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Carol Collins Abernathy


Carol passed away Tuesday, November 12, 2019. She was born December 25th, 1938 at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Chicago, IL (now Evergreen Park) to Harry and Elsa (Westrich) Collins. She loved to tell everyone she was a “Christmas Carol”.

She attended elementary school at Central School in Evergreen Park. Her Freshman and Sophomore year were completed at Calumet High School in Chicago. She finished her Junior and Senior year at the brand new high school in Evergreen Park where she was in the first graduating class in 1957. For college, she attended classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, first majoring in Pharmacy and then switched to Bacteriology. She graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in 1961.

During her college years, she attended meetings of the Older Youth Group at the First Methodist Church in Madison. It was here that she met her first husband, Karl Leemkuil. They married in 1961 at the Methodist Church in Evergreen Park, IL. After their marriage, they lived in Madison, WI where Karl graduated in 1963, also with a degree in Bacteriology. They continued to live and work in Madison, where they raised their 4 children: Marcia, David, Gary, and Karen.

Karl died in 1980 of leukemia. Shortly after, Carol met Joseph (Joe) Abernathy in “Kayra”, a support group for widows and widowers. They married in 1983 and lived in Middleton, WI until 1988 when they sold the house and traveled the US full time in a motorhome. After 10 years in the motorhome, they settled down in a home in Sun City West, AZ where they lived comfortably until Joe died in 2009. Carol continued to live in Arizona until 2018 when she chose to move to Portland, OR to be closer to family.

Carol is preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Elsa Collins; an unnamed sister; her first husband, Karl Leemkuil; her first daughter, Marcia (Leemkuil) Lozano; her second husband, Joseph Abernathy; son-in-law, Adrian Lozano; and her special friend, Rusty. Surviving are her two sons, David Leemkuil of Cottage Grove, WI and Gary Leemkuil of Stoughton, WI; her daughter, Karen (Greg) Smith of Portland, OR; 3 grandchildren, Karlos (Miranda) Lozano, Elsa Smith, and Vivienne Smith; 3 great-grandchildren; and 3 step-daughters, Bonnie, Veryl, and Valerie and their families.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Karl Leemkuil Scholarship fund in the bacteriology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; ovarian cancer research, the Alzheimer’s Association, or the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

In passing Carol wished to share these words: I have lived a good life. I praise God for country, health, wonderful parents, 2 loving husbands, 4 wonderful children, 3 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, my step-daughters, extended family and many helpful, loving friends.

Let there be music with bells, drums, singing, dancing, and clapping. Don’t hold back! CELEBRATE! For I am now with our loving LORD!