In Memory of Carol Godman

November 26, 1939 - February 22, 2024

Carol Godman, age 84, of Hayward passed away surrounded by family on Monday, January 22, 2024, at Water’s Edge.

Carol was not usually called by her given name, but by one of the nicknames she lovingly acquired and earned throughout her lifetime: Toots, Mother Crab, Zoe, and Grandma.

She instilled in us a love and wonder of the simple intricacies of life, which surround us but can get forgotten or overlooked in the rush of life around us. Her grandchildren were the greatest joy of her life; she spent hours with them, while teaching them to wander thoughtfully through this world. To celebrate the birth of each one, she planted a pine tree in the backyard of the cabin. She was not a planner; she just looked for the treasure unfolding in any given day and adventures would begin. If any of those adventures ever crossed paths with a yard sale, a stop to look around would have to be made, which has lingered as a kind of tradition amongst her grandchildren. The only thing she did plan were regular visits to see her children and grandchildren, who were often scattered in different places across the country.

She didn’t have a green thumb, but always had flowers in her pots for the summer. In winter, her bird feeders were filled and in summer her hummingbird feeders were overflowing with nectar. Many years ago, there was a daisy field by the cabin that brought her tremendous joy and was a source of many trips to gather and bring home bouquets, as they were her favorite flower. The wildflowers lining the cabin road were another source of wildflower bouquets; each walk would bring another bouquet home. Birch trees also brought a distinct sense of joy, as she always kept birch logs lining the cabin driveway, which were meticulously maintained and re-arranged.

Although she spent her summers on the lake, she did not venture out on the water in a boat. She had a boating accident when she was younger, while waterskiing on the lake at her cousins’ cabin. On special occasions, she would go for a boat ride with her husband who would drive the boat along the shoreline. Her favorite summertime spot was on the dock, where she sat and soaked in the sun, often reading or working on word searches. Every now and then she would venture into waist deep water to cool off, getting her crab tattoo wet with the lake water.

Whereas her husband would never cease to engage you in conversation, Zoe never ceased to make you feel comfortable or loved. Whether it was cooking blueberry pancakes in the morning by the lake, watching Ellen in her living room, or pillaging chocolate from her hidden stash, you’d always leave any interaction with her laughing and at peace.

She had this huge, loving place in her soul for animals. Her Mother and Father raised Cocker Spaniels, so as a little girl she was usually surrounded by a litter of puppies. Her favorite childhood dog was named Jill. From early on, she knew animals soften the sharp edges of this world. She had a special love for horses, and although she never had one, they were frequently in the foreground of her watercolor paintings. Nonetheless, she was able to enjoy the constant companionship of family dogs and cats, giving them love and care as if they were her own.

She was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois at St. James Hospital and grew up in Flossmoor, Illinois. She attended Bloom High School (just down the road from St. James); her husband attended Bloom’s rival, Thornton High School and was from the neighboring suburb of Homewood, Illinois. She graduated from Northern Illinois University and began her teaching career in Dolton, Illinois. In these far southern suburbs of Chicago, she and Woody made their early life together and began their family. During this time, they purchased their cabin on Lac Courte Oreilles and spent their summers up North on the lake. Eventually, they moved from Illinois and made Hayward, Wisconsin their home. Their childhood friendships, cherished friends, and ties to Illinois did not end; quite frequently Illinois friends made their way up to the cabin, where more memories were made along the water and adventures were hatched. She continued teaching in Hayward, where she taught first grade for 24 years before retiring to finish teaching her grandchild about this world. Grandma also never missed a chance to remind her grandchildren to “Be nice. Be happy. And Smile.”; those were usually her last words prior to ending a phone conversation with her grandchildren.

She spent the last four and half years of her life living at Water’s Edge. Her caregivers showered her with gentle, loving care; many became part of her family. In words, our family is unable to adequately express our gratitude for the love bestowed on our Mom during her last remaining years.

She knew this was a wonderful world. She knew how to pass that knowledge on to her family; she spent her life showing us how to find life’s little treasures. She knew life could hurt, but she taught us nature can heal. She knew it was the simple things in life that make you rich. She knew it was the little moments that counted. She knew minutes were unrepeatable miracles. We had immense joy being able to call her Mom, Zoe, or Grandma. We feel immense sorrow in her passing. For us, her light was so bright.

Zoe is survived by her two children, Byron (Heidi) and Tracy; her three grandchildren, Wade (Kasey), Tyler and Brett.

Toots was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 61 years, Woody; her parents, Alice and Norman Kantzler; and her two sisters, Lorraine Reeve and Joyce Longnecker.

A gathering for family and friends to celebrate Carol’s life will be held in Hayward on August 3rd from 11 to 2 at SylvanDale.

Last Update: Feb 26, 2024 10:45 am CST

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