Carolyn Tinsley was born on Aug. 13, 1942, in Gonzales, Texas, to James Robert Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Lawley Tinsley. Her early years were spent surrounded by loving family, having the privilege of knowing all of her grandparents and two sets of great-grandparents and spending quality time at family gatherings on holidays and weekends.
Carolyn excelled in school and, after she had read every book that was of interest to her in the youth section of Gonzales Public Library, was allowed to read some of the volumes in the adult section if they were approved by the Librarian. At Gonzales High School, she played French Horn in the Apache Band and, in her senior year, was Valedictorian of her class and travelled to Austin to win the state UIL championship in Shorthand.
Carolyn spent her freshman year of college at Gulf Park, a school for young women in Gulfport, Mississippi, where she was the top student of her freshman class. She returned to Texas and enrolled at The University of Texas where she graduated in 1963 after two years, receiving a B.A. degree with honors and a Teaching Certificate. In September of that year, she married E. Everett Deschner and began a wonderfully happy fifty-eight-year marriage. Carolyn and Everett were blessed with two exceptional daughters, Elizabeth Ann and Katherine, who brought love, joy, laughter and pride to their household.
Carolyn showed a commitment to her marriage that would have made Biblical Ruth proud. She developed a relationship with her mother- and father-in-law of love, respect, and affection that was truly mutual. From the start, she immediately participated in family gatherings, helping plan the annual family reunions and expanding this into planning and implementing a similar gathering for the Lawley family as well. She became the favorite aunt of her many nieces and nephews.
During their marriage, job-related moves were frequently required, and Carolyn loved to travel. Taking advantage of having several different bases to start from, she planned seventy-odd self-directed trips to over forty different countries. As a result, she was able to ride a horse with gauchos in Argentina, a camel in the Egyptian Desert, sail in a Felucca on the Nile at Karnak, ride in a horse-drawn sleigh in the snow outside Moscow, mingle at a street fair with local residents of a remote village in southern China and assist the teacher of young children in a small local school in Indonesia. Some of her favorite memories were of trips when her mother, also an avid traveler, joined the immediate family traveling to many areas of Europe, the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii. Some of her most gratifying travel experiences were trips she and Everett took with each grandchild individually, to domestic locations during their middle school years and then internationally while in high school. The grandchild picked the location, Carolyn planned the trip and grandchild and grandparents had bonding experiences which are lasting their entire lifetimes.
At home, she was a constant volunteer, primarily at local libraries, thrift shops and churches, supporting whatever school the girls were attending, acting as MYF youth counselor, teaching ESL and GED classes, and continually supporting the girls’ academic activities. On retiring and moving to Canyon Lake, Carolyn devoted numerous hours in fundraising, helping document track sites, hosting visitors, talking with children and promoting the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country.
When faced with a challenge, Carolyn would tirelessly research to educate herself and tackle the situation, whether it be family travel, celebrations, or health crises. Perhaps the best example of her dedication, determination, strength and resolve was the research, the specialists’ appointments and the personal time and effort she dedicated to help her daughter Katherine battle the horrible burden of clinical depression. For the rest of her life, she kept a supply of books on depression and suicide to share with others facing similar challenges.
For recreation, in addition to many hours spent with travel books and brochures, Carolyn devoted evenings and the few otherwise-idle afternoons to intricate cross stitch projects, creating items for home décor and family gifts. Any remaining spare minutes were devoted to reading and she managed to complete an impressive list of fiction, medical reference and travel-related titles. The other two loves of her life were dancing and chocolate. Unfortunately, she did not get to participate in dancing as much as she would have liked, but she did indulge in her love of chocolate, obviously an inherited trait, unabashedly and often.
Carolyn Tinsley Deschner passed away on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021.
Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents, Jim Robert Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Tinsley, and daughter Katherine. She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Everett Deschner; daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth and Randy Nettles; brothers James Robert Tinsley III and wife Rita and John Tinsley and Robin; grandsons Doug Nettles and wife Matraca, and John Nettles and wife Emma; granddaughter Kate Nettles; great-grandsons Paxton and Eli Nettles; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express their immense gratitude to the Caregivers of ComeForCare and staff of Hope Hospice for making Carolyn’s last years as comfortable as possible and we recognize and appreciate the dedication, compassion and genuine love and affection demonstrated by these individuals.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mary Elizabeth Tinsley Texas History Center at the Robert Lee Brothers Memorial Library or the charity of your choice.