Updated: Jul 29, 2020
The Chautauqua UCC community lost a dear and long-time friend when Caroline Windsor passed away in June. Over the years, this community has created many lasting friendships for me and I am fortunate that this included Caroline.
Caroline’s love of Chautauqua began about 15 years ago when she was awarded a scholarship for teachers through her involvement in the English-Speaking Union. In the years that followed, incurring the cost of travel from England, she would attend most seasons, often focusing on themes of geopolitics, applied ethics, and the common good. Chautauqua was a perfect environment for her keen intellect and curiosity. As another UCC friend noted, “She was an unassuming treasure trove of knowledge.”
I will always remember her tremendous inner strength that belied her quiet demeanor. She lost both of her parents when she was very young and was sent to Australia to be raised by a distant aunt. Instead of this diminishing her future and living in despair, she had resilience, courage, and fortitude to rise above these extreme challenges of her tragic youth. At 18, she returned to the UK, funded herself through college, and became an exceptional teacher. It was only after her passing when I learned that, in a break from teaching, she obtained her PhD. It was consistent with her character that she rarely made reference to it.
Though quiet and reserved, she truly brightened the times we were together. We were never at a loss for conversation: she impressively was a debate judge, supported charitable causes, and was a talented gardener with an amazing, extensive, and complete knowledge of flowers and plants. She especially loved the gardens throughout Chautauqua and a fond memory is of our walking the grounds together as we searched for our favorites.
When I have lost dear Chautauqua friends, the full impact does not come over me until I am there again and keenly feel their absence. This will once more be true.
I will remember Caroline’s grace, her poise and presence, her sense of adventure, and our shared strong faith.
I will miss her kindness, warm spirit, generosity, but most of all, her friendship.