Life Story / Obituary
Driven, determined, and devoted to the family she loved, Carolyn Mahoney lived her life to the fullest. Known for her remarkable courage and advocacy for those struggling with domestic violence, she held a special place in her heart for helping others. Nothing brought Carolyn more joy that to know that her children were blessed with many successes. She wanted nothing more than the very best for each and every one of them. Carolyn modeled a strong work ethic and leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her special friends and family to cherish forever.
Carolyn’s story began during a time that was marked by WWII. It was 1942 and families in the United States were experiencing a gas rationing of only three gallons a week and a new breed of movies with war themes were hatching. During the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gordon and Melissa “Ruth” (nee Lathrop) Miller were pleased to announce the birth of their baby girl, Carolyn, on February 13th, in Carrollton, Missouri. Her birth brought much joy and promise in an era of great change.
Growing up on her family’s farm, Carolyn was charged with pitching in and helping out with farm chores at a young age. Her parents encouraged her to do her best at anything she put her mind to doing leading her to become an accomplished pianist as well as a champion typist. Carolyn and her mother were active members of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was also a proud member of the 4H club with her brother Eugene. Studious as well as ambitious, she graduated with the Class of 1960 from Carrollton High School with honors.
Within a year of graduation, Carolyn was joined in marriage to her first husband, B.J. Cox, whom she met while he was working on her family’s farm. They relocated to Amarillo, Texas where he was stationed with the United States Air Force. They welcomed home their daughter, Kim, in 1962 at the Air Force Base hospital. Later, their son, Kenneth, arrived in 1965, back home in Carrollton, Missouri. Moving to Columbia, offered Carolyn the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. While working as a legal secretary and raising her children, she enrolled at the University of Missouri to earn her Bachelor’s degree in education.
Once she graduated, she accepted a teaching position at Wheeling High School. Carolyn juggled her role as a mother with that of a teacher and a graduate student during her twenty-year tenure at Wheeling. By the late 1970s, she earned her Master's degree in education. Carolyn had a special knack for building relationships and trust with some of the most challenging of students during her career. Most of her students were considered “at-risk” because of their emotional and sometimes physical disabilities. Carolyn showed deep compassion for her students and treated each and every one of them as if they were her own.
Carolyn’s life held many significant changes. She later went on to become a joint owner and financial officer of the family business, Exacto Inc., an AgTech company in 1981. As a direct result of Carolyn’s strong work ethic and unique talents in finance, creative design, and programming, the company grew exponentially. As successful as Carolyn’s life appeared at the time, it did not go without its challenges. In 2004, she moved in with her son, Kenny, and his wife, Kim, who helped to care for her during a significant time of physical and emotional healing in her life. The trial of B. J. Cox ended in April 2007 with a conviction and their divorce was final in 2008.
During his years of incarceration, Carolyn was asked to speak at an annual meeting of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority in Scottsdale, Arizona on domestic abuse. The success of that speech led to many similar speeches at ACO events around the country on domestic violence leading her to become an honorary member of the sorority. Carolyn also made a television program, Until Death Do Us Part, on domestic violence which was broadcast on the Investigative Discovery TV channel. A similar program was later recorded for Blue Cross Blue Shield.
She married the love of her life, Dennis C. Mahoney, on July 5, 2009, at their home in Bull Valley, Illinois. A gorgeous setting and example of happiness, their intimate ceremony made the front cover of the Bull Valley Magazine! Dennis supported Carolyn’s many special pastimes as well as her volunteering. She was a member of many fine arts, garden, and book clubs in addition to her work as a victims’ advocate and speaker regarding the issue of domestic violence. He continued to encourage her to make her voice heard including working with Denise Brown in the Elite Speakers Bureau. Over the past ten years, Carolyn has worked throughout the nation with women experiencing domestic violence providing them with strength, power, and courage to seek protection. Her greatest legacy will be the mentoring she gave to countless women helping them transition their lives back to safety, emotional health, and wholeness. Carolyn will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. May they honor her life by continuing to share her story and help to ensure the safety and protection of all those seeking support in the years to come.
Carolyn Ruth (Cox) Mahoney, age 77, passed away Monday, July 29, 2019 following a courageous battle with cancer at Froedtert South, Pleasant Prairie. Surviving are her husband, Dennis; children, Kim (Donald) Malczynski of Bull Valley, IL, Kenneth Elton (Kimberly) Cox of Crystal Lake, IL; grandchildren, Shelby (Will) Aide, Wesley Cox, Jennifer (Jim) Freimuth, Justin (Julia) Malczynski; great-grandchildren, Alex and Addison Freimuth, and Grace who is on the way; stepchildren, Sean (Tiffany) Mahoney, Caitlin (Brandon) Ackley; step grandchildren, Lauren, Morgan, Liam, Nolan, and Kali; sister-in-law, Chris Miller; many nieces and nephews, other relatives, and dear friends. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a grandson, Jason Malczynski, her brother, Eugene Miller and stepson, Dillon J. Mahoney. Visitation will be held at the Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home, 803 Main St, Racine, WI, Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 10 A.M. until 12 P.M. Funeral services will follow at 12:00 P.M. with Reverend Laura Fladten officiating. Interment will be held at Mound Cemetery, Racine. Memorials to your local Domestic Violence Agency have been suggested.