15501 W. San Fernando Mission Blvd, Suite B105 | Mission Hills, California, 91345
Obituary of Carol Sue Kaufmann
Carol Sue Walker was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on July 11, 1939. It might have been more appropriate had she arrived one week earlier, because she famously loved the 4th of July and all things red, white, and blue, but she got a kick out of telling people that her birthday was on 7/11.
When she was younger, everyone called her Suzy, and her nieces and nephews still refer to her as Aunt Suzy, but she reverted to Carol Sue during her teenage years. She was quite proud of her name and was forever correcting those who simply called her Carol. “It’s not Carol, it’s Carol Sue!”
She graduated from Amesbury High School in 1957 and went on to college at Boston University, where she completed a two-year program on a partial scholarship. Believing that she was leaving her beloved Boston for a temporary adventure on the West Coast, she moved to Berkeley to complete her studies at the University of California and earn her bachelor’s degree in business. The friendships she made during these years were precious to her and lasted a lifetime.
When her boyfriend relocated to Southern California for a job, Carol Sue chose to follow him and room with a friend in Los Angeles, but the relationship did not last. In early 1965, she met Walter Kaufmann, a kind and handsome widower with a two-year-old daughter named Karen. Carol Sue fell in love with both of them, and she and Walter were married in August of that year.
Less than a year later, another daughter, Heidi, arrived. They lived in Torrance until Walter, an aeronautical engineer, got a job at Hughes Aircraft in the San Fernando Valley, so they moved their family of four to Woodland Hills, where Walter and Carol Sue both lived for the rest of their lives. A year after moving, they welcomed a third daughter, Kirsten.
Carol Sue took great pride in being a wife, mother, and homemaker. She kept a spotless house, put home-cooked meals on the table, sewed clothing for her daughters, got involved with their school activities, and turned birthdays, holidays, and special occasions into magical moments.
A lifelong animal lover, she wanted her children to grow up with pets, so she convinced Walter to get a cat, Muffy, which evolved into a series of furry friends over the years that became precious family members: dogs Misty, Chipper, Laddie, Spencer, Buckingham (“Bucky”), and Oso (aka “The Beast”), along with cats Hank and Cleo.
Carol Sue was a live wire and could be seen on any given day zipping around the valley in her red PT Cruiser while out running errands. This became her signature activity, and all who knew her were familiar with her email handle: “errandgirl.”
Although she loved Southern California and the many wonderful friends and memories she made here, Carol Sue left her heart in Massachusetts and flew back to the East Coast often, driving all over New England for weeks at a time to visit her many friends and family members there.
In the latter part of her life, Carol Sue resumed knitting, which had been a hobby from the time she was nine years old, but had taken a back seat to motherhood. Through this practice, she found renewed creative passion and met a community of knitters who became another source of friendship, joy, and support. Many people, from friends and family to complete strangers, own and wear items she knitted with love while watching her cherished Hallmark Channel. She particularly adored Christmas and would knit gifts all year long to pair with jewelry or an article of clothing, which she would wrap in one of her artistic holiday packages or gift baskets to ship around the world after Thanksgiving.
[In 2004, Carol Sue’s cousin Melissa wrote a short story for the anthology The Knitter’s Gift about a sweater that Carol Sue knitted for her sister Anne, which had been passed down to Melissa. It contains more details about her life and history with knitting and can be read for free on Google Books at this link:
Scan the Contents for the second story titled “Six and Counting, by Melissa Garrison Elliott” and click on it.]
Carol Sue was always eager to help people with a kind word, loving letter, thoughtful gift, or long conversation, which usually occurred over the phone. She talked on the phone for hours each day and called it her lifeline. Her friends and family meant everything to her, and the stories of her generosity are legion.
She was an immense presence in the world and will be lovingly remembered for the positive impact she made on so many lives.
Carol Sue was predeceased by her husband Walter and is survived by her daughters, Karen Gagnier, Heidi Lavitt, and Kirsten Kaufmann, grandsons Harley Lavitt and Lucas Gagnier, granddaughter Lily Gagnier, brother Kenneth Walker, sister Anne Walker Manson, half-siblings* Cheryl Walker Foley and Robin Walker Ambrose, stepsisters Linda Darcangelo, Bonnie Kohan, Gayle Welch, and April Michas, stepbrother Eric Johnson, cousins Toni Ivy and Melissa Elliott, and a large extended clan of nieces, nephews, and friends—her chosen family.
*Carol Sue was also preceded in death by her half-brother, William Walker.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue and/or Operation Gratitude:
15501 W. San Fernando Mission Blvd
Mission Hills, California
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