Carolyn Little died peacefully with her loving daughter Lisa by her side on September 30, 2023. While her passing leaves a huge hole in the hearts of her family and friends, they rejoice knowing that she has entered the gates of Heaven and is liberated from the chains of Alzheimer’s.
Carolyn Claudette Cothran was born to parents Claude and Elsie Cothran in their home on the Mill Village in Inman, SC on October 4, 1943. Throughout her life, Carolyn loved when people asked when her birthday is and she cheerfully responded, “10-4, good buddy!”
She attended Chapman High School and even though she moved to Spartanburg in her 30s, she proudly remained an “Inman girl” and a Chapman Panther throughout her life.
In 1961, Carolyn married Ray Johnson, also of Inman, and became known as Carolyn Johnson and from that time forward many of her good friends affectionately called her CJ. Despite their divorce 15 years later, she remained close to Ray’s siblings, nieces, and nephews just as Ray remained close to her family.
Carolyn told anyone who would listen that the most important blessing that came out of her marriage to Ray is her daughter Lisa. While she had a full life that included her faith, family, friends and fun, Lisa was her everything. She was Lisa’s number one fan and visited Lisa as life led her to live in various states. They truly loved to be together no matter what they were doing - shopping, sporting events, watching game shows, going to Dancing with the Stars, and the list goes on. They traveled up and down the East Coast and to Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Hawaii, Paris, London and Ireland. Everywhere they went Carolyn charmed the people they met with her warm smile, her beautiful eyes and her Southern drawl.
She started working at Hoechst in 1967 and proudly worked there for 37.5 years. She started in HR, then worked in engineering and eventually became an Executive Assistant. As various plant managers came and went over the years, people who worked there would joke that CJ was the one who ran the place. She loved getting to know the employees who became her friends.
Carolyn loved to cross-stitch. The walls of her home and her daughter’s are filled with Charleston’s Rainbow Row and other beautiful designs that she hand-stitched. She also enjoyed reading and she loved music. She would often reminisce about her joyful childhood when her daddy and other relatives would play the guitar and banjo, and everyone sang. Shagging was more than the state dance of South Carolina to Carolyn. It was dancing, it was exercise, it was fun and, most of all, it was a connection to some of her favorite people. Whether she was out dancing, at work, at church events, or someplace else, Carolyn assumed the role of greeter. She wanted to ensure that everyone felt welcome and comfortable.
Saying someone is a people person can be a cliché, but it truly was a way of life for Carolyn.
She loved her church family at Joy Lutheran Church, where she was a member for over 25 years. She loved her neighbors. She was the first person to move into the Weston Townes neighborhood when it was built. She officially served as the first President of the HOA and for years she embraced the unofficial role of mayor of the community welcoming new people. As her health declined due to Alzheimer’s over the last few years, her neighbors were so endearing as they included her, embraced her and looked out for her.
Despite living with Alzheimer’s, Carolyn remained a kind and passionate person who lived to help others. Friday became her favorite day as she and her friend/caregiver Teresa delivered Mobile Meals.
Carolyn was a beautiful person inside and out. Her smile lit up the room and her laugh was infectious. She cared deeply for the people around her and made an impact on many lives.
While she will be missed by her daughter Lisa, her granddog Puzzle, and her family and friends, they take comfort in knowing she has been welcomed home by Jesus and is shagging her way through the streets of gold in Heaven reconnecting with her father, mother, siblings, her granddogs Believe and Libby and her other family and friends who have gone before her.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, October 5, 2023 from 10:00 - 11:00 AM at Seawright Funeral Home. Funeral Services will follow at 11:00 AM in the Seawright Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Lane Bembenek and Rev. Kenny McDowell officiating. Burial will be in Roselawn Memorial Gardens.