Carol Lynn Kleffel was born Sept. 25, 1956, in Pensacola, Fla.
Her father, Walter, was in the Navy, so Carol’s family often moved depending on where he was deployed, which eventually landed them in Oak Harbor, Wash., at NAS Whidbey in 1967.
Before graduating from Oak Harbor High School in 1974, Carol got a job at the old Miklo Root Beer Drive-In, where she met the love of her life, Mark Paul Ilyankoff. They went on their first date on Aug. 12, 1973, and were married on April 12, 1975.
Together, they had three children, Bryan Mark, in 1980, Kristi Nicole, in 1982, and Kyra Lynn, in 1993.
Carol became successful in the insurance and healthcare industry, along with pursuing her hobby of crafting. She worked with wood and acrylic paints, then found her love of gourd carving in the mid 1990s.
In 2003, Carol and her family moved to Coupeville, Wash., on Whidbey Island, where she and Mark designed their dream home on 10 acres of property. Carol continued to commute to the mainland for her insurance job before deciding to be closer to family and got an accounting position with WhidbeyHealth Medical Center. She retired in 2013 to spend more time with her family and enjoy her hobbies.
She volunteered extensively in the WhidbeyHealth gift shop and was also on the Whidbey Health Employee Council for several years.
Carol soon found a new love of her crafting, and started her own business, “Carol Upcycles.” She spent countless hours learning and perfecting the craft of hand-rolled paper beads, made from everyday paper products. She made one-of-a-kind bracelets, necklaces and earrings out of them. She continued to learn new techniques with her gourd carving as well, and entered many local craft fairs, such as Coupeville’s Arts & Craft Festival.
Carol was known widely for her personable manner, becoming friends with just about anyone. She loved talking with anyone who came by her craft booth and loved catching up with old friends.
Photography was another of Carol’s loves. Many of her photos are displayed in her home. She enjoyed going on photography trips with her younger sister, Paula, and simply walking around her property finding anything that caught her eye for a picture.
Carol enjoyed spending as much time as she could with her twin grandchildren, Kaleb Lee and Konnor Paul, from her daughter, Kristi. They lovingly knew her as “Nana.”
She is loved and missed.
Survived by her mother, Suzanne Connelly; sister, Kathy Mouw; sister, Paula Bailly; and brother, David Kleffel.
Private graveside was at Sunnyside Cemetery. A memorial service is being planned for a later date.
Memorial donations are suggested to WAIF at P.O. Box 1108, Coupeville, WA 98239. Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at whidbeymemorial.com
Carol is in Jesus’s loving arms.