Carolyn Jean Searway, 52, of Riverbank, died Thursday, Jan. 5 after a 13-month battle against duodenal cancer.
A native of Berkeley, she was born to Edwin and Edith Peterson. Always a great student, she graduated from UC Berkeley in 1981 with high honors. Later that year she married another Cal alumnus, Ben Searway, and accompanied him to Duluth, Minn. and Simi Valley, where he served as a Covenant Youth Minister.
She and her husband celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this past fall. Throughout her illness her husband was her pillar of strength.
Mrs. Searway and her husband moved to Riverbank in 1991, each beginning successful careers in education. She spent her years in public education as a teacher and instructional coach, her “dream job,” for the Riverbank Unified School District.
She loved her students and her colleagues and kept in touch with many, often offering feedback to teachers who e-mailed her for advice or ideas during her months of illness. She most loved to hear stories about students, especially those who overcame great odds to achieve success.
She also taught the children’s program at the Bridge Covenant Church in Riverbank, of which she was a founding member.
She had a deep Christian faith and clearly expressed she had no fear of death. She scheduled time to pray for each person, over 100 people, who prayed for her through a website that was established during her illness.
She cherished the times spent with family. The hardest part of her illness was her realization she might miss so many things she wanted to do with her family.
She faithfully attended her children’s school activities and sporting events celebrating two of her proudest moments when her sons Michael received his Masters Degree in International Relations from George Washington University and Robbie graduated summa cum laude in English from CSU Stanislaus. She delighted in watching her daughter Katie’s ballet performances and was elated when Katie advanced to “point” this past summer in her training.
She is survived by her husband, Ben Searway; children, Michael, Robbie and Katie; siblings and their spouses, Ron (Rose Ann) Peterson, Susan (Rod) Taylor, all of Riverbank; six nephews; two nieces; six great-nephews and nieces; siblings-in-law, Robin, Brent (Allyson) and Carl Searway.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13 at Modesto Covenant Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family is establishing a scholarship account in her memory. Remembrances may be made to the Carolyn Searway Scholarship Fund, c/o Riverbank Unified School District, 6715 Seventh St., Riverbank 95367.