Carol Klingbeil Lamm

Lamm—Carol Klingbeil Lamm, 70, on October 27, 2020, of cancer, at home in Berea, Ky. Her husband of 49 years, Tim, was by her side. Carol was born on July 25, 1950, to Reverend Kurt and Lois Klingbeil in East Orange, N.J. Kurt’s work brought the family to Gloversville, N.Y., and, in 1962, to Poughkeepsie. The family shared a love for music, travel, and storytelling, hosting many exchange students and international friends. Generations of Klingbeils learned important lessons at the family’s lake house in the Adirondacks: nothing should be wasted; there is always enough to share; and everybody has a job to do.

Carol was a leader from earliest childhood, with an aptitude for drawing out the best in others. She excelled as a student. After graduating as salutatorian from Poughkeepsie High School in 1968, Carol attended a six-year doctoral program at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. While studying English literature there, she met Tim Lamm, a math student from Tennessee who, like Carol, was the child of a Baptist preacher. The two began attending Ithaca Meeting and found that Friends’ worship appealed to them.

Tim and Carol married in 1971 in Poughkeepsie, with both fathers officiating. In 1976, after earning her master’s degree, the couple moved from Ithaca to Berea, Ky. She and Tim found part-time work, allowing them time at home with their children: Ben, born in 1977, and Rouwenna, born in 1985. They lived a happy, simple life.

For more than 38 years, Carol worked to develop and sustain community programs in Kentucky. She had an ability to cultivate others’ talents, motivate them to action, and equip them as leaders. From 1978 to 1988, she worked for the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), researching diverse local economic and environmental challenges and proposing solutions. In 1988 she piloted a new program with Berea College, the Brushy Fork Institute, which specialized in developing leadership skills for students and entrepreneurs throughout central Appalachia. She became its first director in 1990. In 1994, she rejoined MACED as director of program development, focusing on small business financing, government accountability, education reform, and sustainable development. In 2003, she earned her CPA license. Until retiring in 2016, she led MACED (now the Mountain Association) in operations, finance, and program innovation.

Carol volunteered for several years with the Kentucky Conservation Committee, the Kentucky Association of School Councils (serving as president in 1995–96), and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. In 1997–98, she participated in the Saguaro Seminar, a program supporting leaders in civic engagement—including a young community organizer named Barry Obama. Work with local Friends was a central part of Carol’s life. She was an active member of Berea Meeting (serving as clerk, recording clerk, and treasurer) and Southern Appalachia Yearly Meeting and Association (SAYMA), serving as treasurer in 2018–20.

Carol’s compassionate leadership was grounded in uncanny wisdom and clarity. She shared her gifts generously, influencing countless lives. Friends remarked on her ability to listen fully, speak truthfully, judge wisely, and lead fearlessly. She was pragmatic, resolved, patient, calm, and kind. Carol was intentional about everything she did, planning carefully but realistically, then waiting to be led by the Spirit. She delighted in simple things: good conversation, excellent books, hot tea, a tidy kitchen, a neat hand-stitched seam. She was an anchor and a harbor for many. Carol faced her death just as she faced her life: with honesty, courage, and grace.

Carol is survived by her husband, Tim Lamm; two children, Benjamin Lamm (Jennifer McFadden) and Rouwenna Lamm Altemose (Craig); three grandchildren; and two sisters, Beth Bucker (Rick) and Barbara Lahut (Tom).

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