By Barb Mazarakos
On August 15th of this year, our dear Carol Ledogar was called home to be with Jesus. Whether you knew her just by her smile or were lucky enough as so many of us are to count her and Pastor Walt as part of your extended family, there is no doubt that the world became a little less cheerful that day.
We know Carol as “Pastor’s wife”, often seen around church assisting older members as they moved through the fireside room or asking after a sick family member of a congregant. Many know her from her years of serving as a nurse in the area over the course of her 40 year career which saw her covering such challenging departments as the ER, pediatrics, and Day Surgery before retiring as House Supervisor from South Suburban Hospital. But only two know her as “Mom”- her sons, Mark and Paul.
Growing up as PK (Preacher’s kids) presents a very unique set of challenges, especially when you live in a parsonage just yards away from the front doors of the church your father serves. But Carol- “Mom”- did her best to give her boys the most stable upbringing she could. She always made sure that family time was preserved and kept as her priority. Even if she worked the midnight shift on Saturday, she made sure her boys were ready for church when she came home. And Sunday dinner- FAMILY dinner- was a staple each week after church services were over. She was a protective mom, even when sometimes personalities clashed (as younger son Paul admits happened more often with him than his older brother as a teenager). Paul follows up by adding, “She always had my back, though. Even when I was rebellious, and after there were consequences, she had my back.”
As a young nurse, Carol saw the need for blood in hospital settings early on. Not just in surgery, but in recovery settings as well, Carol saw a place where her gifts could be put to use and- fueled by her need to help- she was motivated to head up and stay involved in blood donor drives through Christ Lutheran Church for many years. It is in her memory that the +Carol Ledogar Memorial Blood Drive will take place this Sunday, October 2 from 8:30am-1pm, giving time for all worshippers to both donate and attend service. Our Stephen Ministers will be working with Heartland Blood, and walk-ins with a photo id will be welcomed.
We will all miss seeing Carol around the church, but surely no one will miss her as much as the family that she loved, protected, and guided for the 52 years she and Pastor Walt were married. Her son Paul reflects back on the time he really became close with his mom after his motorcycle accident in the late spring of 2006. He stayed with his parents for the first three months of his recovery, and while it may have been “Nurse” Carol who tended to his wounds and cared for him while he was healing, it was “Mom” who did it lovingly and sacrificially. After he went back to his home and back to work, he got use to her early morning calls (sometimes as early as 3:45am to make sure he was up for his early shift!) and often in the middle of the day to see how he was doing. Those calls are what he misses most.
We will remember Carol Ledogar this Saturday, October 1, at a Celebration of Life Memorial Service here at Christ Lutheran Church. Visitation and gathering of family and friends begins at 9am with a Worship Celebration and Memorial Service with Communion at 10:30. Fellowship will take place in the gym of Ledogar Hall after the service. When I asked Paul how he wants us to remember his mom, he responded that he would like us to think of her as a “caring and loving woman of faith who touched the lives of every family-everyone- she knew. Our lives are much richer for knowing her.” She certainly was an angel among us. I have no doubt that when she reached the Gates of Heaven, she was greeted with the words we all hope one day to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21). Well done indeed.