Caroline Kopelke

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Mrs. Caroline (Simmonds) Kopelke, 66, Pensacola, Fla., passed away Friday, June 3, 2011. She was born Nov. 5, 1944, and raised in Walla Walla. She was a member of the Wa-Hi class of 1963. She sang a major role in the Wa-Hi production of "HMS Pinafore" and played violin in the Walla Walla Symphony. "Carrie" attended Seattle Pacific University for two years and transferred to University of Washington where she earned a bachelor's degree in nursing. Following that she earned her master's of nursing in human genetics and nursing education from University of Oregon Health Sciences at Portland. She was named one of the Outstanding Young Women of America for 1972. During a thirty year career, she served in the U.S. Air Force in the Defense Department Genetics Clinic at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Carrie was a professor of nursing for nine years in Honolulu, Hawaii, teaching at the University of Hawaii and Kapiolani Community College. She loved the water and while in Hawaii, she was certified as a water aerobics instructor.

She brought her passion for water exercise with her when she moved to Pensacola in 1994, and touched many lives, young and old as long as she was able. She and her husband, Lee, worshipped at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, where Carrie sang in the choir and served in many events with the Episcopal Women of the Church. Carrie will be sorely missed by those of us who knew and loved her, but her passion and warmth lives on in our hearts.

"Carrie" was preceded in death by her father and mother, Richard White Simmonds, Caroline Christine Ruoff; and aunt, Freda Ruoff. She is survived by her husband, Lee William Kopelke, of Pensacola; a cousin, Lisbeth Newton of Sarasota, Fla., and a niece, Leslie Smith of Kennewick.

Memorial services were held Thursday, June 9, 2011, at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church with Fr. Eric Long officiating. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army, 1501 N. "Q" St. Pensacola, Fla., 32505. You may express your condolences in her memorial guest book at pnj.com/obits. Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

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