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Friday, April 14, 2023
4:00 - 6:00pm (Eastern time)
Friday, April 14, 2023
Starts at 6:00pm (Eastern time)
Mary Carolyn (Underwood) Howard, 96, died at home in Strawberry Plains, Tenn., on April 9, 2023. She was born in Knox County, Tenn., on Dec. 8, 1926.
Carolyn loved the Lord, her family, nature – and, as she described it, “little babies of all kinds both two- and four-legged.” She was proud of her lineage as one of the "First Families of Tennessee" and was deeply engrained in her community where she lived most of her life on her beloved family farm.
In title, Carolyn was a homemaker and farm wife, yet she was so much more. She worked the land, often side by side with her husband, son, and other farm hands, all while keeping everyone nourished with her delicious cooking and running the household.
Beyond her physical grit was an even stronger mind. After earning a B.A. in sociology at UT Knoxville, Carolyn continued to seek knowledge in any way she could as a life-long learner. She was a voracious reader, and it was common to find underlined text and notes filling the margins within many of her beloved books. It gave her great joy to engage in deep discussions about literature, philosophy, the Bible, and life.
She was known for her hospitality and hosted many gatherings and prepared countless special meals for those near and dear to her. Carolyn also enjoyed visiting with others on her porch, surrounded by her flowers. In her later years, she carefully instructed her loving helpers to ensure her home remained “cheerful” on the inside and out.
Carolyn is survived by her dearly loved granddaughter Jessica Ennis (Chris) and great-grandsons Reed and Dean; her daughter-in-law Martha Howard; sister-in-law Laverne (Howard) Newman; several nieces and nephews; dear friend Charlotte Justice; and several wonderful neighbors, friends, and loving caregivers Amy, Nikisha, and Pat.
She is preceded in death by parents Jesse (Carpenter) and Ralph Underwood; husband Ray, whom she married in 1948; devoted son Ralph; twin sister Martha Ruth Bevis and siblings Marjorie Kirkendol, Agnes “Polly” Bowling, and Glenn Underwood.
Visitation will be held at Farrar Funeral Home in Jefferson City on Friday, April 14, from 4-6 p.m. A short service will immediately follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider planting a tree in Carolyn’s memory. The family would welcome Tennessee native wildflower seeds or donations to the Tennessee Land Conservancy, 1213A 16th Ave S., Nashville, TN, 37212.