A truly remarkable person, Carolyn (Carrie) Holcombe Damp touched so many lives in her 77 years as a beloved mother, wife, life partner, sibling, friend, teacher, colleague, competitive athlete, world traveler, artist, and, as those who knew her best would add, enthusiast of English grammar and a firm handshake with eye contact.
She died at home in Stowe, VT on Jan. 18, 2023 in the loving care of her closest family members after a year-long battle with cancer. It is hard for all to imagine that Carolyn will not be racing with her Stowe ski pals again this year, angling yet another tennis shot across the net, creating a new whimsical pen and ink drawing, hiking in the Green or White Mountains, planning another trip to teach and trek in the remote Nepali Himalayas, or gathering her Holcombe family members together.
Growing up in rural Milford, N.H. as the daughter of Robert Crossett and Susanne Froelicher Holcombe (both predeceased), Carolyn and her siblings Peter and Joan developed strong and central beliefs in the importance of family, lifelong friendships, and a healthy outdoor lifestyle.
Graduating from Abbott Academy (now Phillips Andover) and Beloit College, Carolyn earned her master’s degree in education from Boston University. She married Andrew (Andy) Damp, who was known for his exceptionally dry wit and shared Carolyn’s love of teaching, hiking, and climbing. They summited many mountains around the world, including Mont Blanc and Matterhorn, and welcomed their son Zander, who exemplifies their combined humor and spirit of adventure. Following Andy’s tragic illness and death, Carolyn raised Zander in Milton with the loving support of family and friends.
During her 36-year tenure teaching fourth grade in the Lower School of Milton Academy, Carolyn empowered hundreds of young students where she was designated Master Teacher. Her retirement in 2012 brought with it many opportunities that included continued world travel, a new life in Stowe to be with her devoted partner of 10 years, Laurence (Larry) Heath, and an international teaching experience (in month long intervals) at the Shree Ram School in Koshidekha, Nepal. There is no doubt Carolyn will be remembered for her sparkle, her passion for teaching, and her love for her students here and in Nepal.
Through the years, Carolyn earned many recognitions including her prized ski slalom victories for the historic Schussverein Ski Club (NH), established by a group of her father’s illustrious college friends. An all-male membership at its start in 1932, Carolyn was voted in as the club’s first female member, becoming a respected and valued member of the club’s governing board. Carolyn was later inducted into the prestigious Explorers Club, an honor bestowed upon exemplary international climbers and adventurers, for her unique climbing and wilderness experiences.
In addition, together with her partner Larry Heath, she received the Stowe Rotary Club Paul Harris Award 2022 for their joint fundraising efforts for Nepal Schools, supporting teaching and library program development. Her love of the outdoors, giving to others, and family were her inspiration throughout her life.
In an extraordinary act of love, Carolyn’s son Zander and his wife Joanna took up full time residence in Stowe this past year to be nearby and help Carolyn in any way possible. With the love and full support of Carolyn’s life partner Larry, they, along with Carolyn’s sister and best friend Joanie, provided her with round-the-clock care in the last months of her life. Joanie’s daughters, Hannah and Faith, came frequently to take turns with the daily caregiving. Her brother Peter traveled many times to be by her side. All other close family members gathered to be with her for her last extended family celebration, full of joy, love, and ice cream - one of Carolyn’s greatest final wishes.
Survivors include Carolyn’s son and daughter-in-law, Zander Damp and Joanna Damp of Milton; her partner Laurence Heath of Stowe; her older brother Peter Holcombe and his wife Kathleen Holcombe of Centerville, MA, and their two sons Christopher Holcombe and Benjamin Holcombe and his wife Amanda Holcombe, all of Medford, MA; her younger sister Joan Holcombe and her partner Robert Civiak of Enfield, N.H, and Joanie’s two daughters, Dr Hannah Larsen and her husband Alexandre Garceau with their two young daughters Sophie and Audrey Larsen Garcea, of Cambridge, MA, and Faith Larsen and her husband Keith Rourke of Medford, MA.
A springtime gathering will be announced at a later date to share stories and memories in celebration of a life well lived. In lieu of flowers, consider a gift to one of Carolyn’s favorite organizations: HealthCare Nepal (https://www.healthcarenepal.org), Hands in Outreach (https://www.handsinoutreach.org), or Lamoille Home Health & Hospice (Morrisville, VT).
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