I have no premonitions of dying anytime soon, but since so many folks I have known, or known of with a place in my life, are dropping like flies, I thought I would write my obituary so it reflects what I want to be known about me. Aimee, you can print this out when you need it.
Stepp, Carolyn Sue Henze, was born on December 4, 1940, around 5 p.m. in the afternoon at Dr. White’s Maternity Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her parents were Charles Frederick Henze and Beulah Beatrice Pitman, who preceded her in death. She had one sister with both parents, Patricia Claire Henze Schmidt, who predeceased her in 2013. She also has had sisters and brothers through step-parents, and had three daughters, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. There are nieces and and a nephew, and their children who form the rest of her family.
Carolyn was born when London was in flames, was a year old when the United States became involved in World War II, and her life has been somewhat war- and fire-filled ever since. She graduated from high school in Corpus Christi, Texas, Roy Miller High School, in 1958, where she was a member of the marching band, the Battling Bucs. After graduation, she went to Las Vegas to live with her father, and shortened her name to Carol. She lived a rather flamboyant life out there, marrying and divorcing twice before she was 24, worked in casinos and on a dude ranch. She was a member of the Paradise Valley Saddle Association and the Nevada State Horsemen’s Association in her latter years out there, riding horses and living the country-style life. She also sang with a country-western band for a short time during the years 1962-63, but was never famous, though she hung out with a few famous people around then. She gave birth to two of her daughters while living out there.
In 1964, she returned to Corpus Christi, after a bad patch with her father and step-mother, and spent the crazy years from 1964-1971 involved in the drinking scene, managed a merchant seamen’s bar in Corpus Christi during 1965-1967, when she gave birth to her third daughter, and did some traveling to places like Biloxi, MS, and Wichita Falls, TX. When she woke up in shock and realized she had turned 30, she decided to try and live a more normal life. She was truly impacted by the war in Vietnam, losing some friends, being turned off by the horror, and wanting to find some stability, since she was still alive. She wore a POW bracelet from 1970 until 1985, when the remains of her service man were returned to America.
In 1974 she took a job which brought her to Austin, TX, in 1975, where she lived until her death. She was employed in Administrative work until her early retirement 2003, and she spent her final years living on her social security, aided by living in City-assisted housing, where she settled down with her cats, and although she served on the Board of Directors for the apartment complex, she really settled into a mostly lazy life. She was able to reconcile with her father in 1982, and remained fast friends with him until his death in 1984. She considered herself lucky.
Carol was never a very domesticate person. She had no interest in marriage, did not raise her children, and would just as soon hire someone to clean her house instead of doing it herself. But she had passions: She loved fine art, music, science fiction, cooking, her Celtic-heritage spirituality, and her cats. She gave money to fund an Art Museum (Corpus Christi, TX), choral groups (Las Vegas, NV; Austin, TX); a number of organizations she belonged to for both business and pleasure; NPR television and radio stations, and even produced a couple of radio shows for a true public-funded radio station in Austin, TX; and the Democratic Party, of which she was an ultra-liberal Socialist Democrat. She was particularly fond of Impressionist art, and was somewhat creative in her own right. Her morals were sometimes looked at askance by outsiders, but Carol pretty much lived by both the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, though she did not consider herself a christian.
Carol has never fancied herself as a “politcally-correct” person; she had no problems speaking her mind about everything from war to feminist subjects to tolerance and compassion. She proudly called people of all races and nationalities and genders friends throughout her life, always expected equal rights for herself (though she never made the money she should have), and generally fought battles that had to be fought over and over. She was a sucker more than once because she gave people the benefit of the doubt, and in her later years, had to cut back on what she could just give money-wise to others. But she never wanted to stop helping.
She also believe all wars should be fought with swords, saying that one should always have to look the person they were planning to kill in the eye. Her biggest bugaboos were liars and frauds and thieves.
Carol plans to be cremated and her ashes thrown upon flowing water that goes down to the sea.