Carolyn Russell Coombe, 87, of South Hill Road, Grahamsville, NY passed peacefully at her home on January 10, 2024 with her husband Philip Coombe Jr. and family at her side. She had celebrated her 87th birthday December 21.
Carolyn was born in Boston, MA on December 21, 1936, to Mary Merry Russell and John Benjamin Russell. She spent most of her youth, and attended schools in Tenafly, New Jersey and spent summers at her parents’ vacation home in northern Massachusetts. Carolyn also lived for a short time in Fayetteville, NY where her parents had moved for her father’s employment with General Electric. After graduating high school in 1955 she took a year off to be a full-time nanny to a family of four children. She then attended the University of Vermont for two years before transferring to Cornell University where she graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
While at Cornell, Carolyn met an ambitious young man eager to find the love of his life. On September 26, 1959, Carolyn and Philip Coombe Jr. were united in marriage in Fayetteville, NY.
Carolyn joined her husband Philip in starting their new life and farm called Thunder View Farms on South Hill in Grahamsville, NY. This life was the fulfillment of a dream for her as she had always wanted to live on a farm. Carolyn was a lover of animals of all kinds, but riding and caring for her horses was a central part of her life. She raised and sold many Arabians foals over the years, worked at numerous horse shows, and participated in competitive long distance trail rides of 50 and 100 miles in her favorite part of Vermont. She gave private riding lessons to many local children and was a leader of a local horse based 4-H club, the 4-H Fetlocks.
She loved the farm life where she participated in the farm’s growth from one horse to up to five or more at a time, and six purebred Black Angus cows and calves to over 300 today. She contributed to the farm operation however she could whether it was providing meals, unloading hay, driving tractors in the field, or her particular favorite, raking hay.
Carolyn worked as an elementary school teacher in her first year of marriage before taking a leave of absence to start a family. For many years she worked as a substitute teacher for the Tri-Valley Central School district. Not one to avoid challenges, she took up running in her late thirties and worked for the US Postal Service starting in her forties as the substitute Grahamsville rural route carrier for nine years. She was a devoted member of the Grahamsville Reformed Church, the Ladies Aid, served as a Deacon, taught Sunday School, and loved singing in the church choir. She served several years as Secretary of the Neversink Agricultural Society, and more recently, assisted with the production and distribution of the local newspaper, The Townsman, where she enjoyed the comradery of her many friends.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Carolyn was an accomplished artist producing and selling many beautiful pieces of landscapes, horses, and portraits, mainly in pastels, her favorite medium. She enjoyed interior decoration, having remodeled all of the rooms of their farmhouse several times. She was meticulous at wallpapering and painting, which she would do to the wee hours of the morning to finish the task. Carolyn’s artistic skill and accomplishments were performed in her humble way without expectation of recognition or support of an ego, just doing the good thing without saying another word and her work would speak for itself.
Carolyn was extremely proud of her four children, Philip Coombe III, John Russell Coombe, Dwight William Coombe and Catherine Merry Coombe. She worked tirelessly to make sure they were well fed, made it to swimming lessons, sports practices, games, cross country meets, track meets, and FFA events, many of which she attended. She was a very kind and supportive mother doing whatever she could to help her children be successful with their school work and life skills.
She is survived by her loving and devoted husband Philip Coombe Jr, her sons Philip Coombe III (Patricia), John Russell Coombe (Della), and Dwight William Coombe, daughter Catherine Merry Coombe (fiance’ Erik), grandchildren John Philip Coombe (Jacqueline) , Alan Coombe ( Beata), Victoria Mattracion, Elizabeth Mattracion, James Russell Coombe, Kaitlyn V. (Coombe) Gervais (Ian ), Dwight Myles Coombe, Dustin Coombe, Nathanial Bender (Jennifer), Autumn Bender, and Nicholas Bender, and five great grandchildren: George and Henry Coombe, Aurelia and Alexander Coombe, and Caroline Eve Gervais. Carolyn was an only child, but is survived by her adoring cousins in Massechusetts, Anne Thor (Carl) and Lois Davidson.
The Coombe family is very grateful to her caregivers, Betty Botsford and Sally Estes, who have become part of the family, and to our Aunt Phyllis Gillette for the generosity of her time. We also thank those who have shown their love with meals, visits, calls, cards, flowers and prayers.
A period of visitation will be held Saturday, January 27 10:30 to 12:00 at the Grahamsville Reformed Church, followed by a celebration of Carolyn’s life beginning at 12:00pm. A luncheon and continued visitation will take place immediately following the celebration, in Memorial Hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Daniel Pierce Library (PO Box 268, Grahamsville, NY); Grahamsville Reformed Church (PO Box 238, Grahamsville, NY 12740); or Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, Inc (800 Stony Brook Court, Newburgh, NY 12550).
Those who are not able to attend in person may view the funeral service HERE.