Carol, age 72, was born January 19, 1940 in McVille, North Dakota. She grew up with her parents, Rudolph and Algreta Ophaug and numerous Norwegian aunts, uncles and cousins. She was always telling stories about her trips to Red Willow Lake, hanging Christmas lights on Main Street with her Dad, and working the farm with her parents. She graduated from McVille High School and earned a degree in education from Concordia College and began teaching English. Carol decided to go back to school for her Master’s degree once she was settled in Ashland, Oregon and all three of her children; Kay, Russell and David were in school.
She taught English at Phoenix High School until 1981, when she met and married Donald Bentz and moved to Roseburg. Carol began teaching English at Fremont Middle School and had the privilege of teaching 8th grade for 19 years. She did so with amazing teaching partners and a sense of humor.
Carol started running while she was in Ashland. She began with walking around her neighborhood block four times. That humble beginning lead to a couple marathons, numerous half marathons, and more shorter races than can be counted. She did races with her daughter, daughter-in-laws, and grandkids, and always turned the races into memorable events. She could be seen every morning running and later walking her daily route from the top of Kline Street out and around Stewart Park and back up that big hill. She thanks all of you who honked encouragement to her along her way.
She loved watching and supporting all her grandchildren in their school and sporting events. She and Don would make a long weekend of wherever the grandkids were playing, whether it was on the Oregon Coast, Seattle area, or along I-5. These trips were centered on the families, but always included a knitting shop for Carol and an auction for Don.
Those of you that knew Carol knew she was a lover of knowledge. She was always reading and consistently read material that challenged her to think differently and open her mind to other ideas and beliefs. Her readings would range from writings of the Dali Lama, Hafiz a Sufi Master, the Bible, extra-terrestrial life, Native American teachers, Michael Connlley and Vince Flynn books and anything about Norwegians. During the last couple years of her life, the message to her family was “You are in control of your own thoughts.” “Peace is just a thought away.” Her four favorite words were Listen, Think, Breathe and Peace. She passed away Tuesday morning at home overlooking the valley with Don and her children at her side after her 7 year battle with multiple myeloma cancer. During her battle her goal was still of a teaching nature by being a strong example to her friends and family of perseverance, staying positive and rising to a challenge.
Carol’s family includes husband, Donald Bentz; daughter Kay Sawyer and Brent Hawes and her children Lauren and Allison; son Russell Bolin, his wife Heather and children Megan and Nicholas; son David Bolin, wife Nicole and child David; step-daughter Laurie and Bruce Dodd and children Brandon, Tiffany, Chandler, and Adam and wife Stephani; and step-daughter Cindy and Dave Rudisill children Regan, Alexis and great-grandson Jayce.
Donations can be made in Carol’s name to the International Myeloma Foundation. www.myeloma.org