Carolyn Adelle Freeman

Passed away on November 4, 2019

Carolyn Adelle (Smith) Freeman of Fort Collins, Colorado, left this life on November 4, 2019 at her home after a courageous battle with metastasized cancer. She was 79.

Carolyn was born in 1939 to Ervey and Nellie Mae (Olson) Smith in Mason City, Iowa. Her early childhood years were spent in several small Iowa towns with her parents and brothers Larry and Douglas, as her father’s sewing store location changed locations frequently. She often helped her father by working in his stores, and her considerable sewing skills were used throughout her life in creating clothing (including matching outfits for her children) and home décor. She graduated high school in Marshalltown, Iowa in 1957, where her love of music developed in glee club and mixed chorus, and her gregarious nature was appreciated by many classmates.

After high school, she attended the Methodist-Kahler Nursing School in Rochester, Minnesota, where she majored in pediatric nursing. Additional coursework was completed during her studies at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She graduated in 1960 as a Registered Nurse (RN). She was employed initially at the University of Michigan Hospital (Ann Arbor) where she became a Head Nurse before moving to Colorado in 1965 and working for the University of Colorado Hospital (Denver). Her nursing training and work was always one of her greatest prides, and she gladly and selflessly used her nursing skills and knowledge to help family, friends, and neighbors throughout her life.

Following her nursing school graduation, Carolyn traveled through Europe in 1962. She visited Great Britain, Norway, France, Germany, and Spain, and throughout her later years enjoyed the memories she collected through all these travels. She moved to Denver, Colorado in 1965 where she met her future husband, Fredric Freeman, at a Young Republicans dance in 1965. Fred proposed to Carolyn in February 1966, and they were married in May 1966 at Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake, Iowa. After living in Denver for a short period after marriage, they bought their first of two homes in Boulder.

After the birth of Carolyn and Fred’s first child, Marc, in 1967, Carolyn stopped her nursing work to become a full-time mother. Their second child, Karin, followed thirteen months later. Carolyn’s greatest joy was raising her children. She taught Sunday school, and was an Indian Maiden troop leader and a Girl Scout troop leader for her daughter’s troops, becoming well known and loved by the girls for the variety of fun games she created and the baked treats she made for meetings and outings. She encouraged a music background in both her children through piano lessons, later allowing the children to choose their own preferred instruments. She provided health advice and guidance to friends and neighbors throughout her life, and gladly cooked meals for friends and family. Carolyn was multi-talented, and in addition to piano playing, singing, baking/cooking, and sewing, she learned to paint in oils and quickly became accomplished at painting mountain landscape scenes.

Summer vacations during the children’s school years were often spent traveling to and from Carolyn’s adopted hometown of Clear Lake, Iowa, where her parents owned a lakeside home. This location served as an annual family reunion location for the Smith-Olson clan, and Carolyn loved being surrounded by family, especially all the young children. Carolyn’s other summer joy was garage sale-ing, of which she was the undisputed queen. If anyone - friend, neighbor, or relative - expressed a need for an item, it was her great joy and passion to search for and find that well-priced item in excellent condition at a sale. She not only furnished her children’s’ first apartments this way, but also assisted neighbor children in the same way. If there are garage sales in heaven, she is there scouring them for treasures and making deals.

Carolyn and Fred both loved their adopted state of Colorado for the beautiful mountains and outdoor recreational opportunities. They began hiking and camping with their children even before they were toddlers. They started with a canvas family tent before upgrading to a pop-up trailer, and later in life a series of hard-sided trailers and a small motor home. The ultimate camping excursion was a multi-week trip to the Canadian Rockies in the pop-up trailer with two teenagers, complete with exquisite mountain beauty but also many challenges, which resulted in closer family ties and many humorous memories. Camping continued to be a joy to Carolyn throughout her married life, and during her last camping trip in August 2019 she savored the clear air, mountain views, and bluebird skies, comparing the experience to “being in heaven.”

After both children were in high school, Carolyn started her late-in-life career working in the University of Colorado records and transcripts department, working there from the mid 1980’s until her retirement in 2001. She loved socializing with her co-workers and talking to students. During that time, she traveled back and forth to Iowa for two years to care for her ailing parents. Following retirement, Carolyn and Fred spent time traveling, including a visit to Alaska for a train trip and ocean cruise, and travel in their motorhome to the New England coast, Oregon, and Washington to visit relatives and National Parks.

In 2015, Carolyn and Fred relocated to Fort Collins to be closer to their son, Marc, and his wife Lydia. Carolyn grew to love Fort Collins for its convenient amenities and easy navigation, though she always missed the view of the Flatirons in Boulder. For their 50th wedding anniversary in 2016, Carolyn and Fred took their children on a Caribbean cruise, which was a memorable highlight for everyone.

Carolyn was deeply loved by many, and will be deeply missed by all. She was private about her Lutheran religion, but never wavered. She was preceded in death by her parents Ervey and Nell Smith, her brother Larry Smith, her sister-in-law Phyllis (Freeman) Stevens, and her great-nephew Andrew Holmlund. She is survived by her husband of 53 years Fred; son Marc Freeman (Lydia Baldwin) of Fort Collins; daughter Karin Freeman of Pagosa Springs, Colorado; brother Douglas (Patti) Smith of Le Claire, Iowa; nephew Lyndon Smith (Rose LaRose) of Rapid City, South Dakota; niece Robin (Brian) Holmlund of Canton, Michigan; nephew Kurt Smith of West Yellowstone, Montana; niece Jan (Leonard) Bond of Ames, Iowa; niece Sue Knapp of Maupin, Oregon; and nephew Kennon Stevens of Port Orford, Oregon; along with many beloved cousins, great nieces and nephews, and other relatives in the Midwest and across the country.

A celebration of life service will be held at Crist Mortuary in Boulder, Colorado on November 16, 2019 at 1:30 pm. Inurnment will be a private family ceremony at Green Mountain Cemetery. The family wishes to express their appreciation for the compassion, support, and caring shown by so many members of the Pathways Hospice Team during the last two months of Carolyn’s life. Donations in memory of Carolyn may be made to Pathways, or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Children’s Hospital Colorado, in honor of her lifelong love of helping children of all ages.


16 November

Memorial Service

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Crist Mortuary

3395 Penrose Place
Boulder, CO 80301


Carolyn Adelle Freeman

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Carolyn Weatherly

November 13, 2019

I remember Carolyn in the Office of the Registrar in Boulder. What a kind and compassionate person Carolyn was. I worked with her in Boulder from 1995 - 2001. She was always cheerful and kind to people and loved the students. She will be missed. RIP Carolyn.