Born: July 14, 1947
Died: February 21, 2013
Carol Luella Ritz Slettvet, beloved wife, mother and grandmother passed away on Thursday February 21, 2013 at the age of 65. She was born July 14, 1947 in Spokane, Washington to her loving parents-Gaylon and Lois Ritz. She lived in Bonner’s Ferry Idaho until age 3 and then moved to Elkhart, Indiana where her brother Norm Ritz was born. She loved playing the French horn in her teenage years and was first chair in the Elkhart High School band. She deeply enjoyed music and performing, and graduated in June of 1965. As a beautiful young woman she dabbled in modeling and then enrolled in Flight Attendant school in Chicago, Illinois. She met her cherished husband Tom Slettvet in South Bend, Indiana and was married on the campus of the University of Notre Dame on July 13, 1968 in the old Log Cabin Chapel, the oldest building on campus. Soon thereafter she gave birth to her treasured son, Todd, who was followed two years later by her beautiful daughter Shannon.
Carol was the “unsung hero” of her family, supporting her daughter during years of English, hunter-jumper equestrian activities, as well as her son as a stand out student-athlete. As a dedicated homemaker, mother and wife who loved her family above all else, she supported her husband’s career that took her and her family across the country from Indiana to Washington, to Arkansas and South Carolina, and finally back to Washington State where she remained for the rest of her life. She loved the beautiful lakes, wildlife and mountains of Washington. She also loved to travel, and enjoyed many trips along the East and West Coast, and many spots in between. Her favorite trip was a family trip to Disney World, and she especially enjoyed whale watching in the San Juan Islands.
Carol was a strong animal rights activist and a member of many animal rescue organizations including the National Humane Society, EARS, SPIA, ROAR and ASPCA. Carol volunteered her time selflessly to these efforts, and made multiple generous donations to benefit lost and abused animals. She loved animals with a passion, and was responsible for rescuing over 115 dogs, 50 cats, and several starving horses. She found loving homes for all of them, including adopting many of them herself. Her passion for animals was most evident when she rescued several puppies that were dying of parvo. She spent painstaking months slowly nursing them back to health. Animal rescue was a passion of her life.
Carol loved nature, and was especially fond of her cedar log home in Eatonville with a view of Mt. Rainier. She took tremendous joy from watching roaming herds of wild Elk in her back yard, including deer, coyotes, birds and many more of nature's beautiful creatures. Always feeling an affinity to nature, she especially enjoyed collecting Native American art. She loved her own pets especially, and treated them like children. The favorite pet of her life was a little Sheltie named Markie who loved to sit in her lap for hours, fetch frisbee and go running.
Carol also had many enjoyable hobbies, including painting and cooking. She was an excellent cook who took pride in her recipes and feeding her family well. She loved to read, and she enjoyed philosophical discussions. She would stay up for hours with her son when he was a teenager and discuss all of life's mysteries-something she always enjoyed. She was also a small business owner and enjoyed buying and selling jewelry and other nick knacks. She took the greatest joy, however, from supporting her children’s, and her grandchildren’s activities. Whenever a mom or grandmother was needed, Carol was there to do whatever it took to support her family, showering them with unconditional love. Her family was the center of her life, and she was her family’s cheerleader and matriarch.
Carol loved her grandchildren-Emily Randolph, Amanda Banford, Hailey Banford and Ashley Hornsby. She was the creative inspiration to Emily Randolph, an amazing young singer with star potential. Carol coached and worked with Emily from age 3 to 15 to become an especially amazing singer, helping her practice, pick songs, and buying her musical instruments and outfits. She was the architect behind the scenes, offering Emily encouragement and advice, and paying for voice and music lessons. Carol loved all of her grandchildren immensely and supported them in all of their activities including sports and dance lessons. She was also especially fond of her beautiful granddaughter Amanda who shared her affinity to nature. She never missed her children's or grandchildren's special events, and took tremendous joy watching them grow up.
For the last 13 years of her life, Carol fought valiantly against two debilitating illnesses: scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s internal organs and joints; and cardio pulmonary hypertension-a disease that ultimately leads to heart failure. As these diseases slowly attacked her body over the years, Carol never gave up and kept fighting. She persevered, and found solace in spending time with her family and watching her beautiful grandchildren grow up. She was a fighter, and faced all of life's challenges refusing to let the hard and difficult times bring her down. She always stayed positive and encouraged her family to do the same.
She is loved by her husband of 45 years, Tom Slettvet, and her entire family including her son, Todd and his wife Teresa; her daughter Shannon Banford and husband Larry; their children Emily, Amanda and Hailey, her mother, Lois Ritz; her brother Norman Ritz and wife Barbara; brother-in-laws, Steve Slettvet and Mike & Julie Slettvet, sister-in-laws Pat & Karl Fleming and Nancy & Bob Beagley, and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
Carol will be remembered with love, and she will be missed. She was the heart of her family, and a shining light on this earth. She will always hold a dear and special place in her family’s hearts. May her new journey in heaven be peaceful, and filled with love. May she walk forever in the glorious light of heaven, surrounded by the hundreds of beautiful loving animals she saved while on this earth. She will live on in our memories, never be forgotten, and honored by her family through the values she instilled in them.
Carol will be laid to rest in Sumner Cemetery, and funeral arrangements have been made with Curnow Funeral Home, Sumner, WA. A memorial service to honor her life will be held on Saturday March 23 at the Eagles Hall, 100 Weyerhaeuser Way, Eatonville, WA starting at 11:00am. Per Carol's final wishes, and in lieu of flowers, please send donations to Animal Care Center, P.O. Box 411, Eatonville, WA 98328.