 2022

Carole Zella Carpenter

November 5, 1941 — February 3, 2022

Carole Zella (DeMars) Carpenter, born on 5 November 1941, died on 3 February 2022 from pancreatic cancer.  Carole found peace surrounded by the love of her family:  husband, Dr. James Carpenter, children, Chris (Gina Tonsi) Carpenter, Andy (Jan Jackson) Carpenter, Cathy Carpenter, Tom (Rachel Daugherty) Carpenter and grandchildren, Luke, Mitch, Jack, Chei, Anna, Sadie, Kai, and Aiden.  Siblings: Kent DeMars, Michele Fey, Nita Anderson, Kevin DeMars, Kim DeMars (deceased) & John DeMars.  Parents: Dorothy (Hagarty) DeMars & Walter DeMars (both deceased).  Carole was an accomplished golfer, skier; and tennis player; high-level Scrabble player; avid gardener, reader; Cardinal fan & creative artist, but most of all she was very loving.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Alzheimer’s Association, Cardinal Glennon, or Lustgarten Foundation (pancreatic cancer).

60 years with Carole
Carole was not a spiritual or religious person but was the most
moral and ethical person I have ever met. She was not a believer
in the after-life and will be greatly surprised when the gates of
heaven open on the #1 T- box to a short par four between the
To be married for 60 years you have to start young, I was in
medical school and Carole was in college. Love happened and
marriage quickly followed. Life was different then, people that
wanted to spend a life with each other got married. Our first
“home” was an apartment on the 12 floor of the Darst-Webbe
housing development at 12th & Chateau. We called it “Lower
Ladue”. Knife your way in and shoot your way out!
As life became more prosperous we moved to a series of homes
destined for destruction for the I-44 corridor. At 2929 Geyer I
was trying to study at the kitchen table but there were 3 small
children underfoot. “Carole!!” I said “Where did these children
come from?” “Jim, they’re yours!” I should not use the word
fecund because it may not sound proper but it actually means
fertile and, indeed, she was. One more child was added with
forethought later.
Westward we moved, first Affton, then Creve Coeur, gathering
family and friends along the way. My Urology practice, solo at
the time, was doing well enough for me to search for somewhere
permanent, a place to build and stay. With luck in 1972 we found
the 10 acres in the county near O’Fallon we called “The Land”.
On the land we built our present house and added property later
which we developed and gifted to our kids. My surgeon buddies
kidded me that we had moved out into the “boonies” but I told
them O’Fallon said backwards was No Laffo!
Carole was the original “Soccer Mom”. In reality she was the first
soccer/gymnastics mom. Three busy active kids with a little one
in tow traveling the entire metro area for their events. And never
once complaining that I did not, or was not, able to share those
responsibilities. The children’s love for their mother was forever
bonded. When sports were not involved it was reading with
mom that improved their academic edge. More love!
With the children growing and having their own interests Carole’s
attention returned to her education. First she completed her
college education with a R. N. Degree and after working for a
while went back to school and received her Master’s Degree in
Nursing. She worked for the Visiting Nurses and at other places
as a super-specialist in Enterostomal Therapy & Wound Care.
After conquering that career she decided, like her pilot-husband,
to get her pilot’s license. According to her Flight Instructor she
was a natural at the flight controls, however, her navigation skills
were less perfected and the stories she told upon return from her
flights were frequently hair-raising. But fortunately, her landings
always equalled her take-offs.
Everyone at Bogey Hills CC knows of Carole’s athleticism. Golf
was her final love but tennis her first. Her whole family was
totally immersed in tennis. Her brother Kent was a very
successful SIU/U of SC tennis coach who is in the SEC HOF.
Carole’s teachers were Gloria Conners and her mother “Two
Mom”. Jimmy and Johnny conners were younger but always
nearby. Unfortunately a minor illness ended her promising
competitive career but tennis was where Carole DeMars learned
to be a competitor.
After many years of playing tennis Carole said she wanted to
learn to play golf so in ~ 1984 we joined Bogey Hills CC. Carole
threw herself into golf with a passion that she had shown for
every pursuit in her life. Always learning and always practicing,
and always improving. It was the competition that she loved and
her comfort in competing that gave her an edge over others who
let their tenseness affect their game in tournaments.
Her competitiveness carried over into her card-playing. She
loved (Contract) Bridge a game she learned from my family that
she perfected all of her life. I always told Carole that she was
one of the first tri-athletes: Golf, Bridge and Eating-Out
When you move out “in the country”, as it was when we move to
O’Fallon, either you win or the weeds win. Carole was essentially
a city-girl that learned to love the country. Her grandfather was
an avid and successful gardener supplying the neighborhood
with his garden products. Carole had some of that DNA. She
had a raised garden made of stone with large planting beds.
Carole took to flower and vegetable gardening like she did with
all of her interests. Frequently we still had her garden tomatoes
at Christmas. “Jet-Star and Celebrity” were her two favorites
tomato varieties and Roma for her delicious marinara sauce. I
will be enjoying her canned jams and jellies for years. Before her
passing she made me promise to plant tomatoes and other
garden essentials.
Friends often say how lovely our property is and I tell them “We
could never have lived here were it not for Carole”. Carole was
magic around flowers and vegetables and fierce with her
Carole Zella’s 80th birthday was November the 5th the night of
the Bogey golf awards dinner. Unlike the year before when her
table was overflowing with trophies there was only one this year
but she was determined to do better next year. In September we
celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary by going on a
wonderful golf trip to Pinehurst in NC . We started out by playing
the world-renown but evil #2 course each shooting 106 but it
made the rest of the courses seem easy. So we decided to
celebrate her 80th birthday by going on a golf trip to Las Vegas.
Once there I could sense that she was not feeling well but you
could not tell from her golf. Shortly after arriving home her health
declined and the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was made.
Carole, a nurse, immediately understood the bleakness of her
prognosis and made her decision for palliative care once it was
clear that curative surgery was not a choice and that there exists
no other effective treatment for pancreatic cancer. Her strength
of character those final months was demonstrated by her gifting
and giving away every treasure and possession that she ever
owned. Her closets and drawers are empty. Her final gift was
donating herself.
God loves you Carole. We all love you, No 3 putts!

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Sunday, February 13, 2022

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