Carol Sours

Obituary of Carol H Sours

Carol Sours died in the Eastern Star Home in Oriskany, New York on December 25, 2019. She had previously lived in Sauquoit, and more recently in New Hartford. She is survived by four children, Philip Sours (Yolande Meessen) of Newton, Massachusetts, Amy (Patrick) McGlynn of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Clinton (Susan) Sours of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Kristin (Robert) Nelson of Clinton, New York. She also leaves a sister, Pamela Baldwin of Virginia. Carol's beloved husband of 58 years, Bill Sours, died in 2012. Her sister Cynthia Thompson of Virginia died in 2011. She leaves nine grandchildren: Jenna (McGlynn) White, Megan (McGlynn) Hartline, Kevin McGlynn, Caitlyn McGlynn, Max Sours, Ariane Sours, Garrett Nelson, James Sours and Eva Sours. In addition she leaves two great grandchildren, Emmett and Myles White. She also leaves several nieces and nephews, sisters- and brother-in-law on her husband’s side, and many dear friends. Throughout her life, Carol found great joy in connecting with people and forming friendships. She had a deep capacity for love — of family, friends, entertaining, discussion, theater, music and travel. She had a strong social conscience, and worked her whole life to improve her community. Carol was born in 1926 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the only child of Max and Dorothy Thompson. Young Carol was drawn to reading, handcrafts and theater, interests she later described as her “anchors". Her childhood was marked by turbulence during the Great Depression, and her family moved frequently in an effort to improve its fortunes. Unfortunately the tensions were too great for her parents’ marriage, which ended in divorce in her early teens. As Carol began high school, war clouds gathered in Europe and Asia. During World War II, she joined the effort full-time after her high school graduation, working in a plant that produced wire rope for the Navy. After the war, Carol enrolled at the Massachusetts State College in Amherst. Originally interested in journalism, she followed her mother's wishes and studied Home Economics. She joined the “Roister Doisters", the college theater club, and performed in several plays. Her interest in acting led to roles in summer stock in Vermont, including the lead in the psychological thriller “Gaslight". The high point of her college education was a semester of intensive study at the Merrill-Palmer Institute in Detroit, a center of research and advocacy for child and family development. At Merrill-Palmer, Carol learned about the positive impact of early childhood education and proper nutrition. This experience would later inspire her to help organize the first pre-kindergarten program in her community for families living in poverty. After graduating from college, Carol became a high school Home Economics teacher in Glenfield, a small farming community in northern New York State, and later in the village of Ilion. She was selected by this community to serve as Goodwill Ambassador, traveling to Austria and afterward delivering lectures about the difficult post-war conditions in Europe. This experience made a lasting impression on her. Returning to the United States, Carol began a new phase of life, marrying her love Bill Sours and raising four children together. In this fulfilling period, she nurtured her growing family and volunteered in her community. She joined a local anti-poverty committee during the 1960's, a time of both concern and action about the national poverty rate. This led to the opportunity to help organize Utica's first Head Start program in 1965. Aimed at promoting school readiness for young children, Head Start draws on the research of the Merrill-Palmer Institute, where Carol had studied years before. The inaugural Utica Head Start program focused on creating an eight week summer enrichment experience for children ages 4-5, before they entered kindergarten. Carol recruited, trained and coordinated dozens of volunteers in ten different Utica neighborhoods to enroll families in the new school. After her youngest child entered grade school, Carol returned to teaching, while studying part-time for a master’s degree in reading. This led to a satisfying career as a remedial reading specialist, helping middle and high school students improve their reading ability and increase confidence in their schoolwork. As her children reached adulthood, Carol decided to try out for a role with Players of Utica Community Theater. After a hiatus of nearly thirty years, Carol was on the stage again, playing against type as a murderous psychopath in “Veronica’s Room”. Her children were unfazed by this tour de force, saying she had delivered much scarier performances at home. After retiring from teaching, Carol was able to devote her energies to a number of activities and causes. She expanded her involvement with Players of Utica, joining the board and working backstage. On stage, she tested her acting range in a variety of comedy and dramatic roles. She also volunteered for several community organizations with such aims as strengthening the resilience of families, and increasing the availability of quality affordable housing. Special thanks go to the employees and volunteers at Eastern Star Nursing home for their skillful and compassionate care during Carol’s time there. Arrangements will be made through Owens-Pavlot & Rogers Funeral Service in Clinton, with a service to celebrate her life this spring at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Utica. Details will be published. Memorial donations may be made to the Players of Utica Community Theater, or the charity of your choice.
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