Carol Vargas of 214 North 2nd St. died at home early Sunday morning, September 10, 2017. She was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Robert and Wilma (Sauerwein) King, on July 20, 1937. She grew up in Buffalo, graduating from Kenmore High School in 1955. She went on to the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, where she earned her degree in sociology.
Moving to Lewisburg in 1967, Carol began employment with the fledgling Bucknell University Computer Center, a career that began with lugging boxes of punchcards, and continued until 1993 when she took early retirement from her position as Senior Programmer/Analyst.
Later she worked at Centretowne Apartments in Milton, PA as Site Manager for 10 years, where she expanded her role beyond its original job description. She began a program that distributed free food to residents. She frequently stayed beyond scheduled office hours, usually due to her willingness to offer a sympathetic ear to residents personal concerns. Many lasting friendships were begun in those years, friendships that extended after her employment ended, and up until her death.
For more than a decade, Carol was the Monday Girl for Home Delivered Meals driving a 40 mile route encompassing Lewisburg, West Milton, Vicksburg, New Berlin and Winfield.
Carols entire life was marked by an ongoing compassion for the disadvantaged and marginalized. In the mid-1970s, she and her friend, the late Evelyn Kim were concerned with the plight of prisoners loved ones who, arriving in Lewisburg by bus at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings for a visit, would find no place in town open for breakfast, and no place to wait until the prison opened for visitors. With the support of the late Rev. Gordon Kurtz, minister at First Baptist Church, they opened the church doors and provided a simple breakfast to those hungry and weary travelers. The effort expanded eventually to include five other churches participating on a rotating basis.
Her reaching out to prisoners at the Lewisburg Penitentiary also came in the form of joining Yokefellow, a group of religiously based volunteers who, endeavoring to follow Jesus instruction to visit the imprisoned, did just that and offered a weekly discussion group. Later she participated in and often led similar efforts at the Allenwood prison complex and Muncy womens prison.
Additional enjoyment came into Carols life from church activities, listening to and singing good music, a succession of dogs and cats, a huge and flourishing garden (90% tomatoes) a goodly supply of whatever boxed wine was on special, and by being amused (usually) by the burgeoning collection of choice items her partner thoughtfully acquired for her via a variety of channels, seldom including full retail.
Carol is remembered by all who knew her as a pleasingly feisty woman, not easily deterred when she was bent on righting a wrong or helping those less fortunate. Outside of a lingering, lifelong resentment that she couldnt take shop class in high school because she was a girl, she was a positive, forward-focused woman whose every thought was directed toward the welfare of others.
She is survived by her partner of thirty years, Bruce Jackson of Lewisburg, son Douglas and his wife Lani Wong, of Boston, MA, daughter Karen and her husband Stephen Crawford, and granddaughter Sophia of Houston, Texas, along with two nieces and two nephews. In addition, Carol was one of the leading citizens of the village that lovingly helped to raise Liza and Christine Craddock of Lewisburg, whom she considered her emotionally adopted daughters. Carol was pre-deceased by her sisters, Barbara Murphy and Joanne Meliski.
Carols memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church, Lewisburg on Saturday September 30 at 1:00 p.m., preceded by visitation at 12:30 in the church Friendship Room for those wishing to visit. Flowers will be provided by the family. For those wanting to make a contribution in Carols memory, suggested recipients are First Baptist Church, 51 South Third St., Lewisburg, PA 17837, or Hospice of Evangelical, that provided Carol with superb care, located at One Hospital Drive, Lewisburg.