provided by the family

A celebration of the life of Carol Patterson will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Barnsite Retreat and Events Center, 109 Duvall St., Kewaunee, Wisconsin. All those whose lives were touched by Carol are invited to share in this tribute to her.

Carol, an adventurous, creative, funny and wise woman died peacefully on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, while traveling in the Olympia, Washington, area with her husband, Alfred (Al) Bigari. She and Al were looking forward to a dream trip to Alaska on her 84th birthday July 18, when she became ill and was unable to fight the effects of a weakened immune system.

In addition to her husband Al, her five children are shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of their mother. They will be celebrating her life each day as she is carried in the hearts of her two daughters, Kim Larson and Kathy Basler, and her three sons, Mark, Matt, and Kris Kolinski. She also leaves behind son-in-law, Paul Marvine; daughters-in-law, Ellen Levenhagen, Michele Diedrichs, and Gina Mancuso; seven grandchildren, Ian Larson [s. Merissa (Yost)], Ryan Larson [s. Kate (Lydon)], Reed Marvine, Bryce Basler, Jordan Kolinski [s. Kendall (Marks) Kolinski], Alison (Kolinski) Fritschler (s. Jeffrey Fritschler), and Kole Kolinski; and great-granddaughters, Sophia and Elena Larson, daughters of Ian and Merissa; and Baby Girl Fritschler due in October.

She graduated in 1968 with a Master of Science degree in special education from Northern Illinois University, to help students with learning disabilities, or as she like to clarify, those who learn in a different way. She taught at Summit School in Arlington Heights, Illinois, at Sturgeon Bay High School and Southern Door High School.

Carol loved to sail, obtained her captain’s license along the way, and led sailing trips for family and friends through the North Channel of Lake Huron, along the British Virgin Islands, and in Door County, where she found a lovely farm in Southern Door in the late 1970s that remains in the family and hosts artists and adventurers alike.

Carol painted oils and watercolors of nature and travels, as well as taught painting to others. She was a longtime member of a book club in Green Bay, a creative writing group in Venice, and volunteered at the Kewaunee County Historical Society. She liked to play piano, garden, cook, weave and quilt, golf, cross-county ski, ride horseback, and was crowned queen of a horse show while she attended as a freshman at University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana – attracting the attention of Stanley (Stan) Kolinski, a senior there whom she married in 1954. They had many joys raising their five children, and continued to share time together, with their children and grandchildren, after their divorce in 1985, and at family “Art Weekends” at the farm in Southern Door County, before he passed away in 2004.

Carol and Al met through mutual friends in Green Bay, were married on Dec. 31, 1997, and celebrated their 20th anniversary on New Year’s Eve, 2017. Al introduced Carol to Civil War re-enactments. They enjoyed many friends at their homes in Kewaunee and in Venice, Florida, canoeing up the Myakka River, looking for alligators, herons, and all sorts of wild life.

Carol was an inspiration to hundreds of her students, artists, fellow sailors, friends and extended family across the country. July 12 through 15, 106 family members were gathered on Lopez Island, Washington, to celebrate the 2018 Fairchild Family Reunion. This tradition continues every four years to celebrate the descendents of Grace Wayne Fairchild and Shiloh Fairchild, who established a homestead just north of Philip, South Dakota, in 1902. Carol and her mother, Emma (Fairchild) Patterson, father, George (Pat) H. Patterson, and her brother Don Patterson, visited the ranch often through her childhood.

Al and her children were with Carol at the end, sharing their love for her, and communicating many messages of love from grandchildren and friends. Her favorite music was played for her including pieces she has played on the piano such as Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, and many by Rachmaninov. Her favorite, however, seemed to be the opera Madame Butterfly, by Puccini. She was able to tap her feet in time to the music and even moved her shoulders a bit, showing her appreciation of all the music and love flowing around her.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations to research organizations that fight breast cancer and leukemia will help prevent suffering in the future.