Carol White Dietmeyer

Carol White's Obituary

MADISON, Wis.- Carol White Dietmeyer, of Madison, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully on March 31, 2020, attended by loving daughters and a loving son-in-law.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Carol’s family moved to Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and then to Wausau, Wisconsin. Carol graduated from Wausau High School in the class of 1952, and attended Milwaukee Downer College (later Lawrence University) and then the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Carol spent a lot of time at the UW, earning two undergraduate and two graduate degrees there over a 33-year period.

Carol’s life, interests, and time can be divided up into many different components: family, home, personal education, music, hospitality, community, church, and more. Each component brought an enormous amount of pleasure to her, and with her talents she brought pleasure and prosperity to each area of her endeavors.

She raised a son and three daughters, all of whom became, as she would have said, “productive members of society.” She was important in the lives of her six beloved grandchildren, and she had a special relationship with her great-granddaughter: the two of them were very comfortable together, even though neither one could speak to the other.

A wonderful and enthusiastic hostess, Carol and her husband of 63 years, Don, gave legendary parties and receptions for family weddings, graduations, send-offs, and celebrations, as well as open houses for neighborhood, church, theater, and University friends.

Carol was an alto, and she never met a harmony part that she didn’t like. Having had excellent examples in her mother and her father, she sang in high school and college choirs, coming “this close” to being a music major herself. As an adult, she sang for many years in the Madison Philharmonic Chorus under Dr. Sam Jones, and in the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church choir. She served on the organ search committee at St. Luke’s as they brought in their lovely pipe organ, and she supervised the musical training of her children (one music major) and grandchildren (two music majors), each to their own ability and interest.

Having inherited a green thumb, Carol was a lifelong gardener. Vegetable gardens abounded in the back yard, and flowers flourished everywhere. Being a certified Master Gardener helped her make the gardens productive and beautiful, and having a husband who shared her interest and had the ability to do the heavy lifting made all of the gardens extra special. To top it off, Carol volunteered many hours at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, and she created the entrance garden at St. Luke’s in memory of her father and her father-in-law.

Carol’s contact and involvement in the Madison and Monona communities were vast and varied. She was heavily involved with the St. James Players/Strollers Theatre, the Madison Boychoir, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Theater and Drama, the Madison Philharmonic
Chorus, Shakespeare in the Backyard, Wisconsin Theatre Association, Wisconsin Alliance for Arts in Education, and K.I.D.S. Theatre of Madison. She worked for a time at radio station WIBA in their advertising department, hosted a Girl Scout troop, and worked with faculty and staff at Deerfield, Elvehjem, Gompers, and Mendota Elementary schools in her specialty area of Creative Drama in the Elementary Curriculum.

As a travel buff, Carol enjoyed seeing the U.S. from “sea to shining sea,” and Europe via car, train, boat, foot, and plane, either by herself, with Don, with friends, or with groups and performing ensembles. She was the travel agent for the family while the kids were at home, ensuring that they, too, saw spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and majestic purple mountains.

Carol is survived by her husband, retired UW-Madison Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Donald Dietmeyer of Madison; her son, Karl (Cheryl) of Peachtree City, Georgia; daughter Elizabeth (Charles) Johnson of Lilburn, Georgia; daughter Anne (Daniel) Engbring of Sun Prairie; and daughter Diana (Thomas) Jacobs, of Valmeyer, Illinois. Grandchildren include Laura (Evan) Ferree, Karla (Gavin) Colahan, Erik Johnson, Erin Engbring, Sean Johnson, and Adam Engbring. Her great-granddaughter is Caroline Joy Ferree. Her brother-in-law is Gilbert Ratcliff, Jr., M.D., of Huntington, West Virginia, and her nieces are Lenore (Bob) Tweel, Leah (Tré) Horton, and Lynn (Alec) Sedki. She was preceded in death by her parents, Val and Evelyn White, and by her sister, Betsy White Ratcliff.

Carol served, with distinction, the United States of America as an Army wife, an Air Force mother, and as an Army grandmother. She served the State of Wisconsin, Dane County, and the Greater Madison area as an educator in schools and in churches, and as a multi-faceted volunteer. She served the world with her love, talent, compassion, and enthusiasm. She served God with everything she had.