Carolyn Eva Maxwell Contis, 82, passed away unexpectedly, and surrounded by family on February 26, 2020, exactly the way she would have wanted it. This intelligent and elegant force of nature was born on June 10, 1937 in Ravenna, Ohio. Loving wife of 57 years to James Contis and amazing mother of Jay Contis and wife Lisa of Marblehead, MA and Kristen Contis of Topsfield, MA. Grandmother of three cherished grandchildren, Gage, 17, Kallie, 14 and Eva 12. Sister-in-Law of Madeline Marken and Aunt to Melanie, Charlie and Tony Marken. She is survived by her brother, Col. Donald Maxwell of Kaiserslautern, Germany. She was the heart of her family.
A beloved resident, and matriarch of her Cohasset, MA neighborhood for 54 years, her love of young people kept her spirit young. She spent years as a Home Economics teacher in both Cohasset and Milton. While teaching, Carolyn went on to receive her Masters degree from Framingham State and continued her education at the Harvard School of Health. She was “brave” enough to travel the world with local high school students on countless People to People trips—an international student travel organization. She was involved with numerous nonprofits which included serving meals at Rosie’s Place, delivering Meals on Wheels, knitting hats for kids in Haiti for the BeLikeBrit Foundation, just to name a few. She had a deep circle of friends with whom she remained close her entire life. Many of them were from the “center of her universe,” Ames, Iowa and many more from her sorority Pi Beta Phi at her alma mater Ohio Wesleyan University, to which she tried to recruit any teen within earshot.
Her focus on learning was evident in the classes she and Jim attended at Osher, Life Long Learning School of UMASS Boston. Carolyn could also be found in a theater, attending a concert, or anywhere else that involved art, learning or music. The only time Carolyn slowed down was to focus on one of her greatest loves, her home garden, which she tended for more than 1/2 century. Her tomatoes, dahlias, zinnias, daisies, cone flowers, lilies, moon flowers and more reflected her love of life. If it was spring you need look no further than her deck and the gorgeous yard below where you’d see the brim of her sunhat and the soles of her Birkenstocks as she was knee deep in flowers, pruning, weeding and directing Jim’s honey-do-list.
She was Pied Piper to all children and especially to the “kids” in the neighborhood, some of whom are now in their 30s. Chances were great that there would be a gaggle of kids found at the kitchen table with Carolyn or outside on the deck making a craft.
The family wishes to thank her kind, generous neighbors and friends for the love and support they unfailingly provided her.
Carolyn’s flowers reflected the technicolor and vibrant way she lived her life. A Memorial Service and Celebration of Carolyn's life is planned for Sept. 11, 2020 from 4-7 at the Lightkeeper's House, Cohasset MA.