CAROLYN MARKS –
A Woman On a Mission
By Valerie White
The Union Congregational Church, Rawson Road, Wollaston, was founded in 1895.
Carolyn Marks, Trustees Building Manager, leads and instructs a small staff of three in maintaining the 124 year old structure. Two are neighborhood women, Karen McDonald and Jean Weiss, who had little experience in handling drills, painting, caulking, sanding, ceiling tile repair, stripping floors, and other ongoing projects. Mark Goodwin, who is the church Sexton, completes the team. Another member who occasionally visits the Church is named Noah, Carolyn’s much-adored Sheltie.
A member of the crew may be found perched on the top of a board which is balanced across the backs of two chairs, teetering over a flight of stairs, reaching into the air with a broom handle, trying to pop ceiling tiles back into place.
Jean and Karen describe Carolyn as “awesome.” They are learning from her and she is very proud of them as they acquire new skills.
Carolyn admits to not being familiar with the repair or maintenance of a boiler when she assumed the title of Building Manager at the Church. Experience is a great teacher when there is no one else to do the job; she learned the language and techniques necessary- heat exchanger, flue, ducts, nipples, ignition devices, pressure valves, and gauges. In the cold months, she hastens into the basement after the end of the monthly Spaghetti Dinner, which is held the second Saturday of each month, to adjust the temperature of the boiler for the evening.
Another recent project spearheaded by Carolyn consisted of clearing the front lawn of weeds and stones. Carolyn demonstrated to her crew how to handle a power driven rototiller by pushing it around the church yard. The plan now is to design a small garden patch, perhaps planted and maintained by the children who attend day care at Union Congregational.
She describes her dedicated service to Union Congregational Church as an expression of her deep faith. She firmly believes “things just get better in my life” because of her hands-on contributions.
Carolyn’s father willed her his collection of tools due to her interest and skill in woodworking. Using these, she has crafted collections of wooden tools as gifts for her numerous nieces and nephews. She also designs and constructs imaginative pieces of lovely furniture.
In addition to handywoman skills and carpentry, she also paints in acrylics, embroiders, and pursues other creative pastimes, all focused on the cooperation of hands and brain.
The Church keeps Carolyn busy, but not so busy that she doesn’t engage in other notable activities, including, but not limited to:
If asked what drives her, Carolyn states with a laugh, “It’s not always easy being a Leo.”
Carolyn will celebrate her 86th birthday in August, making her achievements even more remarkable.