Carol Manzo

Carol J. Manzo (Cormier)

Sunday, December 30th, 1934 - Friday, September 11th, 2020
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Millinocket – Carol J. (Cormier) Manzo, 85, passed away unexpectedly, yet on her terms, September 11, 2020, at Millinocket Regional Hospital. She was born December 30, 1934, in Millinocket, the daughter of Edrick “Bucky” and Winifred “Winnie” (Higgins) Cormier.
My mother did not want an obituary written and put in the paper, but her life was too colorful and full of meaning to let her go unnoticed. Sorry Ma, I hope you will forgive me. Whether you knew her as Carol, Carol Jean, Aunt Carol, Nanie Carol, or C.J., she was memorable. She was fun, silly, loved to tease, spontaneous, had “inside jokes”, quirky, love of family, loved to cook, love of travel and sense of adventure.
She loved to reminisce, especially about growing up in Millinocket during its heyday, and how wonderful it was to live here, work here, and raise a family. Three memories she spoke of often are about her childhood. They are: she relished that she was the first grandchild born into the Cormier and Higgins families and loved how they all spoiled her; then as a child in the 1940’s, she spoke fondly of traveling (solo) by train to spend the summers with her grandparents Horace and Hattie Higgins in Brewer; and last, she had great memories of riding along with her father in his delivery service truck all over town making deliveries, helping him and talking with people.
She graduated Stearns High School in 1952, was awarded the superlative, “Best Dressed”. She lit up talking about “Stearns Pride”, being a cheerleader, and attending the basketball games. Shortly after graduation, she felt fortunate to be 1 of 3 women hired by Great Northern Paper Company to work in their office pool, and she continued to work for GNP for over 25 years in various administrative departments.
A boastful story she told is, in 1953 she bought a brand-new car, without telling her parents. She special-ordered a 1953 Chevy Bel Air, “Stearns” Royal Blue with white top, white bottom, and whitewall tires. Her father was angry at first, but then he was proud of what she had done.
In 1954 she got married and started a family, along with working full-time. They raised three children, then 20 years later, along came the only grandchild, Angela into the mix. Ma was an awesome cook, and she took great pride preparing Italian meals, as she was taught by her mother-in-law, Mary Manzo. Every Sunday, the house smelled of the sauce that was simmering on the stovetop. And meatballs, that she had just fried, were resting on the countertop, that we all tried to sneak one before supper. She called cooking “a labor of love”. We always appreciated holiday meals, and all the extra cooking she did at Christmas, especially the homemade raviolis! We also have fond memories of our monthly birthday parties and the fun we had at each gathering. (And then during her traveling years, C.J. would mail all of us all birthday boxes and Christmas boxes full of silly and special surprises!)
During the second half of her life, the travel bug kicked in, and as she pursed employment… adventures ensued. She reinvented herself and she became C.J. Her (solo) travels took her many places, too many cities to mention. Hindsight we wished she had kept a journal of her events, the nice people she met, and where she worked. Some memorable adventures she reminisced about is when she went to the West Coast for about 6 years. She went to: Hawaii, twice, first time was a nanny job for 1 year in Lahaina, second time, just for fun; Everett, Washington, stayed with Anna and worked; Portland, Oregon, worked another nanny job; Burbank, California, worked at NBC Studio, PBX/switchboard (she watched Johnny Carson arrive to work every day, and occasionally saw celebrities walking in the hallway); then took the train to Las Vegas, NV, befriended a college girl Sharon, who invited C.J. to come stay with her! Sharon even invited C.J. to a nuclear protest. In 1992, C.J. came back to the East Coast and started doing seasonal employment, Bar Harbor in the summer and Florida in the winters (e.g., Marco Island, Clearwater, and Hollywood (with Pumpkin). And between jobs, she would stay at one of our houses, telling us all her great stories, cook a meal or two, and have fun with the kiddies! Eventually she retired and took residence in Clearwater, FL, which was near Harold and Ralph, then Bangor with Fred Jr and Teri, and finally home to Millinocket.
I was always amazed and grateful that during her years of traveling, she was never harmed. I always told her she had a mysterious and magical aura protecting her…and that she led a charmed life! She agreed! She declared that she had a “good life”. She had a good family, good kids, good marriage, good jobs, good friends, good laughs…she was happy and would not change a thing.
My mother with her great sense of humor, as she was passing, I believe she got me with one last “zinger". Thanks, Ma. I got the message.
Carol is survived by two daughters, Jaylene Wedge of Ellsworth, Deeann Manzo and her husband, Richard “Cal” Wilson, of Millinocket; one granddaughter, Angela Manzo of MDI; three great grandchildren, Derek Manzo, Jeremy French, and Jada Gaudett; one sister, Lois Daigle and long- time companion, Kenny Cummings; and many nieces and nephews. Special family mentions: nieces, Candy Crandall and her husband, Jug, and their daughters Erica Shaw, Alicia Rodgerson, and Brandi Cullen; and Anna Foldesi and her daughters, Bryanna Foldesi and Suzanne Adams; and, Aunt Cecile “Sue” Hartt; and Uncles, Harold Higgins, Sr, and Ralph “Lefty” Higgins.
Predeceased by her parents, both in 2007; her son, Frederick Manzo, Jr, 2015; an infant daughter, Jolee, 1957; and son-in-law, Paul Wedge, 2012.
Per Carol’s wishes, there will be no services. Interment of her ashes will be held privately at Millinocket Cemetery.
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Terrie Haggett

Posted at 02:31pm
Dee, Cal, Jaylene and Angela,
Your mom and grandma was the Best ! Always made everyone happy with her great laughter she lit up the room. Always made buddy, alan and i feel so welcome in your home. We all loved spending our time with you all when we came to millinocket. Dee, the words you wrote about your moms life journey are just Epic! She was a special lady. We love her and you all. You are in thoughts during this emotional time. If there is anything we can do just call cousin. We will miss her.
Love you all xoxo
Terrie and Greg Haggett

Katherine Higgins

Posted at 11:54am
Jaylene & Dee and all of her beautiful family, I am so sorry to hear of your Mom's passing. Your Mom was such a fun and beautiful soul. She always made me laugh with her wonderful laughter. Sending gentle hugs to all! With deepest sympathy and love, Kitty & Ralph Jr

Judyth Stevens Herrick

Posted at 08:59am
Lois Ann and family,
My deepest sympathy on your loss. The beauty of a life well lived, never dies. God bless

Carol Page

Posted at 08:00pm
Carol Jean May not have approved of you writing about her but this was just who she was! She was a beautiful and vivacious lady full of life that could make anyone laugh! I loved it when I connected with her even though it’s been many many years. Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful lady who loved life and her family like no other. My heartfelt condolences to you all on your loss. She certainly will be remembered by so many for the sweet dear person that she was. So well written. Thank you.

Margie King

Posted at 06:43pm
Deeann, Cal and Jaylene, anyone who knew Carol will never forget her! We had lots of laughs when we worked together at GNP. She also was a great worker and the fastest typist I ever saw. I knew she went her own way but had no idea what she was up to. Your obituary brought all those adventures to life for me, and I'm pretty sure she would have enjoyed reading it, no matter what she said. My condolences to all of you.
Margie King

Jennifer Rice Posted at 09:51pm

Dee & Cal, Jaylene, & Angela, Thinking of you all. Thank you for sharing the beautiful memories of Carol/Ma/Nani

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