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Spotlight: Carol Heap

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Carol graduated from the University of Utah, magna cum laude, in home economics education in 1978.  She was a member of Omicron Nu, the honor society for home economics majors (now known as Kappa Omicron Nu).  She taught for one year at Hillcrest High School from 1978 to 1979.  She married David Heap in 1979, and after the end of the school year, they moved to the Washington, D.C. area for nine years, and then to Phoenix, Arizona in 1988.

Carol, who passed away from early onset Alzheimer’s in 2015, was the beloved mother of three daughters and one son, and grandmother of a grandson and granddaughter (whose middle name is Carol).  

Carol felt fortunate and enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom.  She was a skilled cook and seamstress, and loved to make Halloween costumes and other special clothing for her children.  She created especially themed birthday parties, with cakes, decorations, sometimes birthday outfits, and games to go along with the theme.  She helped form a parents co-operative pre-school for her children.    She was very involved in her children’s schooling, was a room mother at school for all of her children, and often enthusiastically helped them in school-related projects.   She was a soccer/ballet/gymnastics mom, driving and energetically supporting her children in music lessons, athletics, dance, and many other activities.  She was gifted at interior design and did major painting, minor carpentry and other projects around the house.

She and David chose to raise their children without a television in the home.  Instead, Carol arranged different “learning centers” in the house—for art (with crayons, markers, paint, homemade playdough), music (an area for listening to records and another for homemade percussion and other instruments), all kinds of different games, and reading from her collection of around 2000 children’s books.  She would also take her children on “field trips” to museums and other activities in the area.

She was proud that each of her children graduated from college, with full tuition scholarships and National Merit recognition.  She began writing a book about raising intelligent children, but the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s prevented her from writing more than a dozen pages.

Carol took many advanced and graduate level classes through the University of Virginia, Arizona State University and Brigham Young University, to continue learning and to keep her teaching certificate current.  She loved to read classics and mysteries.  She excelled at word games and crossword puzzles.

Even after her diagnosis, and though her memory was failing, she enjoyed learning and stimulating her mind, attending with her husband lectures, academic conferences, plays, operas, concerts, baseball games, and serious movies.  In her last year of life, she, her husband and daughter all had roles in a local church play.

She was a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and spent many hours as a teacher and leader in the children’s, young women’s, and women’s organizations of the Church.

She was athletic, climbing nearby North Mountain almost every day, playing church volleyball and one year in a community soccer league.  She trained over several months and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back.

She loved to dance, took dance classes with her husband, participated in dance festivals, and went dancing with him from time to time.  Even after her diagnosis and eventual placement in a memory care facility, she continued to dance with her husband and children, and often, when music was played at the day care center or the memory care center where she lived her last year, she would stand and start dancing and invite other residents to join with her.

She had a marvelous sense of humor, and loved to laugh.  She loved comedies, jokes in the Readers Digest, and sometimes would even giggle during family prayer—moments when I think God smiled and maybe even chuckled too.

Read other CSBS Spotlights here.

Last Updated: 9/23/16