Caroline Margaret Wood, 97 years old, passed peacefully at Chautauqua Nursing and Rehab Center on December 11, 2022. Carolyn was born in Dunkirk, N.Y. on November 4, 1925 to the late Fred J. Wood and Mary Hall Wood. She was a lifelong resident of Fredonia, N.Y., and lived in the home on the grape farm owned by her family since 1887. Her family were members of the Presbyterian church and Carolyn later became a member of the Sheridan United Methodist Church. Carolyn attended grade school at the Fredonia Campus School, graduated with honors from Fredonia High School in 1943, and received a tuition scholarship to earn her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cornell University in 1947. At Cornell she was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi social sorority; and Pi Lambda Theta and Kappa Delta Epsilon honorary societies. Carolyn continued her education and earned Bachelor of Education and Master of Science Degree’s from the State University at Fredonia; as well as attending classes at Temple University. From 1948 to 1959 Carolyn taught primary grades at the S.G. Love School in Jamestownwn, N.Y.. Then from 1959 until her retirement in 1981 she was a first grade teacher in the Fredonia Central School system. Her teaching career covered thirty-three years of dedicated service where she touched the lives of many children under her tutelage.
In 1978 Carolyn married Melvin Cranston and together they operated her family grape farm and had an assortment of animals. She was an enthusiastic owner of dogs, especially the Affenpinscher breed. She was honored to have a lifetime membership in the Affenpinscher Club of America.
Carolyn enjoyed farming, gardening, lawn mowing, outdoor activities, sewing, playing the organ, dinners with special friends, pinochle card parties, travel adventures, and watching the Buffalo Bills. She especially enjoyed her John Deere Gator and loved riding around her farm and visiting her pond. She was an 80 year member of the Fredonia Grange No.1 (first in U.S.) where she was a seventh degree member. In 2018 Carolyn was honored as Grand Marshal of the 50th annual Farm Festival. Carolyn loved social gatherings and had a variety of memberships, including the Pomona Grange, the Sheridan Happy Seniors, the NYS Retired Teachers Association, Dunkirk Moose Lodge, Chautauqua County Cooperative Extension, the Farm Bureau, the Affenpinscher Club of America, American Association of Retired Persons, the Concord Grapes Heritage Association, various humane societies, the former Golden Scepter Rebekah Lodge, and was a 51 year member of the former Canadaway Chapter #395 Order of the Eastern Star. As she grew older, her small dogs were her joy and constant companions. Carolyn was very proud of her Irish heritage and remained in contact with cousins in Ireland. Her life was enriched by accomplished relatives; some traveled and engaged in extended adventures sailing on steamships and wrote/published their accounts. Many wonderful stories and memories were shared.
Carolyn is survived by her cousins Joyce Purol, Nancy Larson, Kelly McArthur, Arthur McArthur, Randall McArthur, Scott Tadt, Tracy Tadt, Tim Tadt, Ron Cave, Linda Genung, Bob Genung; and other cousins, including Fred Rountree from Ireland and Robert Norris from Georgia; long-time friend Cathy Snyder, Donald Bull, Josef Powell, Rose Crino, and other specisides her loving parents, she was predeceased by dear cousins Viola Hall of Syracuse N.Y. and Dr. Olive Hall of Los Angeles California; and her former husband Melvin Cranston.
Carolyn will be remembered by her cheerful smile, dedication to her students, diligence in daily work, high professional standards, devotion to the high ideals of the teaching profession, and joy in her work. She was meticulous and highly organized in her busy life; and rose to meet many challenges. She had a strong, resilient constitution; and was a very well-read and accomplished woman. Carolyn loved animals and aspired to become a veterinarian. But almost 80 years ago this profession was frowned upon for women, so she was forced to choose another career. It was fortunate for many that teaching became her passion.
In remembrance of Carolyn’s life, any charitable donations may be made to the Lake Shore Humane Society, Dunkirk, N.Y.
Funeral services will be held Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock in Fredonia Presbyterian Church, 219 Central Ave., Fredonia. Pastor Holly Clark-Porter will officiate. Calling hours will be held Friday from 3-7 p.m. at the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home. Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery.