Remembering Carolyn Kendall

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Marilynn Kulieke

By Marilynn Kulieke, vice president, Urantia Foundation, Illinois, United States

Carolyn Kendall
Carolyn Kendall

I met Carolyn Kendall almost 40 years ago at my very first Urantia Book study session at 533 Diversey in Chicago. She walked over and greeted me and my soon-to-be husband, David, whom she had known since he was a child. Remembering back to this encounter, I would never have guessed that this confident and self-assured woman would become a mentor, teacher, and most importantly, my lifelong friend.

Carolyn was one of the most remarkable women that I have ever known. She began her involvement at 533 in 1951 as a receptionist to Dr. William Sadler, who had left his surgical practice to heal the more pressing problems of the mind. As a member of the Forum, and later the First and Orvonton Urantia Societies, Carolyn was known as an ardent student of the Urantia Papers. For over 50 years, she led a life of extraordinary service to both Urantia Brotherhood and Urantia Foundation, many of those years working alongside her husband Tom. And all the while she raised their five children, Scott, Jeff, Neal, Bryn, and Laura, in a nearby suburb of Chicago. Only a 20-mile drive to 533!

1967: Marion Barby, Carolyn Kendall, Frank Sgaraglino
1967: Marion Barby,
Carolyn Kendall, Frank Sgaraglino

Carolyn dedicated her life to the Urantia Revelation. She served on the General Council of Urantia Brotherhood for almost 18 years during the ’60s and ’70s. Her dear friend and fellow historian Gard Jameson appreciated her consistent advocacy of deep study into The Urantia Book and her support for interfaith activities. With her husband, Tom, a trustee and former president of Urantia Foundation, she traveled to Europe where she met some of the first Urantia Book readers outside the United States. Georges Michelson-Dupont described their visits to Paris with his family as occasions with memorable dinners amidst laughter, good wine, and jokes. Carolyn’s collection of photos witnessed the many events that she captured of her old and new friends around the world.

As international activities and responsibilities surrounding the revelation expanded, the trustees of Urantia Foundation made the historic decision to expand their wisdom pool by inviting several individuals to serve as associate trustees. Carolyn was one the first three associates to join the board in 2003, along with Nancy Shaffer and Kathleen Swadling. Her historic perspective, wise counsel, and years of experience made a significant contribution at board meetings and helped further the dissemination of the revelation into the world.

Few people I’ve met have shown a better understanding of The Urantia Book than Carolyn. In the many study groups we attended together I marveled at her ability to find a cross reference or answer a question that someone raised. She oftentimes presented at conferences and First Society study groups. She could speak about some of the more difficult concepts in the book, yet she could spend hours talking with a new reader who had questions. Her last two caregivers, Jackie and Carol, both had such high respect for Carolyn that they began coming to study groups with her!

Perhaps Carolyn’s greatest legacy to future generations is her observations of the early history of the Urantia Papers. She was not a newcomer to the early years of the Urantia Papers as her father Clarence Bowman was a member of the Forum during the early 1920s. It was after she became the receptionist for Dr. Sadler’s medical practice in 1951 that she began asking questions, taking notes, and often asking others to corroborate her findings. She searched for historical documentation that helped her weave together a story about how a revelation came to our planet.

I had the opportunity to be with Carolyn on the Saturday that she passed. Her daughter Laura asked that I come on Friday night to be with her, which I did, but her fatigue was great. On Saturday Laura asked that I return, which I did. I will never forget Carolyn’s beautiful blue eyes looking straight at me. With her daughter Bryn and her beloved caretaker Carol looking on, I spoke words adapted from a speech that her friend Emma “Christy” Christensen gave a long time ago.

You were called to the great work of taking the first step of offering to mortal man a new light, a new revelation of the love of God. The easy jog-trot religion of former days no longer suffices to meet the challenges of today. Following Jesus’ way of life calls for an act of complete commitment, a dedicated intention, a resolute purpose, and a trumpet call to a life that will not compromise.

God has provided the vision and the call. And throughout your life you have answered this call.

You have met this challenge by cultivating the power to envision your share in bettering the world and by fulfilling the vision that God has given you, using your many talents as a willing partner in service of the Urantia Revelation.

You have lived your life as a soldier of the circles, wholeheartedly enlisted in the solid ranks of those mortals who have gone forth in the battle for truth against error under the unfaltering leadership of the mighty seraphim of progress. And as your service on Urantia ends, you are being called to a new and higher form of service. We will miss you on Urantia, but they wait for you on high.

It was later that day that Carolyn passed, with her family at her side. I have no idea if Christy’s words may have eased her passing. But I am certain that upon her arrival she will be greeted as a "soldier of the circles" hailing from the planet of the Cross.

1968: Jacques Dupont, Martin Myers, Carolyn Kendall, Tom Kendall, Alain Le Corvec, Emma “Christy” Christensen
1968: Jacques Dupont, Martin Myers, Carolyn Kendall, Tom Kendall, Alain Le Corvec, Emma “Christy” Christensen
Carolyn Kendall, Nancy Grimsley, Gloriann Harris
Carolyn Kendall, Nancy Grimsley, Gloriann Harris

Foundation Info

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
© Urantia Foundation. All rights reserved