She was born April 9, 1947, at the old Saint Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau, to Robert Lee and Floella Wimp Nations.
A true country girl in spirit, Carolyn spent her childhood in Morley, Mo., dreaming of being Annie Oakley and riding her beloved pony, Jerry Boy. She attended Fornfelt Elementary, where she would sneak home almost daily during recess to see her mom for lunch, and later attended Central Junior/Senior High School.
She went on to earn her beautician's license from the State Cosmetology School and was one of the head stylists at Styles by Judy for several years. Driving her brand new '67 Pontiac Firebird, she caught the eye of Wayne Nenninger, and after a two-year courtship, they were married Jan. 31, 1970, at St. Mary's Cathedral in Cape Girardeau. He was her soul mate and the love of her life.
Carolyn's greatest accomplishment and life's work came in the form of the four children that God blessed her and Wayne with. She was a devoted wife and mother who placed her family above anything else in this world, and taught her children to "Let Go, and Let God." From whole class birthday parties and cakes that always sunk in the middle, to filling the backyard with every animal her children wanted, there was no limit to what she would do for her family's happiness.
She loved the summer, the feel of the wind through her curly hair and the smell of a car that had been sitting in the sun. She was an avid gardener who did her best to create her own botanical garden in her backyard, and she yearned for the simple life of the country.
The cancer may have robbed her of the opportunity to live out her retirement dreams, but it never took away her mischievous smile or unbridled spirit. She was a beloved wife, mother and grandmother who will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.
She will live on in the hearts of her husband, Wayne Nenninger of the home; four children and their spouses, Kassie and husband Jim Foust of St. James, Mo., Eric and wife Cindy Nenninger of Houston, Tracy and husband Saul Rodolfo of Hutchinson, Kan., and Kindra and husband Leon Rodolfo of Perryville, Mo.; seven grandchildren, Lexi (in heaven with her Maw Maw), Kylie, Rafael, Isabella, Gabriel, Kaylee and Layla.
She also is survived by a brother, Bob and wife Bonnie Nations of Cape Girardeau; a sister, Shirley and husband Harold Briscoe of Meridian, Idaho; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her mother, father and granddaughter Lexi, who were all there to welcome her home.
Carolyn was baptized, received her first reconciliation and communion and was married at St. Mary's Cathedral.
She will conclude her earthly life with visitation at 9 a.m. Friday, and a rosary at 9:30 a.m. recited by St. Vincent's Council 1111 Knights of Columbus.
A memorial Mass will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the church, with concelebrants the Revs. Thomas P. Kiefer and John Harth presiding. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, immediately after the Mass.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or to the parish of St. Mary's Cathedral.
From her husband and children who miss her so dearly, we have only to say, "Smile! You're home!"
McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson is in charge of arrangements.