Carolyn Louise Bigelow was born April 7, 1935, the first of four children of Guy Carroll Bigelow and Vera Franklin Bigelow. She passed away at her home in Corpus Christi, Texas the morning of Friday March 17, 2023, a few weeks before her 88th birthday. Preceded in death by Parents, Husband Pat Fossett, Sister Gayle Atwood. A visitation will be held from 5-8 pm on Friday March 24,2023 at Charlie Marshall Funeral Home in Aransas Pass, Texas, Funeral Services will be held 1:00 pm. Saturday March 25, 2023 at the funeral home with Rev. Hutch Hudson officiating, with burial to follow at Prairie View Cemetery. She leaves to cherish her memory a daughter and son-in-law Donna and Larry Kellogg of Little Elm, Texas, sons and daughters-in-law Mark and Betsy Fossett of College Station, and Pat and Nikki Fossett of Corpus Christi, (6) Grandchildren; Carmen Bethel, Justin Smith, Kelli Gallagher, Lane Fossett, Tyler Fossett, and Katherine Fossett and (4) Great-Grandchildren, brothers John Bigelow of Allen, Texas and Don Michael Bigelow (Jenny) of Bay City, Texas .
Carolyn was born and raised in Aransas Pass, San Patricio County, Texas, except for the two years her family lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during World War II where her father worked at an Army Signal Service Supply Depot. She was a 1952 graduate of Aransas Pass High School and worked for the Texas Telephone Company before marrying Pat Fossett of Ingleside Texas in 1953. After the birth of their three children, Mark Alan, Pat Brady, and Donna Louise, she was a homemaker. The family lived for short periods of time in Texas, Montana, California, Arkansas, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee before settling in Ingleside, San Patricio County, Texas where their children attended elementary, middle and high school. In 1964 Carolyn went back to work after her husband suffered a serious leg injury at work. She worked as a desk clerk for the Downtowner Motor Inn in Corpus Christi, later being promoted to General Manager of that hotel, where she worked for ten years. During her business career, she also worked in hotel management for the Sheraton Marina Hotel and Embassy Suites Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas. Carolyn's husband, Pat, tragically passed away in a maritime accident in the Gulf of Mexico on May 24, 1970 when their children were young teenagers. Shortly after her youngest child, daughter Donna, graduated high school, Carolyn made her last of many lifetime moves to a house in Corpus Christi, Texas where she made her final home where she lived for over 45 years. Mom thrived in her years living in Corpus Christi with a very active professional and social life. She also planned carefully and thoughtfully for retirement and beyond. In her early decades of retirement, she was always on the go spending time with friends and family, traveling – often with her sister Gayle and brother John – for pleasure and for her passion of genealogy, active in DAR and Mayflower, and doting on her pet dogs, especially Blush. Ever forward-looking, she made it known to her children it was her wish to live in her home through the end of life. In her last years, her presence in the community declined with the onset and progression of dementia. But mom never lost her friendly and trusting personality and she was always delighted to see family, friends, and was especially charmed by children and pets. Mom had a long, rich life. She met and overcame hard times, raised a family, established herself as an independent and successful businesswoman when that was uncommon, and had many adventures and good times with friends and family. In her last years she was fortunate to have dedicated, loving caregivers – Stephanie Saenz, Jina Garcia, and Rosie Garza. They made it possible for mom to live in her home, in warm, familiar surroundings and, where, as was her wish, she passed away peacefully with family and caregivers she knew well and loved by her side.
Mom’s Recollections of Professional Years and Retirement (lightly edited from her own notes): In her professional life, Carolyn Fossett was an active member of the Corpus Christi and Texas Hotel & Motel Associations, the Texas Society of Association Executives, the Corpus Christi and Texas Sales & Marketing
Executives Associations, the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce and the Corpus Christi Convention & Tourism Bureau. Sailing and racing sailboats was a hobby she enjoyed for many years, participating in weekly Wednesday evening races and weekend regattas on Corpus Christi Bay and the surrounding waters. After retiring in 1996, she became interested in genealogy, documenting proof of lineage to ancestors who served in the American Revolution and to ancestors who came to America in 1620 on the Mayflower. She was a member of the Corpus Christi Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Martha Heron Douglas Chapter Colonial Dames XVII Century, and the Corpus Christi Colony, Texas, & General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Carolyn and her beloved dog, Blush, trained and were evaluated by the Delta Society and accepted as a Registered Delta Society Pet Therapy Team beginning in 2004 and continuing through 2012. Together they visited patients in hospitals and nursing homes by appointment through membership in a local group, “Paws Up”, recognized by the Delta Society until Blush passed away on April 1, 2013.
Mom’s Personal Recollections of Early Family Life (lightly edited from her own notes): Our family lived in variety of different areas of the United States due to the type of construction work Pat did, but we always returned to our roots in Ingleside and Aransas Pass. In the early years of marriage and young children we moved frequently: 1953 -Corpus Christi, Beaumont, and Aransas Pass, Texas (where son Mark was born); 1954 -Hungry Horse and Whitefish, Montana (where son Pat was born); 1956 - Rockdale, Texas (where daughter Donna was born) and Aransas Pass, Texas; also, Downey or Norwalk, California. Over the next eight years we followed construction projects and, in approximate chronological order, lived in North Little Rock, Arkansas; and Port Lavaca, Ingleside, Beaumont, and Houston in Texas. Also, Evansville, Indiana, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Atlanta and Savanah, Georgia. Then Aransas Pass, Ingleside, and San Antonio, Texas and also Memphis, Tennessee, and Greenville, Mississippi. These journeys concluded with the family finally returning to Ingleside, Texas in 1964 where we stayed for the next decade as the children progressed through high school and on to college.
July 2012, Carolyn wrote this short biographical sketch for a TSDAR Membership committee she was serving on (near verbatim from her own notes): I am very pleased to be serving as Texas State Vice Chairman, Membership, for Division IX during the Wright Administration 2012-2015. I look forward to working with the Chapters in District IX. After being admitted in DAR on Feb. 8, 1997 as a member of the Corpus Christi Chapter 6028TX, I have been very active, serving on various committees and chapter offices, including Chapter Registrar, Chaplain, First Vice Regent & Chapter Regent. I previously served as TSDAR State Vice Chairman Div. VI Membership Committee during the Hagg Administration. I am also a member of the Texas Gulf Coast Regents Council. I was born and raised in Aransas Pass, TX where my Bigelow great-grandfather, and later my grandfather had a general store & a grocery store. My father, as a boy, made the first radio in Aransas Pass from a kit. He later introduced, sold, and serviced ship-to-shore electronic equipment for the shrimp boat fleets along the Gulf Coast of Texas. I was married to Pat Fossett, who passed away on May 24 ,1970, when our three children, Mark, Pat, and Donna were young teenagers. We lived in Ingleside, TX at the time and they all graduated from high school there, then moved away to attend college. I had a career in hotel management and was General Manager of a hotel on the Corpus Christi bayfront when Hurricane Celia paid the city a visit in 1970. Later in retirement, my sister, Gayle Atwood, talked me into becoming a member of DAR and that peaked my continued interest in genealogy. My other interests include my family, consisting of three grandsons, three granddaughters, and two great granddaughters. Also, my dog Blush. Blush and I were Delta Society Registered Pet Partners and together we visited nursing homes and hospitals by appointment for about eight years, until she passed away on April 1, 2011.
Some of Mom’s Recollections from Childhood (near verbatim from her own notes): During World War II my father, Guy Carroll Bigelow, enlisted in the Signal Corp and was stationed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was a cultural change for our family to move from Aransas Pass, Texas where most of the streets in town were still made of sand and our groceries were bought at my grandfather's General Store. The family traveled by train to Philadelphia. While there we lived in a community of row houses next to a trolley route. The first experience my sister Gayle and I had after we arrived was while walking down the neighborhood street when a friendly resident came outside to introduce herself and she advised us that it wasn't safe to walk barefoot in the neighborhood because our feet might get cut by broken glass. This was something we had always done in Aransas Pass and were surprised by that news. Our neighbors enjoyed engaging us in conversation so they could listen to our southern drawl and we learned a lot about our Jewish neighbors and their religious customs. Often Gayle and I, as Gentiles, were the only students in our respective school classrooms during their religious holidays. We created our own community. We made friends in the neighborhood. One was with the man that delivered ice from a horse-drawn carriage, who let us ride with him until our mother found out. We found a large tree on a vacant block nearby so that we could enjoy our favorite South Texas hobby of climbing trees. We also enjoyed the snow and sledding down the hill in the winter, as well as occasional visits to historical sites in Philadelphia and the surrounding area with our parents. The most memorable event while we lived in Philadelphia was the spontaneous exodus of families coming from their homes and into the streets after they heard news during a radio announcement that the Germans had surrendered in Italy on April 29th, 1945. Gayle, 9 years old, and me, 10 years old, became a part of a huge neighborhood elbow-to-elbow parade of people in the streets with flags and posters and music winding throughout that section of town for many hours. Remarkably, our Mother never inquired where we had been in that huge city on that day. After the War ended, we returned to Aransas Pass and our father established an electronics business selling and servicing surplus ship-to-shore radios and depth recorders to the owners of the shrimp boat fleets that docked in harbors along the coastline of Texas.