January 25, 2022
Carole died at Abbotsford Regional hospital, January 25, 2022, having been surrounded by the loving presence of family and friends throughout her final days.
Born in Vancouver, the youngest of three, much of Carole’s early childhood was spent as a “Hydro brat.” The family lived at remote Hydro camps at Lake Buntzen, then at Stave Falls, before moving to Mission City proper.
Carole graduated from Mission Secondary with a close-knit group of friends, with whom she remained connected throughout her life and who continue to recount stories of her humour and “cheekiness” in school.
After graduation, Carole moved to Vancouver where she worked at BC Tel. Inspired by the family connection with Jean Harlow, Carole embodied the glamour of old Hollywood. Carole embraced fashion and enjoyed the vibrant music scene at the Cave and other famous Vancouver venues. She had fond memories of live performances by the greats including Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner.
A bit of a maverick, Carole fell in love with Charles Edwards, an African American man who she married under the bright lights of Las Vegas. After spending time at a Navy base, and upon Charles’ deployment to Vietnam, Carole returned to Canada and her first daughter, Michelle was born.
Through time and circumstances, the relationship with Charles ended. With the support of her mother and father, Doris and Dean Harlow, Carole began a new chapter as single mother.
A few rock festivals later – and legend says – a beer brawl at the Bellevue, Carole fell in love with rock n’ roll drummer, Don Chesnick, and they were married (not at the Bellevue). Don and Carole’s daughter, Stacey, came into the world during a snowstorm on Christmas day.
Carole and Don built their dream home in Hatzic. The house was often filled with friends and neighbours partaking in spirited card games and enjoying the “fruits” of their
suburban homesteading. When it came to the family car, Carole (not a station wagon woman) opted for the somewhat less practical 1973 2-door Nova Super Sport (red with black racing stripes).
The family would pile in, Dr. Hook on the 8-track, and cruise to their destination. While Carole and Don did not remain married, they remained friends, and Carole stayed connected to the family, including to her “big Sis” Eileen.
Enter Pink-Floyd-loving, wise-cracking, handsome, and handy man, Ken Grychuk. It is said that Ken delayed asking Carole out directly, and at first, employed the strategy of casually asking mutual friends to “bring Carole along too.”
While gathered with friends at Sistos pub, his first attempt to ask for a date, was a clumsy suggestion that she might want to go up to his place and wait for him (she didn’t).
Eventually his unique charm prevailed, and Ken and Carole began a relationship that lasted four decades. Ken became a father figure to Michelle and Stacey, along with son, Tyson.
As only couples who share such a long and storied history can, Ken and Carole continued to both drive each other crazy, and make each other laugh. Ken was by Carole’s side to the end.
While busy raising her family, in the 1970s Carole expressed her concern for the rights of girls and women by becoming an active member of the Fraser Valley College Women’s Advisory Committee, where she met colleague and lifelong comrade, Georgina.
At Fraser Valley College, then a small community college, Carole obtained her Human Services Diploma. She soon became an integral part of the faculty and staff. Carole later obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, and then went on to earn her Master’s Degree of Social Work from Dalhousie University.
Carole taught in what is now the University of the Fraser Valley School of Social Work and Human Services, until her retirement.
Carole was known for her quick wit and sparkling sense of humour; she even managed to elicit guffaws from those gathered at her bedside. A woman of taste and style, Carole had a flair for interior design, a penchant for collecting beautiful things and was an avid container gardener.
Carole enjoyed entertaining, the “hostess-with-the-mostess,” infusing every event with her love of music, dancing, and laughter. Carole was a keen and knowledgeable follower of American politics. Her perceptive analysis made conversations lively and informative.
A fabulous cook, Carole mastered specialties from various cuisines. She was noted for her southern biscuits and gravy, homemade iced-tea, cheesecake, beef bourguignon, Caesar salad and large celebratory roast beef and turkey dinners. An expert griller, her burgers, basted with homemade barbeque sauce were legendary.
While Carole did not love to fly, she did travel – childhood trips to visit relatives in Saskatchewan; Carole and Cousin Susan’s trip to Southern California after graduation; fondly remembered trips to the KOA camp ground in Linden; trips to Disneyland with her young family; attending the Harlow family reunion in Indiana, trips with Ken along the Oregon coast and regular forays to Osoyoos; and trips to her most coveted destinations of all, the tropics, visiting Stacey in Mexico and Belize.
In later years, Carole, along with friend and long-time travel companion, Brenda, enjoyed short stays at the Silver Reef Casino. Carole, a VIP, insured she claimed any and all available promotional prizes and gifts.
Carole’s passion for human rights informed her life in every way. As constant as was Carole’s advocacy for women’s rights and social justice, so too was her deep appreciation of music. Her diverse musical taste included Elvis, the Temptations, the Rolling Stones, the Tragically Hip, Shaggy, and always Jimmy Buffet, Carole even came to appreciate some Country music.
She attended countless live music festivals and concerts, and in her retirement, Carole took full advantage of her proximity to Abbotsford Entertainment Centre attending Santana, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Big Town, to name a few. If Carole couldn’t dance, she didn’t want to be part of the revolution.
In addition to extended family, countless friends, former colleagues and students, Carole will be greatly missed by her loving partner Ken Grychuk, her kids: Michelle Edwards, Stacey Chesnick, and Tyson Grychuk. Carole was an incomparable Nan to her grandchildren: Spencer Kaiser, Eli Kaiser and Caelan Rattray and found joy in the holiday gatherings hosted by Spencer, his wife Brittany, and Carole’s great grandchildren.
If anyone would like to donate in honour of Carole, please support a secular non-profit organization devoted to economic and social justice and the support of women.
The family would like to thank the Palliative Complex Care Team at Abbotsford Regional Hospital for their compassionate and expert care and support of Carole and her loved ones.
A Celebration of Life will be held in the summer, as Carole would have wanted. Tequila will flow.