Northern Colorado Remembers Carole Lee Smalley

Carole Lee Smalley (Thorp). Photo courtesy of Dee Bundy.

June 1933 – March 2021

Carole Lee Smalley (Thorp) was born 6/29/33 in California, to Herald T Mackay and Verna Mae Talbert and went to be with Jesus on March 6th, 2021. She was married to Frederick Rushton from 1951 to 1970 and Dan Smalley from 1971 to 1983. She is survived by her children, Mark and Joann Rushton, Gerry Rushton and Stacy Hennessy, Judyrose and Rex Layfield, five grandchildren (author included), and eight great-grandchildren.

Carole was an independent, driven woman before her time. She applied her lead foot to any adventure she tackled, from spending 2 years as a missionary on Mercy Ships in Africa to backpacking to the highest peak in California in her 60’s or getting an English degree in her 50’s. After a long bookkeeping career, she let her extrovert run wild being a photojournalist for a local paper. She was active in the Chapel in the Pines Church and the mountain community that she loved.

Carole was a spectacular matriarch of her family who happily sported a ‘GmasTxi’ license plate as she carted us, hooligans, everywhere, often fitting us in around her roadbike or other gear. She always managed to make a life for herself while still loving and deeply supporting her family. We will forever believe that ‘it’s all Gramma’s fault’ for every wild caper or funny story that we retell, and it is such a blessing that we all have special stories to treasure.

Carole was a beloved friend who was quick to pull up a chair and listen to your life story. She made friends everywhere she went and was a vigilant prayer warrior for all of them. She loved her chickens, photography, a good margarita (or two), showing her horse Saber, singing in church, quilting, reading great saucy novels, and forcing everyone to smile around her.

She was one of a kind and will inspire adventures in all of us.

Carole Smalley – 1933-2021

Memorial – Fall 2021 (info at Donations accepted at Mercy Ships International in her memory.

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