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Carolyn Kelley Mickey, 1936–2023

Thursday, June 1, 2023
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Carolyn Kelley Mickey was born April 11, 1936, in Lubbock, Texas. She was ushered into heaven on April 29, 2023 with her family surrounding her after fighting Lewy Body Dementia for five years. She was the oldest daughter of four children of Oscar Lytle and Marie Oliver Kelley of Spur, Texas, in Dickens County. Her father was a well-known Spur businessman and civic leader and also the principal of Kelley Ward Elementary School, and then later school Superintendent of Dickens County. Her mother was a schoolteacher in Spur and McAdoo. Carolyn graduated as valedictorian in the class of 1954. Spur was always where Carolyn called home, and she continued to attend homecomings up to 2021.

Upon graduating from Spur High School, she enrolled in 1954 as a speech major at Abilene Christian College (now University), where both her parents had graduated. Her sophomore year she met her husband of 65 years, David Ross Mickey from Vernon, Texas, who was studying to become a minister. She was elected Junior Class Favorite in 1956. In 1957 she was elected state president of the future Teachers of Texas and traveled the state as their representative. She also traveled to Washington, D.C., in this role to attend the National Educators convention. She was elected Honor Girl her senior year for her leadership and high GPA. She and David married in 1957 in Spur, Texas.

In June of 1961, thirteen couples and their children set sail for Sao Paulo, Brazil with a dream to make the saving power of Jesus Christ known to the wonderful people of Brazil. David and Carolyn were one of those couples. They served as missionaries from 1961 to 1968. David and Carolyn loved their time in Brazil and the Brazilian people. Both went back on mission trips over the years and stayed in touch with their missionary team family for over 62 years. They would meet once a year for an annual reunion. While living in Brazil, back in 1965 Carolyn had the idea that Brazilian women needed a woman’s magazine in Portuguese, like the American women had in the States called “Christian Woman.” So, she met with the editor of “Christian Woman” and asked if they could use the name and translate it into Portuguese and create their own issues in São Paulo. “Christian Woman” gave them permission – thus “Mulher Cristã” was established. Carolyn spent many an hour writing articles, meeting with editors, working with translators, to get this bi-monthly publication into print.

She and David served churches in Fort Worth, Texas; El Paso, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; Lovington, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; and Tempe, Arizona. Carolyn was one of the first paid “women” children’s ministers of Churches of Christ on staff in the 1970s in Lovington, N.M.

Carolyn taught Drama & English in several middle schools over 25 years. (Lincoln Middle School was one of these). Her room was always decorated with Mickey Mouse, and she was known as the teacher who would sing “Happy Birthday” to you in Portuguese.

Carolyn was known as an incredible host, party planner, season decorator and loved to have people in her home. She was an amazing cook and loved to entertain. Over the years she hosted showers, school parties and youth-group gatherings. She loved cooking, teaching children’s Bible classes and taking care of her family. She loved the outdoors and hiking and camping with her husband especially. She was the woman at church who would find a visitor attending for the first time and invite them over for Sunday roast. She believed in practicing what you preached. She was always inclusive and encouraging and lived a very fulfilling life serving others. Her husband and her children were her pride and joy and later her seven grandchildren. Her faith was her life’s compass, and she lived by that deep abiding love for Jesus until her last breath.

Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents, her daughter Camille Rhoads and son-in-law Bill Rhoads. She is survived by three daughters: Cathy Ballew (Trent) of Poetry, Texas; Cindy Schoonmaker (Brad) of Abilene and Michelle Mickey of Abilene. Grandchildren include Danae Kauffman (Zach) Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston (Hannah) Schoonmaker, Abilene, Texas; Brennan Ballew, Austin, Texas; Travis Schoonmaker, Clovis, New Mexico; Jackson Schoonmaker, Abilene, Texas; Brady Ballew, McKinney, Texas; and Austin Schoonmaker, Abilene, Texas. She is also survived by one sister, Kathleen Kelley Schubert, Plano, Texas; and brothers Phil (Kay) Kelley, Boerne, Texas and Chris (Allison) Kelley, Houston, Texas; brother in-law Charles (Kay) Mickey, Houston, Texas; and sisters in-law Elaine Prothro, Abilene, Texas, and Doris (Pat) Graham, Stone Mountain, Georgia; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Memorials in honor of Carolyn Mickey can be made to the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Endowment set up in honor of the 1961 Brazil Missionary Team by their children, through Great Cities Missions. Mail checks in Carolyn’s honor to Great Cities Missions, 3939 Belt Line Road, Suite 705, Addison, TX 75001 or go online to give @ https://greatcities. org/sao-paulo-endowment/, or Hendrick Hospice Care, 1651 Pine Street, Abilene, Texas 79601, or to your favorite charity.

Carolyn’s children would like to say a special thank you to their father, David Mickey, for his loving, devoted care of their mother for the past five years. And a special thanks to all her doctors who provided such wonderful care. We would also like to thank all staff of Hendrick Hospice Care for their remarkable support of our family.

Visitation was held on May 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Piersall Funeral Directors, 733 Butternut, Abilene, TX 79602. The “Celebration of Life” service to honor Carolyn was held May 6 at 2 p.m. at Highland Church of Christ Auditorium, 425 Highland Ave, Abilene, TX 79605. A private burial was planned.