Carolyn Lorraine Holt Arnold, 79, passed away at home surrounded by her loving family, Wednesday, April 12, 2017, following a heroic battle with cancer. Born in Niagara Falls, NY, to Arlie and Leocadia Holt, she earned her LPN before marrying her sweetheart, Rayburn Arnold, an airman stationed at Niagara Falls Air Force Base. After his term of service, they moved to Starkville, MS. Carolyn quickly became an active and vital part of the community, working as a nurse at Felix Long Memorial Hospital then later Oktibbeha County Hospital in the Emergency Room. She eventually specialized in Infection Control and Employee Health, becoming department head and serving until her retirement at the age of 69. She was active in numerous professional committees, always willing to go the extra mile. She was past president of both APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology) and OCH Auxiliary, culminating in being awarded Volunteer of the Year for the state of Mississippi. She served her church and community just as passionately, serving on numerous service and advisory committees. From 1960 until her death, she served with the St. Joseph's Ladies Auxiliary, Parish Council, Grand Generation, Thursday's Ladies Group, Care Committee, and the Ladies Luncheon Group. She held a special place in her heart for the Palmer Home and children in general. She routinely supported multiple orphanages, religious missions and religious orders. Her favorite annual Christmas gifts were subscriptions to Guideposts, Daily Word or The Upper Room for each of her children. She was an avid traveler and go-getter, ready for a motorcycle trip across the US, camping at the beach or visiting beloved family and friends in her native New York. She was vitally active in all aspects of family life, always putting family first. Affectionately known as Nana Claus, she was abundantly generous with her time and thoughtful in all she did, whether it be staging impromptu plays and dance recitals with the grandchildren to faithfully attending each grandchild's school event. She was always available to talk and pray. She made it a point to keep family connected despite geographical distance. She was our beloved grande-dame matriarch. She exemplified grace, humor and love during her children's growing up years, continuing to teach by example from the moment of her brain cancer diagnosis, throughout her hospitalizations and through her time of passing. In typical fashion, following medical procedures and before fully awake, she could be heard thanking the hospital staff for taking such good care of her. Always thinking of others, she lived one of her favorite scriptural songs, "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace". Carolyn is survived by her husband of 57 years, Rayburn Lee Arnold, Sr; her two daughters, Glenda Arnold Dixon (Chris), of Vicksburg, MS and Jeanette Arnold Britt (Greg), of Brandon, MS; and son Rayburn Lee Arnold, Jr. (Janice), of Ball Ground, GA; two sisters, Virginia Barnett (Jim) of Niagara Falls, NY, and JoAnne Smith (Don), of Lewiston, NY; sister-in-law Loretta Hendrix Fry (Ed) of Tupelo; and nine grandchildren Jonathan Taylor Muse, Thomas Brennan Muse, Joshua Lawrence Dixon, Emilee Elizabeth Arnold, Zachary Taylor Britt, Amy Leigh Dixon, Faith Alexandra Britt, Samuel Luke Dixon, and Madelyne Grace Britt; as well as numerous beloved cousins, nieces and nephews across the US. Her brother, Larry Holt, of Providence, RI, and granddaughter, Jessica Leah Dixon, of Vicksburg, MS, preceded her in death. Those wishing to make memorial gifts may donate to the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus, MS or St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Starkville. Visitation will be held in the Catholic Center, St. Joseph Catholic Church at 607 University Drive in Starkville from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday evening, April 20, 2017, and Friday morning, April 21, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. A memorial mass will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. following the Friday morning visitation. She will be interred in the Columbarium at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Starkville, MS. You can leave the family a condolence at: www.welchfuneralhomes.com .
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