SARANAC LAKE —Carolyn M. Decker, 64, of 24 Nordic Way, Saranac Lake, died Monday, Sept. 5, 2011 at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
Born in Kearny, N.J. on Feb. 23, 1947, she was the daughter of Kenneth and Frances (Rushforth) Moore. Carolyn married William Decker on June 15, 1968 in Rutherford, N.J.
Carolyn was the second of five children born to Kenneth and Frances Moore. She grew up in Rutherford, N.J. with summers spent boating on the Hudson River and camping on Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. After graduation from Berkeley Secretarial School, she worked five years at First National State Bank in Newark, N.J. and married her high school sweetheart and the star of the baseball team, Bill Decker.
The couple moved to Old Bridge, N.J. and raised three children there, including Gregory (b.1971), Jennifer (b.1974), and Christopher (b.1983). The family enjoyed camping and skiing together, as well as frequent day trips to the Jersey Shore, Six Flags, the Pine Barrens, New York City and visiting with nearby grandparents. Carolyn served as a deacon and youth group leader at the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan. A talented amateur seamstress, her kids always wore the best Halloween costumes in town! An animal lover, her house was home to a succession of beloved pets, ranging from cats and dogs to hermit crabs and hamsters.
In the mid-1990s Carolyn and Bill moved to the Adirondack Mountains where their youngest son Chris attended New York Sports Academy and participated in competitive ski jumping. Carolyn relished the small town life she found in Saranac Lake and soon became a familiar, cheerful presence around town. She avidly took on the role of “woodswoman,” brandishing her paddle, bird guide, snow shovel or chainsaw to suit any situation. She became a second mom to many young Olympic hopefuls training in the area. As a deacon with the First Presbyterian Church of Saranac Lake, her enthusiastic visits to the sick and elderly led her to be nicknamed “bubbles” by her church family.
With Bill’s retirement from public accounting in 2005, the couple were able to pursue their passion for travel with even greater gusto. Frequently with some combination of family members along, they journeyed to such far flung destinations as Antarctica, Kenya and the Galapagos Islands, as well as paying visits to old favorites such as Hawaii, Yellowstone and Walt Disney World. In a lifetime of travel, Carolyn visited 48 of 50 states and all seven of Earth’s continents.
In 2007, she welcomed her first two grandchildren: Jacob and Jessica. Always Peter Pan-like in her love of toys, songs and games, it was a role she leapt into with obvious pleasure. In 2008, she and Bill celebrated 40 years of marriage, as well as the birth of a third grandchild, Ryan. A fourth, Jeremy, would come in 2011.
Ocular Melanoma was diagnosed in summer 2009. Astonishing doctors and pastors alike with her optimism, faith and good humor, Carolyn underwent regular treatments to control the cancer. Through it all, she continued living with her typical laughter and joy: building memories with her kids and grandkids, hosting parties, hanging a vast quantity of Christmas decorations, filling her myriad bird feeders, and certainly never missing a family event or a trip. She spent the final week of her life smiling at the score of loved ones surrounding her, and when her youngest son spoke his wedding vows right there in her hospital room — her face was radiant with far more than the afternoon light pouring in over Lake Colby.
Carolyn is survived by her mother, Frances Moore of Lake Placid; her husband, William Decker of Saranac Lake; two sons: Gregory Decker and his wife Amy of Robbinsville, N.J. and Christopher Decker and his wife Carrie of Park City, Utah; one daughter, Jennifer Ross and her husband Jason of Greenville, R.I.; two brothers: Lawrence Moore of Puyallup, Wash. and Kenneth Moore and his wife Joyce of Stanhope, N.J.; two sisters: Bonnie Bordenkircher of Westfield and Terry Monahan and her husband John of Manhattan Beach, Calif.; four grandchildren: Jacob and Ryan Decker of Robbinsville, N.J., Jessica and Jeremy Ross of Greenville, R.I.; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her father Kenneth Moore.
Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. There will be no calling hours. A private memorial service will take place at the convenience of the family, with the Rev. Joanne White officiating. A celebration of life gathering will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Lake Placid Lodge. All are welcome.
Friends wishing to remember Carolyn M. Decker may make memorial contributions to Ocular Melanoma Foundation in care of the funeral home. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guest book at fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.