Carolyn O'Barr Tunnell was born with no middle name in San Angelo on March 14, 1934, to Justin Copeland and Ruth Mayfield O'Barr. She was the eldest of their two children and became a lifelong resident of Blanket in the 1950s; having lived the last 26 years on the Tunnell family home place that settled in 1875.
Carolyn attended San Angelo High School and was a proud member of the class of 1952. She attended church with her family as a kid at the Presbyterian Church in San Angelo and then became a dedicated and faithful member of the Blanket United Methodist Church for over 60 years.
After graduation from high school, she married Carl Browder, Jr. To this union was born her first two children; Becky and Steve Browder. Carolyn followed Carl in his work with the railroad and lived in numerous places across the State of Texas; including Maryneal, Texas to which she often referred to as "the coldest damn place on earth!" Finally they settled on the ranch north of Blanket, built their home and she took up the duties of a rancher's wife.
She became a single mom in the early 1960s and moved from the ranch into Blanket with her two children. In 1968, she met and married Gerald Tunnell in Blanket. Together they had a son, Justin.
Carolyn was the mother of all mothers. She was active in all aspects of her children's lives at school, church and at home. They were her pride and joy and anyone who knew her understood that.
Carolyn worked for the Boy Scouts of America for several years and made countless trips to Camp Billy Gibbons with scouting activities. In 1980 she went to work for Blanket ISD and taught countless students how to read; a passion she held her entire life.
Gerald and Carolyn both retired in 1995 and enjoyed 26 years of retirement together on the farm. They were both stewards of the land and took seriously the role they had in taking care of what they were entrusted.They enjoyed many miles of the Texas landscape during all seasons of the year traveling to and from their favorite places across the State. But most importantly, they enjoyed following their grandchildren around in all of their activities whether sports, school plays, and functions, baptisms, piano recitals, church activities, fundraisers, weddings and the like. What made that even better was later being able to follow their great grandchildren around doing all of the same things.
Carolyn was blessed with a servant's heart and not only supported her family but also the community and those around her. She served on the Blanket ISD Board of Trustees in the 1970s and often said she kept the "Tums and Rolaids" companies in busy during those trying times. She flipped countless burgers, stirred endless pots of chili and made numerous trips to Kerrville in support of the Blanket Lions Club. She was active in the Meals on Wheels program. Gerald and Carolyn gave countless hours of selfless volunteer service to the Good Samaritan Ministries alongside the members of their church family at the Blanket United Methodist Church. She taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, was a little league coach, served on the PTA, was a Trustee at the Church, was an avid gardener and above all was known as "Memaw.”
Carolyn is survived by her husband of 51 years, Gerald; her sons Steve an wife Crystal of Brownwood, Justin and wife Brandy of Blanket; a sister, Ginnie Denis and husband Chico of San Angelo; her brother-in-law, Delbert Tunnell and wife Brenda of Blanket; and a sister-in-law, Elaine Early and husband Lonnie of Texarkana. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Curt and Jamie Tunnell, Clint and Jami Tunnell and Laura and Slade Cozart, Brook Parker, Lindsay and Bill Talton, Darcy and Skip McLinden, Zac and Amber Browder and Justin Price, Corie and Matthew Bell, John Mobley, Brittany and Weston Norway and Brianna Mobley; great-grandchildren, Hayden, Brayson, Stella and Savannah Tunnell, Carter, Parker and Bec Tunnell, Wyatt, Emmett and Elliott Cozart, Carter and Colton Parker, August and Baelin Talton, Ellie and Zachary McLinden, Charlie Browder, Elias Norway, Dominic Mobley; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends; and her special friend and caregiver, Jami Archer.
Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents; her daughter, Becky Browder Tunnell in July 2000; and a great-grandson, Owen Norway.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Carolyn's name to the Good Samaritan Ministries in Brownwood, the Blanket United Methodist Church or a favorite charity of the donor.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the staff at Redstone for their care and attentiveness over the past couple of months and to her caregiver Jami Archer for her dedication and love in Carolyn's life for the past 2 years.
Carolyn’s body will be laid to rest in a private family graveside service in the Blanket Cemetery.
Condolences, memories and tributes can be offered to the family online at heartlandfuenralhome.net.