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Dorothy E. Carnahan

January 9, 2023
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Obituary

Dorothy Evelyn Carnahan, “Evie”, formerly of Hatboro, PA and Washington D.C., passed away peacefully on January 4, 2023. She was 96 years old.

Evie was a joy to be around with the most wonderful, infectious laugh. She loved life, her family, her cats, squirrels and birds, flowers, gardening, music and singing, traveling, day trips to historic places, nickel slots at the casino, bingo, the Phillies, crossword puzzles, and reading a good newspaper. As a talented and avid watercolor artist, she always saw beauty where others might not. 

Evie was born at Abington Hospital on July 26, 1926 and grew up in Oaks, PA along the railroad tracks on Brower Avenue, in a bungalow house that her father, John, built. Her father worked as a Claim Clerk for the Pennsylvania Railroad and would take Evie, her mother, Dorothy, and brothers Jack and Jim, and younger sister, Mary, on excursions on the train to Paoli. She and her siblings learned to ice skate on the frozen Perkiomen Creek. They didn’t have anything fancy, but had a huge garden with fresh veggies, and lots of laying chickens for eggs. She often said “we were poor, but we didn’t know it at the time.”

Evie attended the tiny 4 room schoolhouse, Oaks Grade School, and Memorial Junior High in Phoenixville until her family moved to Jenkintown PA in 1941, where she attended Jenkintown High School, graduating in 1944. At JHS, Evie was homeroom President and Secretary to her Senior Class. She was an honor student, member of the Oratorio Choir and Operetta Club. She also played Baseball, Field Hockey, Tennis, and Basketball. Amazingly, despite her short stature, she had an incredible jump shot! 

During WWII, Evie worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, typing lists of War Bonds purchased by railroad employees, and spent evenings going door to door selling War Bonds with friends from her neighborhood. She, along with her father, volunteered as Air Raid Wardens in Jenkintown, but Evie was honest in that she didn’t do very well at this and fell asleep on the job several times. She also worked at Abington Flower Shop to fill in for brother Jack while he was away in the Army during the war.

Post graduation, Evie attended Pierce School of Business Administration in Philadelphia  for the Special Secretarial Course. She worked as a typist, receptionist, and secretary at various companies as well as the National Broadcasting Company and at Temple University in exchange for tuition. While attending Temple, she sang in the Temple University Chorus in appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

One of her great hobbies was music. Evie loved to sing! She studied voice for many years and sang in numerous church choirs as well as the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia where she was on the Board of Directors, directed the High School Choir at All Hallows Church in Wyncote, PA and acted as Choir mother for the junior choir at the church.

In 1962, Evie moved to Washington D.C. where worked for the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of District of Columbia, and then shortly after, Evie moved on to work for The National Geographic Society, as Secretary to the Chairman of the Board and the Committee for Research and Exploration, where she would stay until her retirement in 1990.

She loved working at the Geographic Society, and was able to travel extensively while employed there. Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama Canal, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Germany, Paris, Holland, Italy, England, Nova Scotia, Spain, Belgium to name a few. She would tell family of the famous Primatologist, Jane Goodall, perching on the corner of Evie’s desk for a chat, and how wonderful it was to hear Anthropologist Louis Leakey and his wife, Paleontologist Mary Leakey, tell stories of their work at Olduvai Gorge, Nairobi, Kenya. She met presidents, first ladies, foreign dignitaries, scientists, and many other amazing people.

Evie immersed herself in the culture of Washington D.C., and enjoyed the many concerts, museums, operas, historical sites, and events happening around the city. She made numerous lifelong friends along the way.

Evie was honored to be accepted into the Cathedral Choir Society at The Washington National Cathedral in D.C., where she sang for 23 years as a soprano soloist. She was also proudly a tour guide at her beloved Cathedral. She was with the Cathedral Choir when they traveled to England to sing at the 900th Anniversary of Westminster Abbey in April, 1966, and spent several weeks touring the Cathedrals of England while there. She cherished her time at the National Cathedral, and often sang at multiple events there each day.

In July 1983, Evie traveled to Austria with the University of Maryland Chorus, and on her 57th birthday, they performed selections from Brahams and Mozart at the Salzburg Music Festival, made famous in the movie “The Sound of Music ''. These were some of the proudest moments of her life. She wrote to a friend of her trip to Salzburg, “Music has always, throughout my life, opened many doors and this is yet another.”

Washington D.C. was also the perfect place for her to refine her other hobby turned passion, watercolor painting. You could often find her sitting in one of her favorite spots to paint, the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral, with her easel and watercolors, putting the beauty she saw on paper. She shared originals of paintings from this spot with friends around the world. She enjoyed painting trips to the Eastern Shore with her watercolor teacher, and took classes whenever possible. Her favorite subject matter was flowers and nature.

In 1990, Evie retired from the National Geographic Society and shortly after, moved back to Hatboro with her Mother, and sister Mary. Their mother passed away in October of that year.

Both sisters, being extremely talented watercolor artists, joined and were active in the Bucks-Mont, Oreland, and Doylestown Art Leagues, displaying and selling their work at many local art shows and galleries. She was also the Secretary for the Bucks-Mont Art League, and enjoyed trips to Long Beach Island, Florida, Nova Scotia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and back to Washington D.C. often with the senior center and other groups.

Never one to sit idle, Evie, went to night school for Word Processing and worked at Burpee, Co., in Warminster, doing Data Entry as well as cataloging and filing the thousands of film negatives of the flowers and plants that were used for brochures. Evie loved bringing home plants, bulbs, and seeds to add new varieties to the garden at home, which gave her constant subject matter for her painting.

Evie was almost religious about feeding the birds, squirrels, and neighborhood cats. She actually had a time schedule for filling the feeders, putting out peanuts for the squirrels, and changing the bird baths. There is no doubt that the squirrels in their neighborhood were the chubbiest ones around! Evie would spend many hours enjoying the antics of the wildlife that their yard attracted. She and her sister adopted numerous stray cats that always seemed to know which yard to show up in for a meal, a warm bed, and a new home. They loved their critters, and their days revolved around which cat liked this particular chair or windowsill, and making sure they were spoiled beyond words. Evie thoroughly enjoyed telling stories of the cats and their antics to anyone who would listen.

In September, 2001, she went to Italy for several weeks with a group of her travel friends. Evie and her tour group were at Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy when the 9/11 attacks in New York occurred. About a week later, as her flight was arriving back home to Newark, N.J., they could still see the smoke rising from where the Towers had fallen. After arriving home, she found out that she had lost a dear friend from the Geographic Society who was on one of the planes that went down.

Evie and Mary were constant companions, rarely seen apart. They were quite the pair, traveling around in Evie’s little blue Honda she named ‘Abigail’. Folks around town called them ‘the sisters who paint.” They would often stop at homes of family and friends to drop off Evie’s beautiful tiny floral creations she arranged in baby food jars and called ‘posies.’They spent many days wandering the area and stopping at their favorite places such as Graeme Park, Thompson Neely House, Peddler’s Village, Skippack Village, and more, taking photographs. On these travels, Evie was known to sneak into yards and gardens where she wasn’t truly welcome to pick a few blooms to take home and paint.

The sisters remained together even when they moved to a nursing facility as roommates in 2020. Evie enjoyed the social activities like art and crafts classes, bingo and trivia and made many new friends. She read her newspaper daily, and did every word search and crossword she could get her hands on. Often when you would visit, Mary would say Evie was off at one activity or another.

Evie’s health began to fail in 2021, but she still attended activities as much as possible. She still loved her music, and had great fun singing along to Christmas Carols at the 2022 nursing home holiday party. 

Evie passed away peacefully, with her sister nearby, on Wednesday, January 4, 2023.

Evie had a long, amazing life, and will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. Thoughts of her bright smile, her laughing blue eyes, and crazy stories she told about her life will always bring fond memories and comfort. In Evie’s memory, please take a few minutes to put some seed out for the birds, and a few peanuts for the too skinny squirrels. She would absolutely love that!

Evie was preceded in death by her parents, John T., and Dorothy E. Carnahan, and her beloved brothers John A., and James T. Carnahan, as well as her nephew, Kip Carnahan.

She is survived by her sister and constant companion Mary L. Carnahan, nephew Jim Carnahan and his wife Sue, niece Barb Carnahan, grand nephew Jamie Carnahan and his wife Melissa, grand niece Melissa Ellis and her husband Jon, as well as her great grand nieces and nephews, Fiona, Laney, Henry, Liam, and Keaton, all of whom she adored. She is also survived by many loving cousins.

Visitation will be held Friday, January 13, from 11:00 am until 12:00 pm with services to follow at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 126 Black Rock Road, Oaks, Pa. www.stpaulsoaks.org

 

In lieu of flowers, please make Memorial Contributionsin Evie’s name to:

The Cathedral Choral Society at The Washington National Cathedral 3101 Wisconsin Avenue N.W. Washngton, D.C.  20016

www.cathedralchoralsociety.org

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dorothy E. Carnahan, please visit our floral store.


Services

Viewing
Friday
January 13, 2023

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
126 Black Rock Road
Oaks, PA 19465

Funeral Service
Friday
January 13, 2023

12:00 PM
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
126 Black Rock Road
Oaks, PA 19465

Committal
Friday
January 13, 2023

1:00 PM
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
126 Black Rock Road
Oaks, PA 19465

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In Loving Memory Of

Dorothy Carnahan

December 31, 1969-January 9, 2023




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In Loving Memory Of

Dorothy Carnahan

December 31, 1969-January 9, 2023




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Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   


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