Obituaries » Carolyn Sebelius Hoglund

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Carolyn Sebelius Hoglund

April 14, 1945 - August 21, 2021

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My beloved and beautiful wife, Carol lost a long and valiant struggle against liver cancer yesterday August 21, 2021. A celebration of Carol’s life will be held 10:00 AM October 16, at Trinity Ecumenical Parish, Moneta Virginia. A luncheon will follow the service.

Carol was born in Nashville to the late Dr Carl and Mrs. Lucille Sebelius and is survived by two sisters, Jane Oliphant, and Susan Shoff. She lost her brother, Carl Jr, to pancreatic cancer more than three years ago. As most of you know we have three kids, Rebecca, Sarah, and Michael.  Rebecca and Brian Goebel have a daughter, Isabelle and a son, Erich. Sarah Hoglund and Craig Peariso have a daughter, Sophia and Mike and Julia have three daughters, Caroline, Katherine, and Eliza.

Carol and I met on a blind date at Augustana College in 1963 and got married November 1968. She taught elementary school in Chicago while I was a graduate student in Evanston, Illinois. Carol continued her teaching career in the NW suburbs of Chicago until Rebecca and Sarah arrived.  Then a career change for Dave brought us to Virginia just outside DC on a two car, two kid, one dog and two CB radios drive over the Memorial Day weekend, 1977, to our new home in Fox Mill Estates. Two years later came Michael and when he was ready for kindergarten, Carol was ready to get in the classroom.  She enjoyed her long sabbatical, but teaching was her ambition and she resumed in Fairfax County. She taught several different elementary classes over the next 20 years, but she really flourished with special needs children in the Armstrong ED center. She served on countless church, school boards and our neighborhood committees while still raising our kids and started her first pre-school at our local church. She was Brownie and Girl scout leader for both our girls and even took over as Cub scout leader for me since my government travel schedule was so chaotic.

Things went very well for several years. Kids did awesome academically and athletically throughout high school and thrived in college.  Rebecca and Mike graduated from the College of William and Mary and also ran track and cross country and Sarah graduated from the University of Virginia and also played rugby while we closed our eyes. The only real medical issue was Dave’s Achilles, both of them. Carol loved teaching, the more challenging the better. Unfortunately, during that time, Carol developed breast cancer in 1991.  After rigorous chemotherapy and a mastectomy, Carol was deemed cancer free. Finally in 2003 Dave decided to retire after 34 years in the government and Carol followed shortly after although she subbed until the end of the year.

We began searching for a place to settle for our retirement years. Fortuitously we were invited by a teacher friend of Carol’s to spend a weekend at Smith Mountain Lake. Needless to say, we fell in love with the area, and after never being able to find a house we liked, we decided to buy a lot in Winding Waters.  Construction started in 2003. While we were building our house, our first grandchild arrived. I have enclosed my favorite photo of Carol holding our dear Isabelle.  On January 1, 2004, we finally moved into our new house in Winding Waters.  We loved the area, our neighbors and after searching for a new church, we found one after listening to perhaps the best sermons we have ever heard, the Reverend Gary Scheidt of Trinity Ecumenical Parish. It was at TEP where Carol started her second preschool with her dear friend Lorraine Connary. Her thoughts were not just on giving parents a break from their children but the importance of early education on lifetime learning. Carol was an active volunteer with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, Lake Christian Ministries, SML Women’s Club, the Roanoke Rescue Mission and enjoyed knitting premi, hats, dolls and washcloths for an organization, Knitting 4 Peace. That group provided this and other material to developing nations, native American tribes, and others for the importance of neonatal and childcare.

With our free time we had many trips out west to see our daughters, trips to the Midwest to see friends and family, annual trips in the summer to the Chautauqua Institute and many beach trips.  All was well until 2017.  Carol’s cancer had returned.  But if it weren’t for Carol’s Carilion pulmonologist, Dr S. Ie, these last four years might not even have happened.  After being suspicious of a continuing cough, Dr Ie requested an MRI, which showed spots on Carol’s spine and liver. Chemotherapy started at the Blue Ridge Cancer Center under the direction of Dr P Mallidii. Dr Mallidi was the same oncologist who treated my friend, a golf buddy for many years until his passing. Between treatments we were able to continue our trips out west, to Chautauqua, Chicago, and the beach.

Even had a trip scheduled to the mountains of North Carolina this fall to celebrate my brother in law’s 80th birthday.  Late this May we took a trip to Wrightsville Beach, NC, with my brother Bill and sister-in-law and Laura. Carol looked and felt great (second photo). We thought the chemo was winning. We were wrong.

Then as even the cancer had spread more inside Carol’s liver, additional strategies were employed to try to bypass the liver bile ducts while Carol was undergoing chemo.  Dr Paul Yeaton, a gastroenterologist

Attempted three endoscopic procedures, called ERCP, but was unable to get the liver to flow normally and Carol became quite jaundiced with a buildup of a waste product called bilirubin. Because of this the chemo of choice had to be discontinued. Then Carol became so weak and suffered from internal bleeding, she had to be hospitalized, for almost two weeks, first the ER, then the Transitional Care unit, then the Progressive Care unit for the last four days she was in the Palliative wing.  Can’t say enough about the compassionate care she received at Roanoke Memorial Hospital, their dedicated staff, and doctors. But it was better to be home and she has received the best care possible for Good Samaritan Hospice. Wonderful people from the nurses, the aides, social worker, and chaplain   Can’t thank all these people enough, especially Carol’s nurses, Amanda, and Brittany.

Carol was a fighter, never complained and never thought of herself even under the worst of her conditions. Carol had the ability to not only make friends, but to keep them. We were spur of the moment people, ready to go to dinner, have a friend stop by on our dock or help someone in need.  She was a great wife, Mom, sister, Nana, but best of all a caring and loving person for everyone she knew and met.  I am so proud of Carol, and I look forward to the day we will be together forever.  And can’t thank you all enough for your wonderful notes and cards. They will be a treasure for me to keep all your memories of Carol.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Carol’s memory to the American Liver Foundation, American Cancer Society or the American Breast Cancer Coalition.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Smith Mountain Lake, is assisting the family. To send online condolences please visit

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