Carol Louise Orton was born May 4, 1942, in Denver, Colorado, to M. M. “Mike” Orton and Alice Louise (Sands) Orton. In 1945, they moved to Fort McPherson outside of Atlanta, Georgia, while her father served in the U.S. Army. After he completed his enlistment in 1946 the family returned to Denver, welcoming Carol’s new brother Douglas Myron in July of 1949.
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Carol Wiseman, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
In December 1949, Mike was transferred to Casper, Wyoming. There the family was active in First Christian Church of Casper, and Carol participated in Girl Scouts and 4-H, winning several blue ribbons for sewing at state competitions. In high school she was a delegate to Wyoming Girls State, a member of the marching band, editor of the yearbook, and class valedictorian.
After graduating from Natrona County High School in 1960, she attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, where she majored in mathematics. Her Dad was concerned that she would focus solely on her studies so he convinced her to continue with her clarinet in the Horned Frog marching band. In November, 1963, she had her first date with a tall, lanky trombone player from Mountain Home, Arkansas, named Michael Lynn Wiseman. It was not long before romance blossomed, and on September 4, 1964, following Carol's graduation from TCU that spring, Carol and Mike were married in Casper. They then returned to Fort Worth so Mike could finish his degree.
In the summer of 1966, Carol and Mike visited both Mountain Home and Casper on the way to Madison, Wisconsin, for Mike to begin graduate study in economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. They lived in the married student housing, Eagle Heights, and in April 1968, Carol and Mike welcomed their first child, Stuart. Michael received a PhD in economics in December, 1972.
In 1970, Mike, Carol, and Stuart moved across the country so that Mike could begin an appointment as an assistant professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. In May of the following year, the family expanded with the birth of daughter Erin. Soon thereafter, they moved into the house in El Cerrito that was their home for the remainder of their time in the Bay Area.
After moving to California, Carol and Mike became members of the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley. They served together as Sunday School teachers and Sunday School coordinators. Carol and her dear friend Vivian McIlraith directed a children’s choir. Carol also served as an Elder on Session and headed the Christian Education Committee. She was heavily involved in the PTA at Harding Elementary School while Stuart and Erin were students, serving several terms as PTA president.
Once Stu and Erin were older, Carol started working with Mike in the Economics Department at UC Berkeley on various computer programming-related projects including switching the department to word processing and the development of a compute- based teaching system for large classes. She also volunteered for Harbor House, a Christian community development organization in Oakland, California. Carol spent many Saturdays and weekday afternoons ferrying kids to cross country and track meets, and helped out at El Cerrito High School track meets as a scorer.
In 1981, during a family trip to Scandinavia, Carol first felt the effects of what would ultimately be diagnosed as chronic progressive Multiple Sclerosis. It took five years, many tests, and varying diagnoses before, after reading an article about the Olympic skier Jimmie Heuga and his battle with MS, that Carol finally pushed her neurologist to give the diagnosis of MS. Years later, while en route to a Wiseman family reunion, a side trip to Heuga's adaptive sports center gave Carol an opportunity to meet him in person.
After Stu graduated from high school that year, Carol, Mike, and Erin traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for Mike to spend a sabbatical year at the University of Wisconsin. Following a year back in California, Mike accepted a new position as a professor of public policy at the University of Wisconsin, and Carol and Mike returned to Madison to take up permanent residence--Mike moving in 1988 while Carol and Erin remained behind until June 1989 to sell the house and graduate Erin from high school.
During their time in Madison, Carol made new neighborhood friends and volunteered at the Multiple Sclerosis clinic at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. She also continued her data analysis and geographical information systems consulting with Mike and others. While in Madison, Mike and Carol attended both High Point Church and Christ Presbyterian Church. In 1996-97, Mike took a visiting position at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City, which came with an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which Carol and Mike enjoyed very much. This period also brought many adaptations due to MS. Carol began using crutches and a wheelchair; she also participated in adaptive aquatics at UW Madison. One special adaptation was a tandem bicycle that Mike and Carol used for years and even took with them to Europe.
These years saw family changes as well. Son Stuart married Keeva Coe in 1991, and daughter Erin married Stephen Taylor in 1996. Even more joyful additions were the births of Natalie Carol in 1997 and Patrick James in 2000 to Keeva and Stu. Carol and Mike enjoyed becoming grandparents.
Between the births of Natalie and Patrick, Michael accepted a position at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., and in 1998 Mike and Carol moved to Arlington, Virginia, where their condo in Crystal City became the home they shared the longest. Soon after their arrival in the Washington area they joined the National Presbyterian Church. During their years at NPC, Carol and Mike served as deacons together. Both of them alsoserved on the Accessibility committee, with Carol serving as the chairperson. Carol’s last responsibility at NPC was organizing communion servers, no small task for a church the size of NPC.
While Mike and Carol were in Crystal City, they gained three more grandchildren: Rosa Louise in 2001, Amon Zane in 2005, and Caleb Archer in 2011, all born to Erin and Stephen. Mike and Carol reveled in visitors, children and grandchildren, family, and friends. These years were also a time of much adaptation to Carol's increasing disability, the result not only of MS but also of a series of serious infections in 2012 and a stroke in 2014.
Carol's disability notwithstanding, she and Mike continued to find ways to travel. In 2014, Grand Teton National Park, Mike and Carol’s favorite place, was the setting for their 50th anniversary celebration, which included all of their children and grandchildren, as well as a number of other relatives. Their last big trips were in May 2019 to Portland, Oregon, for Natalie’s college graduation and to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for Rosa’s high school graduation.
After a short illness, Mike passed away on March 1, 2020. Carol was supported in the following months by her faithful caregiver Esther Biney, and a series of family and friends who stayed with her, including April Dearman, Vivian McIlraith, Sandy Orton, and Jennifer Wiseman, as well as Erin and Rosa. Stu spent many hours on Zoom with Carol working through the estate and making plans and his family was able to come to Crystal City to help prepare for Carol’s transition to institutional care.
Carol moved to Las Cruces, NM to the Good Samaritan Society Skilled Nursing facility in July to be near Erin and her family; unfortunately COVID-19 restrictions meant that visits were limited to calls, Facetime, and a window visit. In October, Carol developed a series of infections and the decision was made to move her to hospice care. Stu and Erin and their families were able to visit her there. Sister-in-law Jennifer Wiseman and brother-in-law Tim Wiseman traveled for a last visit as well. Carol Louise Wiseman passed away on September 23, 2020.
She is survived by son Stuart Wiseman and his wife Keeva Coe of Sacramento, California; daughter Erin Taylor and her husband Stephen of Las Cruces, New Mexico; grandchildren Natalie Wiseman of Boise, Idaho, Patrick Wiseman of San Luis Obispo, California, and Rosa, Amon, and Caleb Taylor of Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is also survived by sister-in-law Sandy Orton of Rodeo, California, sister-in-law Joyce Wiseman of St Peters, Missouri, brother-in-law Tim Wiseman and wife Penny of Laramie, Wyoming, and sister-in-law Jennifer Wiseman and husband Mark Shelhamer of Reisterstown, Maryland. Carol was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Doug. Memorial gifts may be made to National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20016..