Friday, December 26, 2008

Carol Seidenwurm 1944 - 2008

Carol Seidenwurm passed away on December 24, 2008 shortly before reaching her 65th birthday. She died peacefully at San Diego Hospice after a valiant four-year fight against cancer. She is survived by Rick, her husband of 43 years, daughter Amy and son Rob, son-in-law Russell and daughter-in-law Katie, grandsons Owen and Nathan, and a slew of adoring relatives and friends.

Gatherings in Carol's memory are listed on the right. We invite everyone from Carol's life to attend.

Carol grew up in Manhattan and graduated from Boston University, majoring in Political Science. The family moved to San Diego in 1973 and she blossomed here.

Her passion was stone sculpture. Her works are proudly displayed by collectors across the country. She once wrote, "At first the stone seems cold and hostile. As the shape emerges, the stone becomes warm and alive. The joy and pain involved in the carving process is, to me, both cyclical and strangely predictable, something akin to giving birth and seeing your creation change from a gawky adolescent to a sensuous adult. The whole process is deeply satisfying."

Carol returned to school at age 50, earned a masters degree in psychology and became a marriage and family therapist, serving internships at Lifeline, Women’s Resource Center, and Elizabeth Hospice before establishing a private practice in North San Diego County.

People loved to confide in her and she loved to listen. She was an avid reader moviegoer, and traveler. She wrote memoirs of her youth and her struggle against cancer and read them at the First Friday programs run by San Diego Writers Ink. One of her readings was included in the First Friday anthology CD last year.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Carol’s name to the charities listed to the right. Or just spend a little time volunteering for something you care about. Carol would like that.

Please also leave your thoughts and memories about her by clicking on the comments link below. We would love to read them.

Much love...
Amy, Rob and Rick


  1. I love this, I love Carol...Tora

  2. My mom had asked us to tell or write family stories as a gift to her this holiday. I would certainly have told this one.

    The Fry Queen

    Back in '76, Sea World had a coupon on their park map for a free small fries at McDonald's. So, mom grabbed a couple of hundred of these "treasure maps" on the way out.

    We had so many french fries! Every day she would pick us us up from soccer practice and say "Who's running in for fries?" They knew the kids who ordered five free fries pretty quickly...enough so that the fry-gathering chore soon ranked below setting the table or washing dishes. On weekends, we'd to a movie in the evening and afterwards was the inevitable "who wants fries?"

    She also gave the coupons as little gifts to friends, especially after McDonald's had to pull the coupon off and they were rare.

    Please also note that fries were rarely eaten in the car and artfully arranged in a bowl at dinner. Take that Martha!

    I miss you mom.

  3. I have never been good with words--only laughter and tears. You will always continue to illicit both, Mrs Seidenwurm.

    I will miss you!!!!

    With much, much love,
    Mrs. Dougherty aka Kathy, your annoying friend

  4. Carol will be missed by all of us at BCI . It was a pleasure to have known her and to have been able to enjoy her warmth and friendship over the years. She will be in our prayers and memories .
    Sincerely ,
    Dennis Reznick ,NJ

  5. Like my sister, I was tasked with stories about my mom. The one I like best is this:

    The first day of the California Lottery, back when I was probably 14, I was sick. Or maybe I played sick, I'm not sure. Probably was faking it. Also, my Mom probably knew this. Anyway, I remember going with her down to Big Bear to shop for a few groceries, but more importantly, buy 5 Scratchers, which were such a novelty. I remember the anticipation of scratching these tickets, sure we were going to win, and of course we didn't.

    The thing is, my Mom was the kind of mom who knew I had been anticipating the first day of the lottery ever since it passed on the ballot, and she was willing not only to overlook her son to skip school, but to spend the day going back and forth to the store (we went back at least once) to buy lottery tickets. She'd do anything for us.

    I love her always, I miss her, but I see her personality reflected in me, mostly as a parent and a spouse.

  6. Amy & Family - I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your Mom sounds like the kind of person we all wish we had in our lives. Thinking of you.

  7. Inordinate, frequently imprudent, sassy, dear friend, brave, self-especting, reflective, multiplitiously creative, one of a kind, ...these are are few of the words and thoughts that come to mind when I think of Carol. I miss her. Marsha

  8. Although I would see Carol only now and then, we always reconnected as though no time had passed. She always made me laugh and then we could talk about important things in our lives. She was "one of a kind" and will be dearly missed. Marcia

  9. Julianne Jordan BrysonDecember 28, 2008 at 8:51 PM

    One of my favorite memories of the Seidenwurm family was when we all lived on Santa Regina. I remember Amy telling me her parents would give her or Robby $1 if they bit into an onion like they would an apple. Amy told me Robby actually DID it! I couldn't believe it! I asked mom and dad if they'd do that for me or Bix. Of course they said 'no'. I remember thinking Mr. and Mrs. Seidenwurm were SUCH cool parents!

    I have great memories of you, Julie Daily and me being such a 3-some.

    I'm so sorry for you all.

    Julianne Jordan Bryson

  10. Rick, Amy & Rob,
    I was so sorry to hear about Carol. She would always put a smile on my face and we always kidded about enjoying complicated wines. I so loved our deep conversations where we solved all of the problems of the world. I also loved her sense of humor which would put anyone in their place immediately. I will miss her deeply and my New Year's Day celebration will never be the same without her. A dear, sweet, intelligent woman is gone and our hearts are a bit emptier without her, yet our memories will last a life time. She will be greatly missed ! Much love to you, Cinda Lucas

  11. dear Rick: there will never be another Carol. She was enormously entertaining in her droll way. I have the most wonderful memories of her laugh, wisdom, and sensibility. Thank God for memories and the ability to remember. We are thinking about you and your family today. marjorie and jay

  12. Carol will live in my heart forever-I send my best hugs and love to all. Grace (The Terror)

  13. Writing, listening to her stories, feeling her profound love for her "best friend" Rick, her descriptions of working with stone, sharing in the tears of joy, sadness, and fear; celebrating the beginning, and the re-birth of a friend..Dear Carol. A privilege to know you as short and sweet the time. We will meet again as friends always do. --grace bernal (When Words Heal with Dr. Sharon Bray)

  14. What a beautiful young woman,
    Turned exuberant wife,
    Turned fufilled mother,
    Turned joyful grandmother.
    Her life shines right out through her eyes in every photo.
    She lived a good one, the best we all can wish for.
    The type that people remember.
    The type that never took it for granted.
    The type that did us proud!
    Here's to Carol!

  15. Saturday night I dreamt about Carol and Rick, although I could not remember Carol's name at the time. Sunday morning her face smiled at me from the newspaper and I smiled, recalling all the laughs, the snide New York humor we shared and the sensuous art she created.
    My thoughts and heart go out to you Rick, Amy and Rob.
    Lyn Allred (Armstrong)

  16. Carol and I swam together at Lomas, and we always enjoyed talking while we dressed and complained about the locker room. We were also members of Brandeis, and she enjoyed the Art Walks even while she was ill. She graciously opened her lovely home to the group to see her sculptures which were marvelous. She was a terrific lady and will be missed. My condolences to all the family.

  17. I met Carol at exercise class about 7 years ago. We shared many "coffee" conversations - discussing family, hobbies, and our mutual experiences as MFT's. We were always trying to analyze our own behaviors - she will be missed. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Toni Wong

  18. I have only known Rick for a very short time but in reading the snippets... Carol touched many people . And I would have loved to have met his Carol ... She lives on in her art and I will have to meet her that way !
    Krista Thomas ( massage therapist )

  19. Carol's good sense of humor and adventure caused our first meeting to be at a sandwich shop in Boston--Rick had "bragged" about his little brother's "ability" to eat large quantities and Carol put me to the test. If I could eat the entire humongous sandwich, the restaurant would give it to me free. I'm proud to say that I upheld Rick's honor, although I'm not sure it was the best way to start the relationship on the right foot! Another symbol of Carol's wonderful nature was her gift to Rick of Edith, the mannikin. Carol provided a range of outfits and dressed (and undressed) Edith to Rick's delight!

    While Carol and I often had differing points of view, she always listened when I tried to explain mine and (I felt) understood a bit more about me. In the same sense, I was always seeing yet a new side of her--and wanting to learn more. One thing about which I was always certain: her love and caring for my brother, niece and nephew knew no bounds.

    Jerry Seidenwurm

  20. Writing this memory of Carol entails acknowledging that I will never again hear her deep,calm voice on the phone calling to check in and catch up.That is an enormously painful thing to contemplate.

    Forty-eight years ago ( e-gad! that's a scary number) Carol and I met in Laurel Hall, a freshman dormitory at Boston University. She had completed one semester, I was an entering freshman. We immediately became roommates and fast friends, and although we've been seperated by a continent for the past thirty-five years, that roommate bond alwys remained. Our conversations always felt as if we had spoken and seen one another the previous day and would do the same the next day. There was never any sense that a long time may have passed since our last face to face meeting. No topic was off limits. We knew more about one another's families and lives than most people do. Physical distance probably makes sharing emotions and experiences somehow easier. And share we did, offering one another comfort, advice, undertanding, whatever was needed at the time.

    Matt (my husband) and I were fortunate to have spent a couple of days with Carol and Rick in September. We had a wonderful visit and happily were able to buy two pieces of her work which we enjoy every day.

    I am so grateful to have had Carol for a friend all of these years. I miss her terribly and I will never forget her. I hope that Rick, Amy, Rob and their families will take comfort in the beatiful memories they have of Carol. She was the funniest,the warmest, the best.

  21. The first time I met Carol was on my first date with my (now) husband, Rob. We were 16. Our fist date was to attend an art opening for Carol's sculptures. As an art lover, I was amazed at her pieces. I couldn't believe that such hard material could look so smooth.

    Over the last 21 years, I grew to know and love Carol. Her sense of humor was always witty (and a bit strange) - but wonderful. She and I had a lot in common - we loved to sculpt and swim. What could be better for a mother -in-law! I was welcomed into the family with open-arms and lots of love. Her love for her grand children was great and boundless.

    We will miss, you , Carol. I don't know how we will make it - but like you, we will persevere.
    Katie Seidenwurm

  22. shelly and bob grossmanJanuary 1, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    We always looked forward to seeing Carol at the Business Counsel meetings. We enjoyed hearing her funny stories and sense of humor. Her artistic qualities also amazed us. Carol enriched all of our lives and whenever we met she made our trips so much more enjoyable. Carol and Rick complemented each other so well. Although we only saw Carol at most a few times a year we will miss her dearly. Love, Shelly and Bob Grossman

  23. Where to begin. It's been a lifetime. Carol and I met in 7th Grade at Joan of Arc Jr. HS on the westside of Manhattan. I had just moved to NYC from the "country" (Rockland County) and we became instant friends. We walked home from school along Broadway and would eat 15 cent pizza or great sandwiches of vegtable cream cheese on black bread. We had many sleepovers and when it was at Carol's house on a Friday night, she was my "shabbos goy" as I was Orthodox and could not turn on lights. We would talk endlessly into the night. We enjoyed swimming at Julia Richmand High School and sneeking a cigarette at the local coffee shop. Carol was my matron of honor and my oldest friend. It's impossible to realize we will never talk again. Though we lost touch for awhile, we reconnected when her mother became ill. In a strange way, I was lucky for that. We had endless conversations from New Jersey to San Diego, which will be missed. She was a fighter and we were so looking forward to spending time with her and Rick in February. I did not believe she would be gone so soon. Rick, you were lucky to have had her for so long and she was lucky to have met you too! We miss you Carol and love you.
    Mattye Messeloff Gandel

  24. I always wanted to see more of Carol than I did. Every encounter I had with her left me smiling and carrying something away I'd never considered before. One such instance was when we were returning from a day trip of house-building in Mexico, and Carol asked Rick what he had learned. It's something I think about each time I experience something new, and each time I ask myself what I've learned...and think of Carol. Another memory Rick may not know is that I once ran into Carol at the market, where I was buying an artichoke to eat for dinner when my husband was out of town - since Ted doesn't care for them and I know an opportunity when I see one. A discussion ensued of the things we ate and the things we did and didn't do when our husbands were traveling, of which I remember few specifics (this was years ago), but I do remember her telling left me laughing until my sides hurt. Rick, I wish you had had a full lifetime together, but forty years must have been so very rich and joyful. What a blessing. Thank you for sharing her with us.

    Alison Pivonka

  25. many happy memories..lots of laughter and a few tears..but one of my favs : carol and i started a womens group to raise our awareness..and one of the early members suggested we all read a book(the title neither of us could remember) but the characters were audrey and?? and they became our alter egos and for years when we would phone each other or write it was always to audrey..and we would giggle and share our present and our pasts..we were so pleased that rick and carol spent an evening with us on their last trip east..and we shared again good times..we will miss you lots..rhoda

  26. Rick, Amy and Rob

    Just read in the New York Times of Carole's passing. Mickey and I extend to all of you our heartfelt condolences and sympathies for your loss. We are thinking of you


    Mickey and Marty Fine
    Sarasota, Fl

  27. Bonnye and Allan FineJanuary 4, 2009 at 1:15 PM

    Dear Rick, Bonnye and i just learned of Carol's
    passing, and we want to offer you and your family our deepest sympathy.
    Bonnye and Allan

  28. Bill and I have many memories of good times and lots of laughter with Rick and Carol, including some pretty wonderful New Year’s Eve celebrations, dinners, and get-togethers. One particular memory that comes to mind is sitting around with you and the Grossman’s one night discussing Yiddish words. We laughed a lot and got an education in the process. With Carol, you always learned something! I think two words strike me as particularly applicable to Carol – panache, which she had, and hutzpah (spelling?), which she also had! We miss her. Peggy Walker

  29. As a little girl, I learned SILLY from my Aunt Carol. She's the only person I'll ever know that could talk seal better than the ones at SeaWorld and carry on a "normal" conversation with an arrow through her head. I learned that all you need for a Jewish christmas tree is a lot of tinsel on a bare branch and that corn dogs are good, really good. Though it wasn't very often that we got to visit, I almost always had a smile on my face and broke out into fits of laughter repeatedly. Thanks, Carol! and love always,
    --Wendy Fine

  30. Rick, I am so sorry for your loss. Carol was a wonderful addition to the San Diego Writing community and she will be missed. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    --Jennifer Simpson

  31. Carol and Rick became my friends, not just Amy's parents. On their last visit to Seattle, Carol wore the exact same pair of sandals I have, my favorites. We each got them at Nordstrom, but not at the same time.

    I always liked that she drank Dewar's and that I could see Amy in her laugh and smile. The thought dawned on me tonight I have never been in the same room with Amy and her parents. I wish I had.

    I'm so sorry for the loss you all feel, and that such a gracious and wonderful life has come to an end. Carol truly was a dynamite lady. I will miss her hug, and her sassy way.

  32. In addition to her warmth, intelligence, creativity, candor and wit, Carol was psychic. There would be long lapses in our contact and, without fail, she would call just as I was thinking about her. I'm sure this happened with others.

    Stone sculpture was a perfect medium for her: monumental, enduring, strong, transforming rough into smooth. I carried a thirty-five pound piece of marble I picked up in the Carrara quarry back to her. She will always be an inspirational "rock" to me.

  33. "There's Gambling in Rick's!" Few people know the most memorable source of this complaint. It was not Claude Rains in Casablanca; it was Carol Seidenwurm in Riverdale, New York.

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Carol found herself the hostess of a floating poker game that often (all too often, in her opinion) was convened in her dining room. It kept Amy and Rob up too late; it interfered with her work; but she made us welcome, and more than welcome. I was fortunate to graduate from intruder to friend.

    Carol left behind a lifelong trail of kindnesses large and small, and of people who remember those kindnesses. And yet she was tough and brave and fiercely loyal to those she cared about.

  34. It has been an Honor and a privilege to have known Carol. She’s been a true inspiration in my life and in the life of many others. I’m grateful for the time I’ve been with Carol and Rick for the last two years. Carol demonstrated true courage and strength dealing with her many challenges. She has been a gift for all those whose lives she touched.
    With much love and gratitude,
    Daniel Vicario