Carol and her sister Peggy early took up stringed instruments, Peggy the violin and Carol the cello.
As teenagers they performed as a trio with their mother at the piano, often playing Grace’s own compositions before audiences throughout the Seattle area.
Carol came to the Spokane area in 1948 on a music scholarship to Eastern Washington College of Education, which included an opportunity to play in the Spokane Philharmonic.
She finished her degree in music performance and education at the University of Washington, where she studied with the renowned cellist Eva Heinitz.
At Eastern she met fellow student, Doug Graef, on a blind date.
Carol often told the story of that first date by saying, “we couldn’t stop laughing”.
Carol and Doug were married on April 9, 1954.
The couple eventually settled in Spokane, where their three children were born.
Carol balanced her two life-passions from that point on: her love of husband, children and family, and her love of music performance and impacting young lives through cello instruction.
She played in the Spokane Philharmonic and Spokane Symphony for 29 years, for eight years as principal cellist.
Her living room became her cello studio in the afternoons, normally welcoming two students per day for many years.
Carol enjoyed helping string educators in the public schools as well.
She knew many tricks of the trade and loved to share them.
Dozens of cello students were guided, challenged, and inspired to give musicianship their very best during her 40-year career in private teaching.
Several of her students have gone on to professional performance and teaching careers of their own.
Carol engaged life, food, books, church, news, politics and the arts with great passion.
Whether it was trying new recipes, expressing her patriotism through liberal-progressive causes, or following her children and grandchildren’s every advancement and interest, she did so with a tireless energy, grace and beauty which inspired all who knew her.
Her life changed the world, and her example will inspire her many friends and her family for years to come.
Carol was preceded in death by her parents, Cecil and Grace, and by her sister Peggy.
Her legacy of love for people, music and life she leaves to her husband of 59 years, Douglas; her son Michael (Missy) of Spokane Valley, daughter Robin (Wayne) of Seattle, and son Charles (Edie) of Los Angeles; and her six grandchildren.
She served on the Spokane Symphony Board, and was a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, Friday Musical Club, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Spokane Youth Symphony, the Spokane Symphony, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane.
A celebration of life service for Carol will be held on Thursday, the 26th of September, at 1pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, 4340 W. Fort George Wright Dr. Spokane, WA 99224.
Online guestbook: www.riplingers.com.
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