Carol Thunem

7 June 2013
Carol Thunem
Carol Thunem

I am very sad to report that Carol Thunem, age 65, passed away on June 4th at her home on Circle Lake after an extended illness. Carol began working at Carleton as the Switchboard Operator from 1997-2000. She then worked in Technical Services at the Library from 2000-2009, before taking positions in Archives and Periodicals from 2009 until her retirement in June 2012.

Carol had an enthusiasm and positive outlook on life that inspired all those who knew and worked with her. She was always eager to assist both her co-workers and Library users in any way possible. She was professional and conscientious in her approach.  Carol’s supervisor in Technical Services characterized her attention to detail as “legendary.” She was an excellent supervisor of student workers, with many of whom she formed strong bonds that meant much to her. Carol supported the interests of her co-workers and taught them about finding fulfillment in new work and challenges.  Prior to working at Carleton, she served as a music teacher in Wisconsin and continued to pursue her musical interests by directing and accompanying choral groups and community theater musicals. Her Wisconsin years also led her to cheer enthusiastically for the Green Bay Packers.  

Carol was devoted to her husband, Cabot, and her sons, Erik and Carl. She lived courageously and valiantly with cancer and retired in order to spend more time with her family as her illness worsened. During Carol’s remarks to co-workers last May, she said,  “It’s hard to leave Carleton with all the memories and friendships of 15 years. But now I am really excited about living, making the most of each moment of every day. Life is certainly a wonderful gift – enjoy it!”  

A family memorial service is planned for July.  Arrangements are through the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home in Northfield.

Carol is sorely missed by all who knew her.  Please keep all of her family, friends, and former co-workers in your thoughts and prayers.  

In sorrow and faith,
Carolyn Fure-Slocum
College Chaplain

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  • 2013-06-07 14:20:58
    Tanmay Annachhatre

    I met Carol in my freshman year at Carleton 3 years ago. When I needed it most, Carol took a chance on me and hired me as a Student Worker at the Archives. Despite numerous mistakes and difficult situations, Carol always kept positive and helped me figure it all out. I can write a lot more about Carol, but all I really want to say is that I'm blessed to have met her and worked with her, and I won't forget her.

  • 2013-06-07 14:22:37
    Raghav Chandra

    Carol Thunem was an incredibly caring woman. When I worked with her in the Archives, she was always easy to approach and always spoke with a smile on her face. Her understanding of others and her willingness to help are some things I will never forget. She was truly a wonderful person and she will be missed.

  • 2013-06-07 14:27:02
    Mary Steil

    I got to know Carol through the short-lived Carleton staff-faculty chorus which we both joined. She brought joy and knowledge to her singing, to all her musical endeavors. We played together in stage bands for several Faribault musicals at the Paradise and her laugh always made our rehearsals fun. Carol was our "pickup" player who used the keyboard to fill in parts for instruments we lacked, sometimes reading scores from two or three books at once. Her husband bought my hammered dulcimer for Carol last year, I hope she had time to play it. I'm very sad to hear of her death, I will miss her.

  • 2013-06-07 14:54:42

    I worked in Technical Services through all four years of my Carleton career. Carol and the entire technical services office was a second home for me on campus. Carol always asked about schoolwork, athletics, family and dreams. She made sure that student workers learned everything they could about library science and library processes while they were on the job. She opened her home and invited student workers over for tomato pie. Thank you, Carol.

  • 2013-06-07 15:45:36
    Eric Hillemann

    It was a blessing to be able to work beside Carol in the College Archives from 2009 until a year ago. She derived a great deal of enjoyment and personal satisfaction out of this work, particularly relishing her opportunities to assist our users in locating information or images, or by responding to reference queries or other requests for services. Her relations with her co-workers, both permanent staff and the student assistants she supervised, were superb. Her fight against her illness was heart-wrenching, but at the same time admirable and quietly heroic. We miss her.

  • 2013-06-07 15:45:59
    Jan Senn

    I enjoyed getting to know Carol during my visits to the Archives. It was obvious that she loved her job, and she tackled any request with energy and enthusiasm. Plus, she was a warm, kind, approachable, and positive person. After I learned of her illness, I was impressed by her upbeat attitude in the face of her challenges; she was an example of acceptance, grace, and courage that I will never forget. She once wrote me, “I feel strongly that open communication with family and friends is a key part of accepting death.” I am blessed to have known her.

  • 2013-06-07 15:47:46
    Christina Gehring

    Carol was such a wonderful human being.  I met her as a student worker in Technical Services, and her warmth, humor, and compassion meant so much to me.  I can think of so many times when she went out of the way to get to know her students and keep the job interesting.  I will miss her.

  • 2013-06-07 17:31:41
    Alexandre Adrian

    I worked with Carol in technical services during my senior year. She was a very warm, funny, and patient supervisor, good at giving directions but never taking herself too seriously. She was an absolute pleasure to work with. I kept the post card she gave to me on the day I graduated, and still have it with me.

  • 2013-06-08 07:11:44
    Sam Demas

    Carol was an inspirational colleague, always volunteering to work on projects she thought would be helpful to the library and the college, always open to new ways to approach her work, and always challenging herself and others. She jumped at the chance to move to the Archives and found great satisfaction in the work, while helping tremendously in strengthening the support for Carleton's efforts to preserve its history. And she loved the students she worked with. I remember her fondly and marvel at her valiant and full hearted approach to life with cancer.

  • 2013-06-08 12:51:58
    Robin Anderson

    Carol was a wonderful and inspiring individual, personally and professionally. As one of her student employees in Tech Services, she offered many opportunities to learn and grow. Carol always communicated why things were done the way they were and was delighted to be part of a team of people who were curious and enthusiastic about offering the best services possible. Her encouragement, kindness and humor were deeply appreciated. She cared so much about the students and their dreams. I miss her.

  • 2013-06-10 00:18:45
    Hsianghui Liu-Spencer

    Carol and I had worked together in Technical Services since 2005. We sat in the north side of the TS workroom, and often time we chatted about work, family, student workers, clothing, anything and everything in general. I admire her enthusiasm toward her students, and in return her students really treated her like another mom and guardian angel on campus. She liked ‘matching color’, and I missed the fun color on her; her matching styles in socks, outfits and shoes were impactful!