Carol Shirley Bumgarner Triplett, 85, of Wilkesboro, passed away on Aug. 26, 2021, at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, following several years of illness. She was born in Wilkes County on Nov. 6, 1935, to John Sherman Bumgarner and Sarah Geneva Elledge Bumgarner.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her husband, Joseph Charles Triplett; her sister, Paulene Bumgarner Gambill Rash; and a nephew, David Gambill. She is survived by her daughter, Rebecca Triplett-Johnson, and family, of North Wilkesboro; brother-in-law, Ray Triplett and family of Dalton, Ga.; nephew, Sherman Gambill and family of Cary; cousin Joanne Fowler Kelley and family of Clemmons; and other extended family members.
As a child, she loved spending time at the grocery store her parents owned and operated in downtown North Wilkesboro, where she met and became friends with many Wilkes County residents of all ages. She would thrill in going with her father to help deliver groceries to their customers. During those early years at the store, she met who would later become her sweetheart and love of her life, her future husband, Joe. And she loved playing with her special cousins and dearest friends who remained close throughout her entire life.
She attended North Wilkesboro Elementary School and graduated from North Wilkesboro High School in Downtown North Wilkesboro, where she served on the Planning Committee helping to create and choose the Eagle mascot and the green and gold colors for the new Wilkes Central High School that opened the following year, when North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro high schools combined.
During and after high school she worked in Accounts Receivable at Piedmont Freight Lines and as a holiday associate at City Florist.
Following her marriage to Joe, they both embarked on their careers.
She graduated from Lees-McRae College where she earned her nursing degree and accepted an immediate position at Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Banner Elk as an operating room (OR) nurse, including scrub and circulating (CNOR).
Her husband’s naval career took them to California where they lived on the coast in both historic San Pedro and Long Beach. During this time, she continued to practice nursing in the Los Angeles area. She worked at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif., as a floor nurse with specialty in recovery, also including maternity, pediatric and geriatric patients; Belmont Heights Convalescent Center in Long Beach as a geriatric floor nurse; and Foxx Nursing Center as a geriatric floor nurse.
The tragic and sudden death of her husband while on active duty in the Navy led her to move back to North Carolina in preparation for the birth of their only child. Upon the arrival of their daughter, she stepped aside from facility nursing and worked in Private Duty providing personal nursing care to patients in various settings.
After her daughter entered school, she wanted to pursue additional education goals and returned to college, earning a degree in Early Childhood and Development Education, leading her to work in the Wilkes County School System, and later earning a degree in Social Work and Human Services, with a specialty in geriatric care, working for and retiring from Wilkes County Department of Social Services.
She was a member of Millers Creek United Methodist Church, where she was a member of the United Methodist Women (UMW), and a member of the Helping Hands Committee.
She was a member of the Wilkes Extension Home Makers Club; a member of the Wilkes Genealogy Society; active in PTA; chaperone and Class Parent for many school events and field trips; learned American sign language as a second language; was an avid collector of both historic and contemporary cook books; enjoyed classic movies; was a lover of the arts and of nature with a heartfelt passion for music, birds and trees.
Throughout her life she was a protector of animals and took great care in tending to and rescuing any that were injured, lost or abandoned, of which she adopted many. Family was very important to her and she enjoyed calls and visits with relatives in Wilkes, throughout North Carolina and in other states. She looked forward to annual family reunions and Sunday family dinners. Family history was also paramount as she sought to preserve the land and the events passed down through the generations. She worked tirelessly to check in on relatives of senior age and would later become care giver to many as their health needs required.
Each leg of her career allowed her to utilize much of her nursing education, her health leadership skills and her desire to bring one-on-one compassion to those of every age and need. Before the development of First Responders and EMTs, she routinely stopped to lend aid to victims of accidents or illness and never left a patient until further aid arrived.
Being widowed at a young age and finding herself a single parent, she worked tirelessly to provide a safe and loving home for her daughter, surrounding her with positive role models and encouraging her to enjoy education and to embrace her talents and goals. She lived a life of integrity and loyalty and her service to others was unending. She was gracious in her appreciation for the gifts that life brought. She treasured her special family members and dear friends whom she never forgot and was touched by the visits, calls, cards and messages she received throughout her illness. She often spoke of former patients and clients, hoping that health had blessed them. She remembered the children she worked with in classrooms and hoped they’d found success and happiness in their lives. She kept them all in her prayers as she devoted herself to the welfare of others, by her nature and by her Nightingale Pledge of Nursing. She was special to many in her lifetime and she cherished those who were special to her.
On behalf of her and her family, gratitude is extended to her doctors, medical staff and attendants.
Due to severe dangers of the COVID Pandemic, a private burial will be held. A public Memorial Service will be held on a future date to be announced. The family wishes to thank everyone for their kindness and understanding during these difficult times and request no food or flowers. Condolences may be made on the Miller Funeral Service website.