Shared by Ed Blank on June 3, 2012

I last saw and spoke to Carol in January at Costco. As usual she was smiling. That is how I will always remember her. I met Carol when I went to work in the Cancer Research department at my alma mater, Cal, in 2002. We have been friends since that time. That she touched many lives including mine for the good was evidenced that her church, Lafayette United Methodist Church, was filled with her family and friends. I will miss her.

That's mom -- always prepared!

Shared by Katherine Somervell on May 29, 2012

From Mary Weaver, whose daughter Jennifer was best friends with Carol's Jennifer: 

One of my fondest memories of your mother was when she and I were the Campfire Girl leaders and we took your group (Jennifer) on a huge camp-out.  It was pretty stressful for your mom and me and we were thrilled when you guys finally got in your sleeping bags and settled down.  She and I looked at each other and I said “I could really use a drink.”  She said “Would you like a martini?”  I was annoyed that she would tease me like that until she reached into her bag and actually brought out martinis, complete with olives.  I’ll never forget it.  You have never seen a happier Campfire Girl leader than I.

Words of Appreciation and Remembrance

Shared by Katherine Somervell on May 29, 2012

Shared by Rev. Lori Sawdon at the Memorial Service, May 26, 2012: 


According to Webster's Dictionary, a carol is "a song of joy or mirth." We don't know why her parents chose the name of "Carol," but Carol Markley Slatten was true to her name. Her life indeed was a song of joy which brought delight and happiness to many over the years.

Carol literally played and sang songs of joy. The Markley children, Kathi, Sally, and Bill were raised with music. Carol enjoyed playing the Jamaican Rumba as a piano duet with her Mother. Carol could play any brass instrument, including the French horn and trumpet. She was an excellent sight reader and could easily learn a tune. Just a year ago, both of our church musicians were ill on a Sunday morning. I called Carol at 8:30 and she stepped up to play piano for worship at 10:00.

As Carol ventured out from small town Turlock to the big and wondrous city of Berkeley, her repertoire was expanded! She introduced her family to classical music. She brought home a record of the opera Zampa; the family did not have a hi-fi, so they took the LP to the church to use the hi-fi to listen to Zampa!

The Cal experience broadened the Markley family's world in other ways. During her second year Kathi and Sally visited Carol after Easter, attending classes with her and having their first taste of something unknown in Turlock: pizza!

It was in a biology class at Cal that Carol met Derrell Slatten and they began to compose their own love song. They shared musical talents and both participated in performances of Cantique de Jean Racine. They were married at the Turlock Methodist Church in 1959. They became the proud parents of three daughters, Katherine, Jennifer, and Emily. Carol was later happy to embrace her sons-in-law, Alan, Paul, and Ted, and grandchildren, Conor and Emma.

The Slatten girls were all introduced to the family's love of music. In the late 70's Carol formed a Markley family band with all the family members participating: Mother was the director and pianist; Carol & Emily played French horn. Others included Derrell on baritone; Kathi, Leslie & Jennifer on violin; Sally on flute; Bill on trumpet and drums; Norma on trumpet; Jeff and Dean on saxophone; Julie on clarinet; Katherine on oboe; Aunt Helen on the triangle. The proud patriarch, Harold Markley, was the audience!

Carol spread her joy through the profession of nursing, serving as a public health nurse for Alameda County and a school nurse in Mt. Diablo District. She returned to school to learn accounting and worked in that field until she found a job in the Chemistry Department at Cal in 1983. She transferred to the Cancer Research Lab where she thrived and used her multiple talents to further the life-saving work done at that marvelous facility.

Carol's affable nature allowed her to collect a multitude of friends over the years. One of those was Carol's roommate at Cal, Diane. Carol brought her home to Turlock for a visit. Because Diane was Jewish, at the dinner table the family talked about what it meant to be Jewish. Carol noted that Jesus was a Jew. Bill replied, "I thought Jesus was a Methodist."

Carol's embrace of Diane perhaps prepared her for her roommate of the past 28 years, Celeste Graham. Although a staunch United Methodist, Carol was a good sport in participating in Celeste's study and experience of various world religions. They visited a Buddhist temple, a Sufi temple, and numerous mosques and synagogues. They even happened to be in Rome in 2005 at the historic moment when white smoke rose from the Vatican announcing the selection of Pope Benedict.

Together Carol and Celeste explored the world beginning with Africa in 1984. Their travels took them to England, Germany and Austria, South America, China, Italy, Prague and Bucharest. They traveled the Amazon River by canoe. Once while trying to get a photo of the beautiful blue morpho butterfly, Carol, camera in hand, fell into the muddy water. Fortunately a nearby French research team caught the butterfly, allowing her to get a close-up picture once she and her camera recovered.

Carol's collection of nativity sets began in Tanzania where she purchased her favorite set. The guide bartered for it for $80, Carol's Timex watch, and 3 of Celeste's t-shirts. In addition to nativity sets, Carol collected Haviland China and clocks.

And Carol collected friends. Over the years was a member of an adult recreation softball team, Diablo Youth Orchestra Board, Haviland Collectors, Questors, PEO, AAUW, Clock Club, and more.

Carol's love of music was nurtured early on by the music of the church. She sang the songs of faith and joy as the anchor of the soprano section for decades. As a member of this congregation for 45 years, Carol joyously offered her gifts in a multitude of ways: Children’s choir director, Church Council secretary, treasurer, office volunteer, officer in United Methodist Women, Lay Member to Annual Conference, and musician in Bethlehem Experience.

The Steinway grand piano was a generous gift to the church in memory of Derrell Slatten. Carol and choir member, Nancy Cotteral, searched Contra Costa and Alameda Counties testing pianos recommended by then organist, Douglas Butler. Upon finding this beautiful piano, the three celebrated with a round at Lafayette's own Round-Up Saloon!

Carol was the keeper of the choir closet key where choir members can lock up their valuables during worship. One time when Carol was going to be gone for a few weeks, she had extra keys made for others. The key is colored with red and yellow flames. In entrusting this precious key to choir member Don Keeble, Carol said, "Here's your key, and, (pointing at the colors) this is where you're going if you lose it!"

Carol held not only the keys to the church. With her bright smile, her warm personality, and her joyous songs, Carol also held the key to our hearts. She easily endeared herself to us and we have been richly blessed.

Songs of faith sung throughout her lifetime brought Carol close to the heart of our loving God. Carol's faith informed her that death is not the end, but a passage into eternal life with God. Carol's life goes on in the presence of our loving God. Carol's love and joy continues to ring on in our hearts for love never ends.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice!" It was Carol's nature to rejoice always, to sing a song of joy. She weathered the difficult times and challenges of her life by making music and finding reason to rejoice. Now her songs of joy echo down from the communion of saints, giving us reason to hope and a note of encouragement to rejoice in the gifts of life which we continue to be given.

Thus we rejoice in the song of joy named Carol Markley Slatten who sprinkled our lives with smiles, laughter, joy, and love.


Creator God, we give you thanks for the gift of life. This day we raise our praise for the life of Carol Markley Slatten. We are grateful for Mom’s steadfast support, for Grandma’s generous gifts, for Carol’s bright smile and buoyant presence.

We rejoice in her quick wit and humor which brought joy to our lives. We celebrate her administrative skills and musical talents which she generously shared in many venues. Our lives have been touched by her loyal service to Cal, to service organizations, and to this congregation. We have been blessed by Carol’s friendship and caring outreach. For the privilege of having shared the journey of life and faith with Carol, we give thanks.

May your healing, comforting presence abide with Carol’s family. Embrace Katherine & Alan, Conor & Emma, Jennifer & Paul, Emily & Ted with your peace. Blanket Carol’s extended family, Celeste, and Carol’s many friends with hope.

May Carol find rest and joy in your eternal presence. Abide with us, O Holy One, that we might know peace and joy.

Things mom loved (not an exhaustive list)

Shared by Katherine Somervell on May 28, 2012
Mahler, dungeness crab, Harry Potter, Turandot, listening to her daughters sing/play together, Babe (the movie, you know, "that'll do pig"), nativity sets, Perry Mason, antique clocks, Michael Tilson Thomas, chex mix, diet rite, Jonathan Creek, the French Horn, books by Ann Patchett, being with her grandchildren, the ending to Dialogue of the Carmelites, a good gin and tonic, m&ms, the San Francisco Opera, helping people, Are You Being Served, The Norman Conquests, El Charro's chile rellenos and blue cheese dip, Ellery Queen, UC Berkeley, Oskie the Golden Bear, playing the piano, her church (Lafayette United Methodist), singing in the choir, using her grandchildren as an excuse to buy awesome toys, The City (San Francisco), traveling, playing computer games, reading (lots), science, Stephen Fry and QI, progressive causes, equal rights, trains, perpetual motion machines, and all things mechanical, autumn, red and orange leaves, music, her family.

Let the music play on/play on/play on

Shared by Janis Roberts on May 27, 2012

I am so sorry that I wasn't able to attend the service.  I had a bad fall on my backside, and a long drive just wasn't workable.  Anyway, to get on with the story.

Cousin Carol and cousin Barbara were just enough older than some of us as to be a little "above it all" in high school.  How we envied them.  So, to be included in their activities was a treat.  One summer, while visiting, we went to the show and saw "Carmen Jones".  We thought it was just great.  However, in retrospect (and having seen it since then) it wasn't really Academy Award material, but the music was outstanding!  (Thank you Georges Bizet.)  Carol bought the LP and we listened to it over and over again.  We knew all of the lyrics by heart and the Markley, Fiorini and Bishop voices serenaded (?) everyone on Main Street that summer, for sure!

Friends in high places

Shared by Katherine Somervell on May 24, 2012

I find it hilarious that Grandma (Gertrude Markley) got Carol's first birthday party covered by the Turlock Journal. One would have thought there were more interesting things to report in 1939....

Beatiful/Venerable Mother

Shared by Katherine Somervell on May 23, 2012

When we were growing up, mom encouraged us children to call her "Beautiful Mother."  That later became "Beautiful Grandmother," and, when she turned 70, "Venerable Mother."  We never formally called her "Queen Mother," though that's what she was to us.  It is therefore entirely fitting that we remember her with the poem read at the funeral of Britain's Queen Mother in 2002.  I know that mom would have approved the sentiment.    

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on. 

David Harkins (1959 -     )

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