Carolyn Kresen
Carolyn Kresen

Final Resting Place

Boalsburg Cemetery
Old Boalsburg Road P.O. Box 443
Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, United States

Obituary of Carolyn A. Kresen

Carolyn Ann Kresen, 83, of State College, died Friday, November 6, 2020, at Juniper Village at Brookline, surrounded by her children.

Born December 30, 1936, in Lewistown, she was the daughter of the late Wallace and Ruth E. (Ream) Stafford. On June 16, 1956 she married Donald George Kresen, who preceded her in death on May 27, 2006.

She was raised in Lewistown but had a love of travel that suited her well over a lifespan that included 30 home addresses. In addition to establishing family residences from Walla Walla, WA to Somers Point, NJ, she enjoyed traveling to visit with family. She was loyal and has sustained close relations with cousins over the span of 80 years. She was intrepid; hooking up the snowplow to clear the mountain lane or even climbing hand-over-hand across a chain link fence to bridge a washed-out road to reach town during Hurricane Agnes. Despite arthritis that first developed in her teens, she helped build the family home in 1970, and enjoyed gardening, canning, and needlework projects.

She was preceded in death by her beloved sister Donna L. Coursen and survived by four children, Donald M. Kresen and his wife, Shari, of Wheeling, West Virginia; Ellen K. Sullivan of Vienna, Virginia; Mary Ann Kresen and her husband, Michael Barone, of State College; Cheryl L. Kresen of Norristown; and seven grandchildren: Jake Rachman, Kelly Kresen, Stephen Kresen, Allie Coughlin, Olivia Sullivan, Emily Sullivan, and Gabrielle Barone. She enjoyed hosting sleepovers for her grandchildren, growing flowers and getting manicures, as well as making soups, peanut brittle and homemade jam. Post retirement, she particularly enjoyed a cruise to Alaska with her daughter Cheryl, and appreciated her Amish neighbors and their community.

Carolyn was a 1954 graduate of Lewistown High School. She enjoyed attending class reunions and luncheons with "The Girls of '54" as long as she was able. Her volunteer activities began in her teens, when she served as a camp counselor and volunteered at the local YMCA, and extended throughout her life in church involvement; participation in the Sister Project research of breast cancer; and decades of contribution to the Box Project and affiliated support of a medical program in Jonestown MS.

She enjoyed knitting, particularly items for her grandchildren, playing pinochle, visiting the local library and reading inspirational fiction. She dealt with grueling, chronic illness —the consequence of failed surgery— for 22 years and consistently exceeding medical expectations.

Prior to her retirement as a secretary at Penn State University, she had been employed at Park Forest Junior High School, and worked as a bookkeeper and waitress in Lewistown. She and Donald owned and operated numerous businesses in the local community.

Carolyn was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church. She had been an active member of St. Marks Lutheran Church (Howard) and Grace Lutheran Church (State College).

Private funeral service will be at Koch Funeral Home, with the Reverend Ronald C. Miller, Jr. officiating and interment with her late husband in Boalsburg Cemetery.

Memorial contributions for Heifer International can be directed to TLC at 2221 N Oak Ln, State College, PA 16803, or to the State College Food Bank, 1321 S. Atherton St, State College, PA 16801.

Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at or visit us on Facebook.

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