In light of current Virginia COVID-19 restrictions, a private funeral service will be held.

Caryn Elaine (Meissner) Kozel

January 17, 1949March 5, 2021

It is with deep sorrow and much love that we mourn the passing of Caryn Kozel (beloved wife, mother, and grandmother) on Friday, March 5, 2021, at the age of 72, after an 8-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Caryn will be lovingly remembered by husband of 51 years, Nickolas Kozel; children: Julie McClay (Steve) Deborah Wallace (Dave), Nickolas Kozel (Deanna), Sharon Hicks (Patterson), Alexander Kozel (Juliane), Gregory Kozel (Adrienne), and Stephanie Eriksen (Braden); 26 grandchildren; and 3 great grandchildren. She will also be remembered by her parents, Roy and Fern Meissner, siblings, Roy, Marilyn, and Caryl, and numerous other family members and friends.

Caryn was born in Chicago, IL on January 17, 1949, and moved with her family to St. Clair Shores, MI in 1956. She graduated from Lakeview High School in 1967 and attended the University of Michigan before marrying her high school sweetheart, Nick, in 1969. Her early years of marriage were spent raising her family as she accompanied her husband in his passion for pursuing and working in Christian education at a number of schools. While Caryn was gifted in administrative skills and could often be found working and serving alongside her husband in various roles, she had a love and compassion for people that never stopped her from tangibly caring for those around her. As a family, the Kozels lived and served in Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, before settling in Harrisonburg, VA in 1992. Upon settling in the Shenandoah Valley, Caryn and Nick founded Dominion Educational Ministries, Inc. (DEMI) and began to serve the local community with their family through the operation of Good Shepherd School and Day Care. It was during this time that Caryn completed her bachelor’s degree through the adult degree completion program at Eastern Mennonite University, and served as Vice President of DEMI while handling much of the administrative needs of the schools. Over the last 29 years, the school has served hundreds of families and has expanded to multiple locations in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond.

Caryn loved the Lord, and will be remembered for the joy she brought to the lives of those who knew her, for her heart for the marginalized, and for her contentment in the simple things in life. One of her greatest joys over the past several years was serving on the Parish Counsel as the People’s Warden at the Church of the Incarnation in Harrisonburg where she and Nick have been attending for the past three years. Caryn never stopped learning, and the last years of her life were spent growing in grace and love for the gospel and others, serving her parents well, learning how to love her family even more fully, and dying gracefully while living out her faith to the very end. In light of current Virginia COVID-19 restrictions, a private funeral service will be held on Saturday afternoon, March 13, at The Church of the Incarnation. For those interested in participating, the service will be livestreamed. See the church’s website for more details: www.theincarnation.org. The family will receive friends Friday, March 12, from 6:00pm-8:00pm in the Lindsey Funeral Home Chapel in Harrisonburg. The casket will be closed.

Post memories of Caryn at www.lindseyharrisonburg.com.

In lieu of flowers, Caryn requested you take your spouse on a date and invest in the relationships with those you love. Should you choose to make a donation in honor of Caryn, the following is a list of non-profit organizations that were dear to her heart. • Stansberry Children’s Home and Day Care, Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Rhoda Steiner, 12002 Arnold Road, Orrville, OH 44667 • The Church of the Incarnation: 57 South Main Street, Suite 609, Harrisonburg, VA 22801 • Good Shepherd School and Day Care: 276 West Market St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801


  • Nickolas Kozel, Husband
  • Julie McClay (Steve), Daughter
  • Deborah Wallace (Dave), Daughter
  • Nickolas Kozel (Deanna), Son
  • Sharon Hicks (Patterson), Daughter
  • Alexander Kozel (Juliane), Son
  • Gregory Kozel (Adrienne), Son
  • Stephanie Eriksen (Braden), Daughter
  • Twenty-Six, Grandchildren
  • Three, Great-Grandchildren
  • Fern Meissner, Mother
  • Roy Meissner, Father
  • Roy, Marilyn & Caryl, Siblings
  • Numerous, Other Family Members and Friends

  • Nick Kozel, Active Pallbearer
  • Alex Kozel, Active Pallbearer
  • Greg Kozel, Active Pallbearer
  • Steve McClay, Active Pallbearer
  • Patterson Hicks, Active Pallbearer
  • Braden Eriksen, Active Pallbearer

  • Stansberry Children's Home & Day Care
  • The Church of the Incarnation
  • Good Shepherd School & Day Care


Caryn Elaine (Meissner) Kozel

have a memory or condolence to add?


March 13, 2021

Caryn has been strong in the face of adversity. This Cancer journey proved her tenacity. The loving care of her children and husband as she endured the destruction of Cancer, to the very end is a testament of their love and devotion.

We share family and grandchildren. Her son is a beloved son in law. Thank you Caryn and Nick for raising a man of such character.

I will be praying for your family as you walk in grief; missing Caryn in the journey forward. Thankful for her strong faith and the blessed hope she is now enjoying, free of disease and suffering.

George & Rosie McArthur

March 12, 2021

Mrs. Kozel was a very nice and kind lady. She always had a smile and a kind word to brighten your day. She took her time to get people to church, I remember her picking up Doris, and later Shirley to go to church. She'd always bring delicious potlucks. She ran a tight ship at Good Shepherd. She raised respectful kind productive children. Rest in peace, Mrs. Kozel. You'll be greatly missed and always remembered with love in our hearts forever. Our prayers and condolences go out to her amazing family who by her passing have suffered great loss. Love, Lita & Lito

Cheryl Ramotowski

March 12, 2021

Joe and I have known Caryn for years and years. This friendship began in Junior High Band. Our families used to camp together, often at Interlochen National Music Camp, where I would listen to Caryn's "plots" to "catch" the boy of of her dreams. That would be Nick! She knew, at that young age , that they would be life partners. I've always admired her for the foresight and connection she felt. Nick, our hearts are with you and your lovely family. Rest in Peace, dear friend.

Van Frazee

March 11, 2021

I will always remember “just a friend?”. Caryn's sister Marilyn invited me to their parent's house during Christmas of 1979. After visiting with Nick and Caryn, and other family members, Caryn said with a big smile on her face, “just a friend?”. “Friend” progressed to marriage for Marilyn and me, so Caryn became my sister (in-law). I say sister, because Nick, Caryn, Marilyn, and I have spent many enjoyable times together - so she became a sister. Caryn’s smile, compassion, and energy will be missed and fondly remembered. She will always be a sister, and someday, the family will be together again in Heaven. See you later Caryn.

Sharon Hicks

March 11, 2021

Genuine, gracious, confident, insightful, compassionate, strong, loyal. Mom never met a stranger. She would often start conversations with those around her and offered her warm smile and connecting gaze to those she met. Everyone deserved to be seen and known. When we were young I vividly recall going to the grocery store with the family and her proudly sharing with onlookers that “yes, they are all mine.” and then adding with a smile, “I have SEVEN children.” I think she enjoyed seeing the reactions of unsuspecting observers and she was proud of each one of us. She could often be found working alongside dad with a cup of coffee in her hand. She never gave up trying to solve problems and would often be thinking a few steps ahead of wherever she needed to be. I played the piano growing up and mom would know all the tunes as I spent hours at the instrument. As a piano major in college I often would practice on campus. When it came time for my recitals, mom was always not sure whether I knew my music as she didn’t hear me practicing so she always got a private recital to calm both her nerves and mine prior to my performances. Trips to Target always meant a Starbucks and a leisurely walk. It was an event. New babies and new homes meant visits from mom and dad with big grocery store trips and always her yummy roast and mashed potatoes. Mom always had a song for everything and fun sayings that would roll of her tongue. We got to hear more of her laughter and to know more of her heart these past 8 months as she walked this road with pancreatic cancer with courage and grace. She was accepting of this chapter even in the pain. She always did like to read the last chapter of every book before even beginning. She knew she was a child of God and she trusted Him to hold all of the pieces even amid the shatter. She trusted His Story and we hold onto the Hope that we will see her again. Love you forever, Mom. 💜

Jennifer Jacobus

March 10, 2021

I have very fond memories of Aunt Caryn and will remember her as loving and kind. She will be greatly missed. Love to Uncle Nick and my Kozel cousins -Jenn (Davidson) Jacobus

Eric Bruder

March 10, 2021

I didn't really know Caryn except as a fellow member of the Lakeview High School Band. She played first chair french horn and I was second chair at the time. I didn't keep in touch with her after I graduated in 1966, but I remember one thing - she was an excellent horn player, better than me, and if God has a symphonic band up there, she will be "first chair" with the angels, not only for her musicianship, but also for the splendid life she has led. God bless you.

Nell-Marie Colman

March 10, 2021

How precious these memories are that everyone has posted. As for me, I'll always remember the meals we've shared together, the time we spent praying with our small group, and her generous hospitality. And I'll miss seeing Caryn and Nick sitting across from us at small group, when they'd lovingly tease one another and make the rest of us laugh. She was the real deal---full of love and life and care for others. Caryn, we will miss you dearly.

Missy Snitko

March 10, 2021

Caryn was a wonderful example of a strong woman. She was confident and straight forward. As a shy and unsure young woman, I admired that very much.

My heart is saddened by your loss, but also rejoicing with you that she is with her Lord.
Our love to you all

Fern Meissner

March 9, 2021

This is our little girl from the very beginning! A wonderful little bundle! A wonderful young woman, a wonderful mother.
She was there for whomever needed her. She was a lesson to us all. We love you, sweetheart. Mom and Dad