Carolyn Grimmer Lindley took on many roles in her lifetime: church volunteer, political fundraiser, seamstress, baker.
But her most cherished role was that of mother.
“She was an amazing woman,” said her daughter Carolyn L. Mueller of Beavercreek, Ohio, one of Lindley’s three children. “She went to every game, every concert. She encouraged us in everything we did.”
Lindley died of pneumonia April 21 at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola. She was 95.
Lindley was born Carolyn Grimmer in 1921 in Bayside, Queens. After her family lost their Flushing home during the Depression, they moved to East Meadow. When she graduated from Hempstead High School in 1940, she became the first person in her family to receive a high school diploma. In 1941, she married Ralph R. Lindley, and after he finished serving in the Army during World War II, they settled in East Meadow. They were married for 58 years, until his death in 2000.
Lindley was a busy stay-at-home mother for her children, yet was also a dedicated volunteer in her community. A charter member of Christ the King Episcopal Church, for 63 years she was an active participant in church life, serving as recording secretary for the executive committee. An accomplished seamstress and quilter, Lindley even made the altar cloths and vestry garments for the clergy, Mueller said.
In 2013, she received the Bishops Medal from the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island for her lifetime commitment to the church and its mission, Mueller said.
Lindley gave 50 years of service to the East Meadow chapter of the American Legion Auxiliary, serving as president multiple times and also worked to raise money for the East Meadow Community Bicentennial statue at the East Meadow Public Library.
A lifelong supporter of the Republican Party, Lindley was a longtime member of the East Meadow Republican Club and the Nassau County Federation of Republican Women, often holding leadership positions.
“Anything she could do for any group, any organization, she would take charge,” Mueller said.
In 2013, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano awarded Lindley a citation of commendation for her 50 years of service to county residents.
Known in her community for her baking skills, Lindley would sell cakes baked in the shape of a tree for Christmas or a turkey for Thanksgiving. She gave classes in ceramics, quilting and sewing in her basement.
After her father retired, Mueller said, the couple set out to complete a lifelong goal: visit all 50 states. And that’s exactly what they did. “She told me, you have to enjoy every stage, every chapter,” Mueller said. “And she did. She always had a positive outlook on life.”
Lindley loved her community and she loved her country, Mueller said. Even last Memorial Day, Lindley, frail and slow-moving, rose from her chair beside the Memorial Day parade as soon as she spotted the American flag, placing her hand proudly over her heart in salute.
“She was a real patriot,” her daughter said, and “a true representative of that generation.”
A child of the Depression, Lindley was self-reliant and frugal. She made all her clothes and no scrap of paper or speck of food was ever wasted, Mueller said. “She was an environmentalist before anyone had ever heard that term.”
In addition to her daughter Carolyn, Lindley is survived by son, Ralph A. Lindley of Bedford, Virginia; daughter, Nancy Carey of West Islip; brother, Peter Grimmer of Jamestown, North Carolina; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
A service was held for Lindley at the Leo F. Kearns Funeral Home in East Meadow. Burial was in Flushing Cemetery.