Carol Elsbree Smith Vrieling went to be with her Lord and Savior on May 30, 2021.
Carol was born on Feb. 24, 1924, in Bellingham to Forrest and Alice Dickenson Elsbree.
The third of what would be nine children, Carol was raised in Washington, attended Acme Grade School and graduated from Mount Baker High School in 1942. She graduated from McDonald’s Beauty School in 1943.
Carol met and married her first love, Neil Smith, in November 1942. Soon after, Uncle Sam called Neil off to the Army Air Force from February 1943 to August 1945.
Their first son, Steve, was born seven months after Neil joined the service and Carol began to work at various jobs. When Neil returned home, he worked at the Bellingham Furniture Foundry until it closed in 1947. The Smiths then moved to Darrington where he worked in a sawmill. Soon daughter Sheila and son Mike joined the family. In 1949 sadness struck as Neil became ill with polio. From then on he was paralyzed and unable to walk. They moved back to Bellingham and Neil attended dental tech school. In February 1949 they welcomed son Mark.
In 1959 they moved to Lynden and Carol again worked various jobs. They were blessed with three more sons, Kim, Keith and Wade.
After Neil passed away in 1974, Carol continued to work at Milt’s Market in Lynden for the next 20 years.
In November 1982 she met and married George Vrieling and gained four stepchildren. George and Carol did traveling for the next 25 years. They traveled around all of the United States, to China, Africa, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
Carol moved to Orchard Park Assisted Living when George was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he moved into a care facility in 2012.
She is survived by sons Steve (Leah), Michael (Becky), Mark (Karen), Keith and Wade; stepchildren Chuck and Judy Vrieling, Ken and Judy Visser, Jerry and Vicky Visser; brothers Cliffton Elsbree, Don (Greta) Elsbree; and sisters Marilyn Colkitt, Patricia (Bill) Canaan, Mardalle (Dick) Morton.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands Neil Smith and George Vrieling; son Kim and daughter Sheila; and stepdaughter Connie Maberry; also sister Alice Brant, brother and sister-in-law Dick and Gail Elsbree, brother Lyle Elsbree, sister-in-law Jean Elsbree, and brother-in-law Dick Colkitt.
Carol leaves behind a very large extended family whom she loved dearly.
You are invited for visitation and viewing on Wednesday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to noon at Gillies Funeral Home, followed by a graveside committal at 2 p.m. in Greenacres Memorial Park, Ferndale, and a 3 p.m. memorial service at Gillies Funeral Home of Lynden.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation.