Carolee Moergeli was an entire ocean in a drop. She was a singular, mesmerizing, composed of hidden depths and secret treasures, and she felt like home. The skin of her hands was porcelain and always it longed to hold another’s, offer comfort when life troubled a friend, or a baby needed fed or to give her husband a squeeze. While we can no longer hold her hand, feel the warmth of her cheek against ours, smell the sugar and spice of her culinary delights, or hear “Yoohoo!” whenever she may enter, we are filled with her light and love. For those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation, the invisible tether remains indelible upon us. It’s nice to think it has always been there between Carolee and Miles. That when she came into the world on July 10, 1938 the cord was instantly strung between them. Perhaps Jack and Pauline Smith, her loving parents, felt it even before she was born, the pull of her family to his, and that’s why they sought out his grandmother and the blessings of her receiving home. Her youth was spent in Carbonado among evergreen boughs, company houses, and the competing scents of glacial waters and coal dust. In the spring of 1943, when Carolee was just five years old, her father was killed in an accident in a Wilkeson Mine. The family endured, still filled with love and kindness, and stayed in Carbonado. They knew where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. Together they pressed on and Carolee attended school in Carbonado until the 8th grade in the historic schoolhouse that still stands.
Eventually she ventured farther from the mountain to finish her education and attend White River High School. White River saw her don a scholar’s cap and graduate with the Class of 1956. Bright eyed and full of the wonders of bridging adulthood, Carolee began work as a secretary at Mutual of Enumclaw. There she met Miles, and the faint tether that joined them at her birth grew stronger.
It moved them, irrevocable altered their lives in a way only fully known to the grand designer of the cosmos. On May 10, 1957 in the manse beside Calvary Presbyterian they put down in words how wonderful life was now that they knew the other was in the world.
A few years later they put down roots in Enumclaw, adopted their beloved children Scott and Kelli, and settled into an idyllic life. Life for Carolee was made up of many things that made her big beautiful smile shine, multiple nights a week of league bowling where she maintained a 151 average, participating for 32 years in the Enumclaw Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital, decorating for every holiday and baking her incredible, no recipe pies for everyone’s birthday, event or holiday. She would happily and sometimes begrudgingly join Miles in his many exploits like huckleberry and mushroom picking and Pow Wows. Carolee thrived on the raising of her children and she later settled into the role of grandmother so easily, completely ready to spoil those sweet souls, to attend every sporting event or recital, always ready with the loudest cheer and biggest finishing hug.
Even with her grandchildren grown she would always be ready to make their own special treats at the house when they visited. The warmth of her home was equal parts Carolee’s larger than life personality and her baking. The creeping heat of the oven, the comforting scents of warmed butter, sugar, or fruit, and the warmth of her smile all served as extensions of her loving embrace. For Carolee, love was the whole thing of which she simply played a part. It’s true you have to keep breaking your heart until it opens; for the wound is the place where light enters you. On December 5, 2019 Carolee started on a different path of love: to fly towards a secret sky, to take a step without feet, and to leave a garden of hearts, blooming like flowers, in her wake. The hearts of her garden are her loving husband Miles Moergeli; her children Scott Moergeli and Kelli (Jason) Krafsky; her wonderful grandchildren Gunner Moergeli, Kaylee Moergeli, Caleb Krafsky, Jaelyn Krafsky, Joshua Krafsky, and Cole Krafsky; her brother Paul West; and everyone she ever called friend.
A memorial to celebrate Carolee’s endless love and life of service was held Dec. 20 at the Muckleshoot Pentecostal Church in Auburn, WA.