Carol J. Harris, age 64 of Baraboo, Wisconsin passed away peacefully Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Madison, Wisconsin, surrounded by family and loved ones.
Carol was born May 10, 1953 in Janesville, Wisconsin, the daughter of Warren (Bud) and Charlotte (Koepp) Thomas. She was raised in the Janesville area until her family moved to Baraboo her sophomore year of high school. She graduated Baraboo Senior High as a very proud Thunderbird. Carol remained in, and built her life in the Baraboo area. After high school, she bartended at the Wildwood tavern, which was operated by her mother and step-father. During this period of time, she met many of her life-long friends, including the love of her life, who “completely swept her off her feet” (her words). She was smitten with Ray Harris and their love story began. In lieu of the traditional proposal, their engagement began with Ray asking Heather if she would like to be his daughter. Of course, Heather said yes, and they all became a family on August 21, 1982 when Ray and Carol said, “I do.”
In August of 1980, Carol was hired at Flambeau Plastics as a Finisher, painting duck decoys. Throughout the years, and with much dedication and hard work, Carol worked her way up through the departments until she became a Quality Inspector. In 2001, she became President of United Steel Workers AFL-CIO Local 2-380 in 2001. Carol was very proud of this position, and she took it very seriously. She worked extremely hard for her members and devoted much of her time fighting for the benefits important to them and herself. She even travelled to Las Vegas on several occasions to represent her union. All of this earned her great respect. Anyone who knew Carol knew her determination to seek fairness and equality for everyone. She was definitely not afraid to speak her mind. After 35 years, Carol retired from Flambeau Plastics in December, 2015. Shortly after retirement, she began part-time work at the Flambeau Outlet store, which enabled her to connect with her Flambeau family, whom she dearly missed.
Carol’s presence was as big as life; when she walked into a room, you knew she was there. Her laughter was contagious and completely filled the room. If you were loved by Carol, you were loved big and loved hard. Her faith was strong, and she had a very personal and close relationship with God. Her convictions were strong and debating was a passion. Politics were a favorite topic of conversation. She did her research, and she was very involved. She stood strong in her beliefs and because of this, “agreeing to disagree” was often a final outcome. Carol’s most proud achievements were her children and grandbabies, and the traditions they all began and shared throughout the years. She was thrilled when Cassie and Cayla would come over to simply hang out with her. She loved the weekends she got to play with and love on Brennan. Her grandbaby Brielle was her newest joy; Brielle gave Grandma the biggest smiles and melted her heart. The memories she made with her family were her most cherished treasures; fur babies included. The love she had for her puppies was as great as her love for family. She was never alone in her favorite chair; there was always a puppy in her lap giving her kisses and snuggling her, as she was giving them ‘zerberts’ on their tummies. When visiting, you were not only welcomed by Carol, but by her puppies as well, so she always had a healthy stock of lint rollers for your use on the way out! In addition to spending time with her family and playing with her grandbabies, Carol was an avid reader, she enjoyed cooking for her family, playing games on her computer, playing cards with friends, watching crime shows, and she had just recently returned to cross-stitching.
Carol is survived by her husband, Ray; daughter, Heather (Tracey) Kannenberg of Baraboo; son, Cory (Lindsey Strahota) Harris of Rock Springs; brother, Rick Koepp of LaCrosse; sisters, Wendy (John) Kannenberg of Rock Springs and Lori (Neal) Kingsley of Wisconsin Dells; brother in law, Keith (Andrea) Holcomb of Reedsburg; grandchildren, Cassandra (Craig) Dunkley, Cayla Kannenberg, Brennan Harris and Brielle Harris, and many nieces, nephews and other relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents; stepfather, Alan Koepp; infant son, Tyler; and sister, Sandra Holcomb.
A Celebration of Life Memorial Party will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. at the Gem City Saloon and Eatery, 124 Ash Street, Baraboo.
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