Carol Mehlhoff, 81, passed away Sunday, August 8, 2021 at her home in Concord, North Carolina after a prolonged battle with COPD.
She leaves her children Michele Becher, Vickie Brandt, and Werner Brandt, her grandsons David and Eric Becher, her sisters Donna, Lucille, and Judi, many nieces and nephews, good friends, and neighbors.
She is preceded in death by her parents William Keller and Clara Heihn, and her sisters and brother Lorraine, Doris, Phyllis, Arlane, Marilyn, Ramona, Bette, and Robert.
Carol was born in Beulah, North Dakota, to a family of 12 children. She spent her formative years in Bismarck where she went to K-12 and graduated from Bismarck High School. Always quick to laugh and adapt to any situation, she married Dean Brandt. Their first child Michele was born in 1961. They moved for a short time to Alaska, where she survived the Great Earthquake of 1964 (the second strongest earthquake in recorded history) while working as a dental assistant. After coming back to Bismarck, she had two more children Vickie, then Werner.
As a girl she played volleyball in school. She did not go to college but was an astute student of the world, keeping up with current affairs. When her kids were young, she was a home room Mother as well as a Girl Scout Brownie leader. She also enjoyed making beautiful needlepoint as well as painting. Carol liked to get out an experience the world by visiting her daughter in Ontario, Canada, her son in California, and accompanying her oldest daughter in North Carolina on work-related trips. Throughout her life she showed a love for the outdoors while exploring Canada, Alaska, North Dakota, Montana, Florida, North Carolina on family vacations.
In mid 1980s she went back to school to be recertified as a dental assistant in Grand Forks, before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1998 to live near her oldest daughter. There she worked for Harris Teeter and Winn-Dixie before retiring. She often described her time in Charlotte as some of the best years of her life, spending time with family and developing a set of caring friends and neighbors.
Some of her recent favorite pastimes were watching TV, reading, playing cards, playing online and casino slots, puzzles, and eating chocolate. She loved getting together with the family on special occasions and creating one of her signature dishes for holiday meals. She also kept in close touch with her sisters and her good friend Bunny.
Family was always the focus of her life, especially her children and her sisters. Early in life, when she was not working, she enjoyed the chaotic life that growing up in a large extended family will bring, as well as feeling the responsibility to be there for her Mother and her sisters. Life was not easy, and she had to work hard to make her way in the world. Despite her struggles, she maintained a positive perspective and continued to look at the world through a lens of compassion and empathy for those that who needed help or were down on their luck. She did not hold grudges or resent the success of others, but always followed a “live and let live” philosophy. She was a person who could find satisfaction in the simple pleasures of life and through her interactions with people. She always tried to see the world from the other person’s perspective. Anyone who knew her either liked or loved her.
By far her biggest achievement, as she said often, was raising her three children. Even though life, and especially the trials of her children, would frequently give her anxiety, she tried to enable people to be their best selves. She would routinely say “I hope you know what you are doing”, while turning away to worry in private. With all the challenges on both sides of the family, she managed to create an environment where you felt loved and cared for. Both her grandchildren feel very lucky to have had her so involved from a young age in their lives, and she very much loved and respected them unconditionally. She will be missed very much for her sense of humor, kindness, compassion, and love. Please join us in celebrating a beautiful life.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the COPD Foundation in her name at: https://www.copdfoundation.org/
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