Longtime Sacramento area resident, Caroline Lois Stewart, 95, passed away peacefully at her home in Roseville, California, on April 28, 2022, due to causes incident to her age.
Caroline was born September 2, 1926, in La Valle, Wisconsin, to Tonnie Jay Collins and Myrtle Viola Hack. After residing in Fargo, North Dakota for several years, the family relocated to California in 1933, eventually settling in the Rio Linda area, where Caroline graduated from Grant Union High School in 1944. She was an outstanding student and excelled in secretarial skills, which led to several jobs as a stenographer and secretary. While serving as secretary to the president of the new Grant Technical College (later to become American River College), she met a young professor named Owen Stanley Stewart. After dating for 18 months, Caroline and Owen married in Sacramento, California on March 20, 1948. Their marriage was sealed on November 22, 1948, in the Salt Lake City Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Over the next 12 years, Owen and Caroline became the parents of 5 sons, as boy after boy was born into the family. They settled in Carmichael, California, and Caroline set aside her academic and career goals to devote herself to being a full-time mom, avidly encouraging and supporting her sons in their school, athletic, social, and spiritual pursuits. Eventually, all 5 boys attained doctoral-level degrees and embarked on successful careers. As the younger boys began to progress in school, Caroline went back to outside employment, first as a part-time or temporary secretary, and eventually as a full-time legal secretary. Having launched her sons into the world and realizing that she was just as smart as the lawyers she worked with, Caroline decided to go to law school herself. She graduated from McGeorge School of Law a few years later and passed the difficult California bar exam in 1986. She engaged in a successful law practice for more than 20 years, including representing many pro bono clients.
Caroline was raised a Baptist and converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1947. She was a faithful member of the Church and rendered many hours of devoted service as a youth and young adult leader, seminary teacher, Relief Society president, missionary with Owen in Sydney, Australia, temple ordinance worker, and ministering sister. She touched many people’s lives for good.
After Owen passed away in 2001, Caroline had several lonely years before she met and married Elias Zeniff “Peter” Martinez in 2006. They enjoyed dancing and traveling together until Peter passed away in 2016, leaving Caroline a widow for the second time.
Caroline was loved and admired for her kindness and willingness to help others in need, her optimistic and cheerful nature, her intelligence and forthrightness, and her loyalty as a friend. She had many talents, including playing tennis, baking “train cakes” for her boys, performing in a tapdancing troupe, winning at Scrabble and numerous card games, and making 3,000-piece jigsaw puzzles. She traveled throughout the world, including trips to Germany and other European countries, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Scandinavia, Russia, England, China, Tibet, and Africa.
Caroline was predeceased by her parents; her two sisters, Dorotha and Leta; and her daughter-in-law Margrit Engelhardt Stewart. She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law: Stephen (Karen Kirkland) of Roseville, California; Kenneth (Deborah) of Kimberly, Idaho; Randall (Becky Bailey) of Salt Lake City, Utah; Mark (Anita) of Roseville, California (currently serving a Church mission in London, England); and Craig (Emily) of Walnut Creek, California; 23 grandchildren; and 46 great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on May 6, 2022, at the Garfield Ward building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4252 Garfield Avenue, Carmichael, CA 95608, preceded by a viewing at 9:00 am. A brief graveside service and the interment will follow at Fair Oaks Cemetery, 7780 Olive Street, Fair Oaks, CA 95628. PRICE FUNERAL CHAPEL (916-725-2109), directors.
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