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Carol Anderson Gwatkin

April 2, 1933– January 6, 2024


Carol Anderson Gwatkin of Santa Rosa, California, died peacefully with family by her side on January 6, 2024, after a short illness. She was 90 years old.


Born April 2, 1933, in Boston, Carol was the daughter of Helen Carlson Anderson and Axel M. Anderson. She spent her childhood in a Swedish neighborhood in Brockton, Massachusetts, and stayed true to her Swedish heritage throughout her life.


After graduating from Brockton High School, Carol attended Middlebury College in Vermont. She treasured her years there, especially the lifelong friends she made. A member of the Middlebury Class of 1954, she remained a proud alum, attending almost every reunion until she could no longer travel.


In 1953, Carol married her one true love, William “Bill” Emmett Gwatkin, III, whom she met one summer while working on Cape Cod at the Wianno Club in Osterville, Massachusetts. They wed at Brockton’s First Evangelical Lutheran Church while Bill was on holiday leave from the Navy. Shortly afterward, Bill headed back to his active-duty post aboard the USS Colahan. Rather than dropping out of college, Carol returned to Middlebury to complete her degree. According to family lore, she was the first married woman allowed to live on the campus, given Bill’s location.


After graduation, Carol took her first plane trip, landing in San Francisco. From there, she joined other Navy wives on a transport ship to a naval base in Guam, where Bill was stationed. She and Bill reunited and spent their first year of marriage living in a Quonset hut.


Together more than 67 years, Bill and Carol loved nothing more than harmonizing to their song, “The Nearness of You,” or a crowd favorite, “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie.” Carol began singing at her church in Brockton, where her father served as choir director for two decades. In junior high school, she starred as Josephine in “H.M.S. Pinafore” and became part of a Middlebury a cappella group, the Sigma Kappa Triple Trio.


Carol was an expert baker renowned for her array of Swedish Christmas cookies, including her specialties mandelkranz (almond wreaths) and pepparkakor (gingerbread). She had to hide them in tins sealed with duct tape to keep Bill from eating her handiwork before Christmas. Her daughters’ roommates and colleagues marveled at her ability to wrap cookies in wax paper and plastic to ensure they arrived in one piece in care packages.


If you knew Carol, you likely received regular letters and prompt and courteous thank-you notes. A loyal friend and prolific correspondent, she had a ready collection of greeting cards for every occasion.


A devout Episcopalian, she was a faithful parishioner at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Kenwood, California, where she will be laid to rest in the Memorial Garden alongside Bill. Each morning, she rose to pray for those in need in her community and walked her neighborhood, greeting her many friends along the way. Always the volunteer, she would join fellow parishioners each week to fold the church bulletin.


Carol was predeceased by her beloved husband, Bill, in 2021. She is survived by her three children: Christina Moghadam (Hamid), Cynthia Rowland (James), and Claire Jones (Marc). In addition, Carol leaves behind her four grandchildren, Cyrus Moghadam, Marshall Jones, Brooke Rowland, and Charlotte Jones. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, Davidson Ryan Gwatkin (Nina), and her nieces, Li Gwatkin and Kathryn Goulding, and their families.


Carol’s family would like to thank her longtime caregiver, Margaret Lee Turley, and the dedicated staff at Oakmont Gardens and Amada Senior Care for bringing Carol such joy in her later years.


A memorial service will take place on March 17, 2024, at 2 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 9000 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, California, 95452. A short reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice in Carol’s memory.



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